Dr. Kaitlin Paxton Ward

Joint PhD, Social Work and Developmental Psychology
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Welcome to my personal webpage! I am a mixed-methods researcher and fully licensed mental health professional. I received a Joint Ph.D. in Social Work and Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan. I provide a range of quantitative, qualitative, and clinical services.

People Analytics Research: I am currently a People Analytics Researcher at Google, where I conduct research that aims to increase diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. My work prioritizes empowering and advocating for vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ+ communities, persons with disabilities, BIPOC populations, caregivers, and workers who engage in emotional labor. Recent projects include a longitudinal multilevel model to monitor employee mental health during COVID-19, a mixed-methods analysis of underrepresented workers to inform Google's hybrid policies, an impact analysis of Google's racial equity programs, and a supervised machine learning longitudinal analysis to examine the equity of Google's performance evaluation and promotion processes.

Statistical Independent Contracting: I provide independent contracting services to universities and public and private organizations where I conduct advanced quantitative analyses. Recent projects have included quasi-experimental program evaluations, longitudinal and population-based research, and evaluations of randomized controlled trials. All services thus far have resulted in peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations.

Mental Health Therapy: I began providing individual and group outpatient therapy services in 2016, and have been fully licensed since 2020. I maintain a clinical licensure in Illinois and Michigan. I currently treat clients between the ages of 10 and 70; I treat individuals, families, and folks navigating complex relationships. My clinical expertise is in child and family therapy, marital and relational therapy, LGBTQ+ empowerment, anxiety, OCD, depression, and complex trauma and PTSD.
About me image

University of Utah

Bachelor of Science, Psychology

Learn More5/18/2016

Brigham Young University

Master of Social Work, Research Emphasis

Learn More4/18/2018

University of Michigan

Joint PhD, Social Work and Developmental Psychology

Learn More8/22/2018

Peer-Reviewed Articles

44. Chang. O. D., Ward, K. P., & Lee, S. J. (2024, in press). Examining coping strategies and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: Evidence for the protective role of problem-focused coping. Health & Social Work.

43. Hoffman, S., Ward, K. P., Rueda, H. A., & Beasley, L. (2024, in press). Childhood family transitions and adolescent dating behaviors: A longitudinal study. Journal of Child and Family Studies

42. Rueda, H., Ward, K. P., & Hoffman, S. (2023). Parental physical and psychological aggression and youth dating violence: A latent class analysis approach. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605231218224  

41. Ward, K. P., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Ma, J., Lee, S. J., & Pace, G. T. (2023). Associations between 11 parental discipline behaviors and child outcomes across 60 countries. BMJ Open. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-058439

40. Lee, J. Y., Lee, S. J., Ward, K. P., Pace, G. T., & Chang, O. D. (2023). Shared parental responsiveness among fathers and mothers with low income and early child outcomes. Family Relations. https://doi.org/10.1111/fare.12913

39. Wood, B. M., Cubbin, C., Ward, K. P., & Hernandez, E. J. R. (2023). The link between ACEs, income, and maternal depressive symptoms through a racial and ethnic lens: A moderated-mediation analysis. Mental Health & Prevention, 30, 200284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhp.2023.200284

38. Saasa, S., Ward, K. P., Jacobson, J., & Hill, R. L. (2023). Examining coping and acculturative stress as mediators between perceived discrimination and internalizing symptoms among African immigrants. International Journal of Social Welfare. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijsw.12583

37. Rodriguez, C. M., Lee, S. J., & Ward, K. P. (2023). Applying socio-emotional information processing theory to explain child abuse risk: Emerging patterns from the COVID-19 pandemic. Child Abuse & Neglect, 135, 105954. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2022.105954

36. Ma, J., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Lee, S. J., Ward, K. P., & Pace, G. T. (2022). Gender inequality in low- and middle-income countries: Associations with parental physical abuse and moderation by child gender. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(19), 11928. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191911928

