Cara Maffini, PhD

Cara Maffini

Associate Professor, Child & Adolescent Development

Cara's research encompasses intersections of culture, mental health, and trauma particularly among adolescents and emerging adults with a focus on underserved populations. She has three main lines of research:

  • Understanding psychosocial, cultural, and developmental protective and risk factors associated with trauma (e.g., violence, victimization, and campus safety)
  • Examining refugee experiences and intergenerational transmission of trauma
  • Examining bicultural and biracial experiences and identity development. Grounded in her training in counseling psychology, Cara's research serves to inform campus and community-based intervention and prevention programs.


  • Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, Indiana University
  • M.A., Psychology, Sacramento State University
  • B.A.S., Psychobiology and Dance, UC Davis

Recent Publications

  • Paradis, G., & Maffini, C. S. (2021). Navigating intercultural relational dynamics: The roles of attachment and cultural values. Journal of Multicultural Counseling & Development, 49(4).
  • West, M. T.,* & Maffini, C. S. (2019). ‘What are you?’ Conceptualizing the complexities of bicultural and biracial college student experiences. Journal of College Counseling, 22, 164-178. doi: 10.1002/jocc.12128

  • Simpson, L. A., Maffini, C. S., Schuck, R.* (2019). Examining use of school personnel in CBT interventions for anxiety in students with ASD. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 54, 301-312.
  • Liu, T., Wong, Y. J., Maffini, C. S., Goodrich Mitts, N., & Iwamoto, D. K. (2018). Gendered Racism Scales for Asian American Men: Scale development and validation. Journal of Counseling Psychology. Advance online publication. doi:10.1037/cou0000298
  • Linares, J.,* & Maffini, C. S. (2018). Voces de resistencia: Exploring Salvadoran students’ experiences and needs in higher education. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1538192718814129

  • Maffini, C. S. (2018). Campus safety experiences of Asian American and Asian international college students. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9, 98-107. doi: 10.1037/aap0000087

Recent Presentations

  • Palmer, A., & Maffini, C. S. (2021, April). Growing up with a sibling with Autism: College students’ perspectives. Poster Presentation at the annual Western Psychological Association (WPA) Virtual Convention.
  • Chavez, K. & Maffini, C. S. (2021, April). Experiences of Latinx College Students during COVID-19. Poster Presentation at the annual Western Psychological Association (WPA) Virtual Convention.
  • Marx, R., Peña, F., & Maffini, C. S. (2021, April). Who’s under the LGBTQ+ umbrella? Understanding nonbinary college students’ experiences on campus. Flash Talk Session: Attitudes toward and experiences of transgender and gender diverse youth. Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Virtual Biennial Meeting.

Noteworthy Grants and Awards

  • Lurie College of Education Strategic Plan Grant - $15,000

Areas of Research Interest

  • Adolescents / emerging adults
  • Bicultural
  • Campus safety
  • Communities of color
  • Intergenerational transmission of trauma
  • Psychological well-being / mental health
  • Refugees

Recommended Reading

Personality Playlist

Listen to Cara's playlist below and access all of the personality playlists on our Lurie College of Education Spotify account