Faculty & Staff

Ellen Winifred Leen-Feldner

Ellen Winifred Leen-Feldner


J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences

(PSYC)-Psychological Science

Phone: 479-575-4256

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Dr. Ellen Leen-Feldner is a Professor in the Department of Psychological Science at the University of Arkansas and directs the Arkansas Interdisciplinary Sciences (ArKIDS) Laboratory.

Dr. Leen-Feldner is a developmental psychopathologist who studies anxiety and related problems among adolescents (ages 8 to 16 years). In this vein, she evaluates the independent and overlapping effects of multiple factors (e.g., parenting behavior, anxiety sensitivity, substance use) on adolescent anxiety etiology with an explicit developmental lens. Questions addressed in her work include, does early pubertal maturation increase risk for anxiety among girls?, do adolescents smoke cigarettes to manage moods such as anxiety and anger?, and are adolescent offspring at risk for anxiety if their parents have psychological problems?

An expert in experimental psychopathology approaches to elicit real-time affective states, Dr. Leen-Feldner combines laboratory-based procedures with a diverse array of methods, including self-report, multi-informant assessment, behavioral observation, psychophysiological and hormonal assessment, as well as structured interviews, in the context of both cross-sectional and prospective research designs, to address questions at the heart of this research program.  For instance, she commonly uses voluntary hyperventilation procedures to elicit bodily arousal as a means of studying panic-related processes. Collectively, this work highlights adolescence as a critical developmental epoch during which vulnerability transforms into problems, and thus an important window for the delivery of evidence-based interventions aimed at offsetting adolescent risk. To support this work, Dr. Leen-Feldner has been successful at obtaining state and federal funding, including research (RO3) and training (sponsor for F31) grants from the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Given her work is at the intersection of developmental and clinical perspectives, Dr. Leen-Feldner mentors both clinical and experimental graduate students.

Introduction to Human Development, Childhood and Adolescence, Abnormal Psychology, Research Methods, Graduate Learning, and both graduate and undergraduate seminars on adolescence.

Doctor of Philosophy, Developmental Psychology, 2004
University of Vermont, Burlington, VT

Representative Published Works (selected from more than 80)

Note: Graduate student co-author; (Dr. Leen-Feldner’s supervisees)

Bilsky, S.A., Feldner, M.T., Bynion, T., Rojas, S.R., & Leen-Feldner, E.W. (in press). Child anxiety and parental anxiety sensitivity are related to parent sick role reinforcement. Parenting Science and Practice

Bilsky, S.A., Feldner, M.T., Knapp, A.A., Rojas, S.M., & Leen-Feldner, E.W. (2016). The roles of gender, anxious reactivity to bodily arousal, and anxiety sensitivity in coping motives for cigarette smoking among adolescents. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 24, 147-155. doi: 10.1037/pha0000071 

Semcho, S. A., Bilsky, S. A., Lewis, S. F., & Leen-Feldner, E. W. (2016). Distress tolerance predicts coping motives for marijuana use among treatment seeking young adults, Addictive Behaviors, 58, 85-89. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2016.02.016

KnappA. A., Blumenthal, H., Mischel, E. R., Badour, C. L., & Leen-Feldner, E. W. (2016). An evaluation of anxiety sensitivity global and factor scores in relation to indicators of generalized anxiety disorder among adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44, 233-234. doi: 10.1007/s10802-015-9991-0

Blumenthal, H., Leen-Feldner, E.W., Badour, C. L., Knapp, A. A., & Boals, A. (2015). Traumatic event exposure and alcohol use expectancies among adolescents. The Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 24, 337-343.

Frala, J., Mischel, E., Knapp, A., Autry, K. & Leen-Feldner, E. W. (2014). Adolescent worry induction: An experimental laboratory evaluation. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 5, 52-71.

Leen-Feldner, E. W., Feldner, M. T., Knapp, A., Bunaciu, L., Blumenthal, H., & Amstadter, A. (2013). Offspring psychological and biological correlates of parental posttraumatic stress: Review of the literature and research agenda. Clinical Psychology Review, 33, 1106-1133. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2013.09.001