35. Todorovic, K., O’leary, E., Ward, K. P., Devarasetty, P., Lee, S. J., Knox, M., & Andari, E. (2022). Prevalence, increase and predictors of family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, using modern machine learning approaches. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 13, 883294. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2022.883294

34. Ward, K. P., & Lee, S. J. (2022). Associations of food insecurity and material social support with parent and child mental health during COVID-19. Children & Youth Services Review, 140, 106562. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2022.106562

33. Ma, J., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Pace, G. T., Ward, K. P., & Lee, S. J. (2022). The association between spanking and physical abuse of young children in 56 low- and middle-income countries. Child Abuse & Neglect, 129, 105662. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2022.105662

32. Ahmed, S. F., Ellis, A., Ward, K. P., Chaku, N., & Davis-Kean, P. (2022). Working memory development from early childhood to adolescence using two nationally representative samples. Developmental Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0001396

31. Ward, K. P., Lee, S. J., Grogan-Kaylor, A. C., Ma, J., & Pace, G. T. (2022). Patterns of caregiver aggressive and nonaggressive discipline toward young children in low- and middle-income countries: A latent class approach. Child Abuse & Neglect. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2022.105606

30. Ward, K. P. (2022). The transition to siblinghood: An understudied yet influential process pertinent to social work research. Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1093/sw/swac009

29. Lee, S. J., Ward, K. P., Grogan-Kaylor, A, & Singh, V. (2022). Anxiety and depression during COVID-19: Are adults in households with children faring worse? Journal of General Internal Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-021-07256-9

28. Saasa, S., Ward, K. P., Sandberg, S., Jacobson, J. (2021). Financial hardship, neighborhood cohesion and child externalizing behaviors: An extension of the family stress model among immigrant mothers. Children and Youth Services Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2021.106153

27. Ward, K. P., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Pace, G. T., Cuartas, J., & Lee, S. J. (2021). A multilevel ecological analysis of the predictors of spanking across 65 countries.  BMJ Open, 11(8): e046075. https://doi.org/:10.1136/bmjopen-2020-046075

26. Rodriguez, C. M., Lee, S. J., & Ward, K. P. (2021). Underlying mechanisms for racial disparities in parent-child physical and psychological aggression and child abuse risk. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2021.105089

25. Lee, S. J., Ward, K. P., Rodriguez, C. M. (2021). Couples’ relationship conflict during the Covid-19 pandemic: A risk and resilience perspective. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/08862605211006359

24. Lee, S. J., Ward, K. P., & Lee, J. Y. (2021). Parental social isolation and child maltreatment risk during a pandemic. Journal of Family Violence. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10896-020-00244-3

23. Forsyth, S. M., & Ward, K. P. (2021). Media use and men’s approval of intimate partner violence in Honduras. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260521993926

22. Rodriguez, C., Lee, S. J., Ward, K. P., & Pu, D. F. (2021). The perfect storm: Hidden risk of child maltreatment during the Covid-19 pandemic. Child Maltreatment. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077559520982066

21. Grogan-Kaylor, A., Castillo, B., Pace, G. T., Ward, K. P., Ma, J., Lee, S. J., & Knauer, H. (2021). Global perspectives on physical and nonphysical discipline: A Bayesian multilevel analysis. International Journal of Behavioral Development. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165025420981642

20. Lee, S. J., Ward, K. P., Chang, O. D., & Downing, K. M. (2020). Parenting activities and the transition to home-based education during the Covid-19 pandemic. Children and Youth Services Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105585

19. Saasa, S., Ward, K. P., & Escamilla, S. (2020). Immigrant generation, race, and socioeconomic outcomes of mothers in urban cities: Who fares better? Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-020-01059-6

18. Shaw, S. A., Ward, K. P., Pillai, V., Mahram, L., & Karim, H. (2020). A randomized clinical trial testing a parenting intervention among Afghan and Rohingya refugees in Malaysia. Family Process. https://doi.org/10.1111/famp.12592

