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Emerging Adulthood Special Interest Group

In 2010, the highest rates (17.7%) of mental illness were among emerging adults 18 to 25 years of age. In 2012, more than 19% of persons between the ages of 18 and 25 had an identifiable mental illness, with 4.1% identified as having a serious mental illness (US Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, 2013). Despite the growing need for developmentally oriented mental health services for this age group, the special needs of emerging adults are largely neglected as they transition from child to adult systems of care. Thus, there is need for a professional forum where clinicians and researchers can advocate for this age group and best practices in the psychological assessment and treatment of emerging adults can be developed, organized, and disseminated. Given the need for developmentally informed services for this age group, clinical child and adolescent psychologists are likely to find clinical work with emerging adults a natural extension of work done from a developmental perspective with younger clients.

Consequently, the Emerging Adulthood Special Interest Group (EA SIG) of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology is dedicated to the promotion of policy, practice, research, and training directly relevant to the psychological assessment and treatment of individuals 18 to 25 years of age.

The primary goal of the EA SIG is to provide a professional forum that supports the development of psychological science and practice designed to promote the well-being of individuals experiencing social and psychological difficulty during the developmental transition from adolescence to early adulthood.

To this end, the EA SIG is interested in:

a. Educating others about emerging adult development
b. Promoting awareness of the service needs of this age group
c. Supporting research relevant to the psychological assessment and treatment of emerging adults
d. Developing models of service delivery for this age group
e. Defining best practices for use with this age group
f. Disseminating information about the psychological assessment and treatment of this age group

The EA SIG is also interested in pursuing these goals through collaboration with other professional organizations in a manner consistent with the goals of the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and the American Psychological Association. As such, the EA SIG seeks to establish a national platform for the exploration and development of psychological science and practice devoted to emerging adulthood mental health. Establishing a presence of this kind will help to mobilize clinical efforts to support emerging adults as they transition from adolescence to adulthood.


The EA SIG seeks to be a national educational and collaborative resource for psychology students, clinicians, parents and families, and emerging adults involved in mental health systems of care.

Promote Awareness

The EA is interested in highlighting:

  • The normative developmental milestones of emerging adults and subsequent deviations associated with psychiatric difficulties
  • Treatment needs of emerging adults
  • Psychosocial factors related to mental health outcomes among emerging adults
  • Current national and federal policies and initiatives related to transitioning youth
  • Best practices in service delivery among emerging adults


The EA SIG will identify and establish research priorities for emerging adults with psychological difficulties, with a particular emphasis on the difficulties encountered during the transition to adulthood. This includes the identification and empirical exploration of theoretical models, measurement tools, methodological approaches, and interventions specific to emerging adults.

Service Delivery and the Promotion of Best Practices

The EA SIG seeks to articulate and highlight the best practices in service delivery to emerging adults experiencing psychiatric difficulty. In this regard, the EA SIG will also develop and support efforts to begin to establish an empirical base focused on mental health service delivery to emerging adults.


As a network of concerned scientists and practitioners, the EA SIG is interested in developing, organizing, and disseminating theory and knowledge that will improve the delivery of psychological services to young adults needing support as they negotiate diverse pathways to early adulthood.


Thomas J. McMahon, Ph.D.
Chair, EA SIG
Yale University School of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry and Child Study Center

Amanda Zayde, Psy.D.
Montefiore Medical Center/ Albert Einstein College of Medicine


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Emerging Adulthood SIG Executive Committee Members

Thomas McMahon, Ph.D.
Yale University School of Medicine
Connecticut Mental Health Center

Dr. McMahon is a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Child Study at the Yale University School of Medicine. As a clinician, educator, and researcher, he is interested in ways in which the principles of developmental psychopathology can be used to expand understanding of substance abuse, family process, and child development. He is presently the director of the Young Adult Service at the Connecticut Mental Health Center and actively involved in the doctoral psychology internship programs offered by the Department of Psychiatry and the Child Study Center.

Nakia M. Hamlett, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
Connecticut College

Dr. Hamlett is a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Connecticut College and also holds an appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale School of Medicine. Dr. Hamlett’s primary clinical and research interests focus on child and adolescent development, developmental psychopathology, emerging adult mental health, positive behavioral support plans, psychodiagnostic assessment of children and young adults, psychotherapy integration, and parenting interventions. Her secondary interests include the development of personality disorders and high-risk behaviors in adolescents and young adults.

Division Board Liaison
Mary Fristad, Ph.D.
Ohio State University

Dr. Fristad is a professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Human Nutrition at Ohio State University, and the director of Research and Psychological Services in the OSU Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Fristad’s primary clinical and research interests are in the assessment and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder in youth, particularly using psychosocial and nutritional interventions. She is currently in Year 10 of the LAMS Study (Longitudinal Assessment of Manic Symptoms), a multi-site cohort of over 700 youth who are now adolescents or young adults; this study provides detailed information about the evolution of mood and non-mood symptoms in relation to family functioning, treatment history and brain structure and function over time.

Membership Member-at-Large
Amanda Zayde, Psy.D.
Montefiore Medical Center
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dr. Zayde is the director of the Mentalization-Based Parenting Program and the associate director of the Psychology Internship Training Program at the Child Outpatient Psychiatry Department at Montefiore Medical Center, Wakefield Division. She is also an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her areas of clinical and research interest include using mentalization-based parenting interventions to interrupt the intergenerational transmission of trauma, developmental psychopathology and attachment theory, and the assessment and treatment of emerging adults.

Communication Member-at Large
Adriana DeAmicis, Ph.D.
Yale University

Dr. DeAmicis is a licensed clinical psychologist at the Yale University Mental Health and Counseling Center, and completed her internship and post-doctoral training at the Connecticut Mental Health Center’s Young Adult Services. Her clinical interests focus on working through the stresses of life transitions and the resulting effects on interpersonal relationships and psychological adjustment, in adolescent and young adult populations. Her research is currently examining the role of social support as a protective factor against peer victimization and aggression, and as a factor in psychological adjustment during these times of transition for emerging adult populations.

Research Member-at-Large
Beth Garland, Ph.D.
Texas Children’s Hospital

Dr. Garland is an assistant professor and licensed psychologist who specializes in the mental health needs of youth aged 12-24. Clinically, Dr. Garland specializes in eating-related disorders (Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder) as well as weight management, providing individual and family therapy alongside a multi-disciplinary team at Texas Children’s Hospital. Also, Dr. Garland is currently funded by the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to assist and study transition-aged youth with awareness of mental health issues as well as transition from pediatric to adult-based care.

Trainee Member-at-Large
Brooke Ziegelbaum, Psy.D.

Dr. Ziegelbaum is a postdoctoral fellow at Cognitive Behavioral Psychology of New York. Her areas of research interest include emotion regulation, suicidality, trauma, mindfulness and mentalization. She has received extensive clinical training in evidence-based treatments including CBT, DBT, ACT, mindfulness, and mentalization based interventions. She is particularly interested in the emerging adulthood developmental period.