17. Ward, K. P., & Lee, S. J. (2020). Mothers’ and fathers’ parenting stress, responsiveness, and child wellbeing among low-income families. Children and Youth Services Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.105218 

16. Lee, S. J., Pace, G. T., Ward, K. P., Grogan-Kaylor, A., & Ma, J. (2020). Household economic hardship as a moderator of the associations between maternal spanking and child externalizing behavior problems. Child Abuse & Neglect. (advanced online publication). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2020.104573

15. Cuartas, J., Ward, K. P., Ma, J., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2020). Physical punishment and Colombian children’s and adolescents’ cognitive and behavioral outcomes. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2020.101140 *Findings were featured in a testimony in the Colombian House of Representatives when discussing a bill to ban corporal punishment in Colombia. 

14. Ward, K. P., Wood, D. S., & Young, T. M. (2020). The effectiveness of a retreat intervention for female survivors of child sexual abuse. Research on Social Work Practice. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049731520921936

13. Grogan-Kaylor, A. C., Castillo, B., Ma, J., Ward, K. P., Lee, S. J., Pace, G. T., & Park, J. (2020). A Bayesian analysis of associations between neighborhoods, spanking and child externalizing behavior. Children and Youth Services Review. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2020.104930 

12. Ward, K. P., Lee, S. J., Pace, G. T., Grogan-Kaylor, A., & Ma, J. (2019). Attachment style and the association of spanking and child externalizing behavior. Academic Pediatrics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2019.06.017 

11. Ward, K. P., Lee, S. J., Limb, G. E., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2019). Physical punishment and child externalizing behavior: Comparing American Indian, White, and African American children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260519861678 

10. Ward, K. P., & Limb, G. E. (2019). The importance of biological parent coparenting in an American Indian stepfamily context. Social Work Research. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svz009 

9. Ward, K. P., & Limb, G. E. (2019). Emerging adult attachment and alcohol abuse among American Indians raised in stepfamilies. The British Journal of Social Work. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcz010 

8. Ward, K. P., Porter, N. A., & Wood, D. (2019). The effectiveness of neurofeedback in an outpatient setting: A multilevel modeling approach. Research on Social Work Practice. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1049731519831355 

7. Ward, K. P., Limb, G., Higbee, S., & Haueter, H. (2019). Stepfamily closeness and depression among American Indian emerging adults: A structural equation modeling approach. Journal of Family Issues, 40(3), 267-292. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192513X18808574 

6. Grogan-Kaylor, A., Ma, J., Lee, S. J., Castillo, B., Ward, K. P., & Klein, S. (2018). Using Bayesian analysis to examine associations between spanking and child externalizing behavior across race and ethnic groups. Child Abuse & Neglect, 86, 257-266. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.10.009 

5. Ward, K. P., Shaw, S. A., Chang, M., & El-Bassel, N. (2018). Social support moderates the association between traumatic life events and depression among migrant and nonmigrant men in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31(5), 698-707. https://doi.org/10.1002/jts.22324 

4. Shaw, S. A., Ward, K. P., Pillai, V., & Hinton, D. (2018). A randomized controlled trial testing group mental health support for female Afghan refugees in Malaysia. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. https://doi.org/10.1037/ort0000346

3. Shaw, S. A., Pillai, V., & Ward, K. P. (2018). Assessing mental health and service needs among refugees in Malaysia. International Journal of Social Welfare, 28, 44-52. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijsw.12313 

2. Limb, G. E., Hodge, D. R., Ward, K. P., Ferrell, A., & Alboroto, R. (2018). Developing cultural competence with LDS clients: Utilizing spiritual genograms in social work practice. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought, 37(2), 166-181. https://doi.org/10.1080/15426432.2018.1448033 

1. Ward, K. P., Dennis, C. B., & Limb, G. (2018). The impact of stepfamily relationship quality on emerging adult non-medical use of prescription drugs. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 44(4), 463-471. https://doi.org/10.1080/00952990.2017.1405010 

Congressional Reports

2. Limb, G., & Ward, K. P. (2019). Foster care and permanency issues for American Indian/Alaska Native families and children. In National Indian Child Welfare Association (Ed.), Impacts of child maltreatment in Indian Country: Preserving the seventh generation through policies, programs, and funding streams (pp. 256-284). [Congressional Report]. Portland OR: NICWA.

1. Red Horse, J., Limb, G., & Ward, K. P. (2019). Sovereignty, cultural competency, and family preservation. In National Indian Child Welfare Association (Ed.), Impacts of child maltreatment in Indian Country: Preserving the seventh generation through policies, programs, and funding streams (pp. 235-255). [Congressional Report]. Portland OR: NICWA.

Ward, K. P. (2021). Parenting During COVID-19: A Sentiment Analysis of Reddit Data. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/4ukmd

Ward, K. P., Lee, S. J., Chang, O. D. (2021). “Tell me what I’m doing wrong”: Criticism of parenting choices and mental health during COVID-19. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/vp985

Ward, K. P., Grogan-Kaylor, A., Ma, J., Pace, G. T., & Lee, S. J. (2021). Associations Between 11 Parental Discipline Behaviors and Child Outcomes Across 60 Countries. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/f5t8x

Ahmed, S., Ellis, A., Ward, K. P., Chaku, N., & Davis-Kean, P. (2021). Charting the functional form of working memory across two nationally representative samples. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/yqdg6

People Analytics Intern, Google

Manager: Aiwa Shirako, PhD
Location: Mountain View, CA (remote)
Dates: May 2021-August 2021

Responsibilities: Examined Google employee psychological adjustment during COVID-19. Conducted multilevel modeling and longitudinal data analysis in R. Findings served as the foundation for the YouTube Mental Health 2022 focus and expanded dissemination of employee wellbeing resources. Wrote a literature review on mental health risks and interventions for employees who deal with sensitive material (DWSM). Results informed survey items included in the DWSM Q3 survey, changed candidate screening procedures, and informed DWSM program direction. Designed a technology-based experimental study for DWSM employees. Contributed to survey design and item selection. Successfully navigated legal and privacy recommendations and requirements. Present results to Google executives and make recommendations regarding Google employee policy.

Statistical Consultant, UC Berkeley

Using grant funds from Gavin Newsom, evaluated the efficacy of socio-emotional learning (SEL) on child development in schools across the Northern California region. Used data insights to inform the development and implementation of a continuous improvement process aimed at improving systemic social-emotional learning in California. Supported the development of measures for systemic social-emotional learning; prepared data for sharing with communities of practice. Supported the development, analysis, and writing of materials for sharing learnings with government, private, and university stakeholders. Consulted on the development and implementation of micro-surveys for the Greater Good in Education website to assess teachers’ use of evidence-based SEL tools globally.

Program Evaluation Researcher

Supervisor: David S. Wood, PhD
Location: Levi, Utah (remote)
Dates: June 2017 - Present

Responsibilities: Design program evaluation studies. Program surveys in Qualtrics. Gather, organize, and analyze survey data; publish findings in peer-reviewed journals.

Statistical Consultant, Brigham Young University

Supervisor: Gordon Limb, PhD
Location: Provo, Utah
Dates: February 2019 - Present

Responsibilities: Provide statistical, analytical, and manuscript preparation services for four assistant professors utilizing large secondary datasets. Projects thus far have utilized path analysis, mediation analysis, latent class analysis, and categorical data analysis in Stata and Mplus.

Graduate Research Assistant, University of Michigan

Supervisor: Shawna J. Lee, PhD
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Dates: September 2018 - Present

Responsibilities: Examine parenting and family processes across contexts using survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), UNICEF MICS, Building Strong Families (BSF), and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). Utilize Bayesian estimation, longitudinal modeling, mediation and moderation analysis, categorical data analysis, piecewise analysis, latent class analysis, and structural equation modeling in Stata, Mplus, and R.

Graduate Research Assistant, Brigham Young University

Supervisors: Stacey A. Shaw, Ph.D., Gordon E. Limb, Ph.D., Taeya Howell Ph.D.
Location: Provo, UT
Dates: August 2016-July 2018

Responsibilities: Gathered and analyzed survey and intervention data from samples of vulnerable populations to elucidate risk and resilience factors. Prepared and published multiple quantitative and mixed methods manuscripts for publication. Assisted in writing, obtaining, and utilizing a $22,000 grant. Designed and implemented a randomized-controlled trial of a parenting intervention among
refugees in Malaysia. Analyzed archival, experimental, qualitative, and longitudinal survey data and prepared manuscripts for publication.

AmeriCorps Program Evaluation Researcher

Analyzed quantitative and qualitative survey data from AmeriCorps supervisors. Wrote program evaluation document for the AmeriCorps program in Utah.

Child and Family Therapist, Heron Ridge Associates

Supervisor: Derrick Harris, LMSW
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dates: November 2018-present

Responsibilities: Provide individual and family outpatient therapy specializing in trauma and child maltreatment. Conduct mental health assessments and formulate treatment plans. Specializations in parental discipline, PTSD, child therapy, anxiety, faith transitions, women’s health.

Case Coordinator and Data Specialist, The Children's Justice Center

Supervisor: Susanne Mitchell, MSW
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Dates: January 2016-August 2016

Responsibilities: Counseled and educated parents of child victims and witnesses of abuse prior to child forensic interview and data collection; coordinated with multi-disciplinary team to schedule and child forensic interviews and conduct staffings regarding child physical and sexual abuse; implemented crisis intervention, follow-up support, community referrals, and criminal justice advocacy skills; ensured reliable recording of evidence of victim and witness forensic interviews.

Social Work Intern, Primary Children's Center for Counseling

Supervisor: Linda Vernon, LCSW
Location: Taylorsville, Utah
Dates: August 2017-April 2018

Responsibilities: Conducted individual and family therapy for children ages 3-17. Led mental health assessments and formulated treatment plans. Specialized in emotion regulation, trauma, domestic violence, depression, and stepfamilies.

Social Work Intern, The Green House Center for Growth & Learning

Supervisor: Collette Dawson-Loveless, LCSW
Location: Pleasant Grove, Utah
Dates: April 2017-August 2017

Responsibilities: Conducted individual and family therapy sessions specializing in interpersonal violence. Led DBT and Social Skills therapy groups for children, adolescents, and young adults ages 3-25 who had experienced sexual abuse, physical abuse, or neglect. Conducted a program evaluation research project examining the efficacy of neurofeedback – published manuscript in peer-reviewed journal.

Social Work Intern, Resilient Solutions Inc.

Supervisor: Becky Andrews, LCMHC
Location: Bountiful, Utah
Dates: January 2015-April 2015

Responsibilities: Conducted group and individual therapy session with licensed therapists; contacted area physicians, hospitals, and clinics to increase awareness of Resilient Solutions’ services; assisted licensed mental health professionals with paperwork, note filing, group therapy organization, development of outreach programs, billing, and conferences.

Social Work Intern, Solstice East Residential Treatment Center

Supervisor: Kyle Gillett, Ph.D.
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Dates: May 2015

Responsibilities: Observed and helped conduct individual and group therapy sessions for adolescents ages 13-18; provided psychoeducation to delinquent, abused, and neglected adolescents.


University of Michigan FLINT Symposium

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BYU Social Work Webpage

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University of Michigan Social Work Webpage

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Program Evaluation Contracting Work, Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

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Study on Men, Trauma, and Social Support

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Study on Spanking Across Racial Groups

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Study on Parenting During Covid-19

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Study on Mental Health During Covid-19

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Study on Parent Homeschooling During Covid-19

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Study on parenting among low-income families

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View Curriculum Vitae

Updated October 2023