Damion Grasso

Assistant Professor



Research Interests

Dr. Grasso’s research broadly focuses on understanding biobehavioral mechanisms involved in trauma- and stress-related disorders in children and effective strategies for assessing and treating trauma-related impairment. Current and past research is summarized by four foci: (1) Biological and environmental mechanisms associated with violence- and trauma-related stress reactivity in children; (2) Cumulative patterns of exposure to adversity, trauma and associated risk of psychopathology and impairment; (3) Screening and assessment of adversity and associated symptoms; and (4) Psychosocial interventions for treating trauma-related symptoms across the lifespan. Primary research projects include a study examining physiological and epigenetic mechanisms explaining the intergenerational transmission of trauma-related risk in pregnant women and their infants offspring funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD: 1 R21 HD090379-01A1), a NARSAD award from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and a Patterson Trust Fellowship Award. Dr. Grasso is also a dual principal investigator on a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; 1 U01 MH113390-01A1) to examine biological and behavioral mechanisms explaining linkages between early violence exposure, stress reactivity, and psychiatric symptoms in young children; i.e., the Adaptation and Resilience in Childhood Study (ARCS).

My research interests and achievements, as described above, directly reflect the mission of InCHIP in promoting and benefitting from rich collaborative relationships across UConn and other local and national entities and involves research that aims to generate ‘scientific knowledge’ and ‘frameworks in health behavior’ at multiple units of analysis including psychophysiology, genetics, family processes, individual differences, and social interactions. Further, my research program offers opportunities to students and early career professionals and directly supports a ‘team science’ approach to learning and discovery.


M.A., Wesleyan University, 2002
Ph.D., University of Delaware, 2011

Recent Publications

1. Deveney, C. M., Grasso, D., Hsu, A., Pine, D. S., Zobel, M. A., Wakschlag, L. S., & Briggs-Gowan, M. J. (In Press). Multi-method Assessment of Irritability and Differential Linkages to Neurophysiological Indicators of Attention Allocation to Emotional Faces in Young Children. Developmental Psychobiology.

2. Ford, J. D., Grasso, D. J., Tennen, H., & Chan, G. (In Press). Factor Structure, Reliability, and Validity of the Daily Self-Report Measure for Trauma-Related Sequelae (DSR-TRS). Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.

3. Grasso, D. J.,* DiVietro, S., Beebe, R., Clough, M., & Lapidus, G. (2019). Quantifying severity of maltreatment, adversity, and trauma from child protective services case record files. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 0886260519847774.

4. Grasso, D. J.,* Ford, J. D., & Greene, C. A. (2019). Preliminary psychometrics of the Structured Trauma-Related Experiences and Symptoms Screener for Adults (STRESS-A) in an urban prenatal healthcare clinic. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy.

5. Grasso, D. J.,* Doyle, C., & Koon, R. (2019). Two rapid screens for detecting probable post-traumatic stress disorder and interpersonal violence exposure: predictive utility in a juvenile justice sample. Child Maltreatment, 24(1), 113-120.

6. Dierkhising, C. B., Ford, J. D., Branson, C., Grasso, D. J., & Lee, R. (2019). Developmental timing of polyvictimization: Continuity, change, and association with adverse outcomes in adolescence. Child Abuse & Neglect, 87, 40-50.

7. Briggs-Gowan, M. J., Estabrook, R., Henry, D., Grasso, D. G., Burns, J., McCarthy, K. J., Pollak, S., & Wakschlag, L. S. (2019). Parsing dimensions of family violence exposure in early childhood: Shared and specific contributions to emergent psychopathology and impairment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 87, 100-111.

8. Ford, J. D., Grasso, D. J., Greene, C. A., Slivinsky, M., & DeViva, J. C. (2018). Randomized clinical trial pilot study of prolonged exposure versus present centered affect regulation therapy for PTSD and anger problems with male military combat veterans. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 25(5), 641-649.

9. Ford, J. D., Grasso, D. J., Levine, J., & Tennen, H. (2018). Emotion regulation enhancement of cognitive behavior therapy for college student problem drinkers: A pilot randomized controlled trial. Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, 27(1), 47-58.

10. D’Agata, A. L., Grasso, D. J., Young, E. E., Cong, X., & McGrath, J. (2017). Unpacking the Burden of Care for Infants in the NICU. Infant Mental Health Journal. 38(2), 306-317.

11. Hayes, A. M., Yasinski, C., Grasso, D., Ready, C. B., Alpert, E., McCauley, T., Webb. C., & Deblinger, E. (2017). Constructive and Unproductive Processing of Traumatic Experiences in Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Youth. Behavior Therapy, 48(2), 166-181.

12. Briggs‐Gowan, M. J., Grasso, D., Bar‐Haim, Y., Voss, J., McCarthy, K. J., Pine, D. S., & Wakschlag, L. S. (2016). Attention bias in the developmental unfolding of post‐traumatic stress symptoms in young children at risk. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57(9), 1083-1091.

13. Grasso, D. J.*, Dierkhising, C. B., Branson, C. E., Ford, J. D., & Lee, R. (2016). Developmental patterns of adverse childhood experiences and current symptoms and impairment in youth referred for trauma-specific services. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(5), 871-886.

14. Grasso, D. J.*, Ford, J. D., & Lindhiem, O. (2016). A Patient-Centered Decision-Support Tool Informed by History of Interpersonal Violence: “Will This Treatment Work for Me?”. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(3), 465-480.

15. Grasso, D. J.*, Henry, D., Kestler, J., Nieto, R., Wakschlag, L. S., & Briggs-Gowan, M. J. (2016). Harsh parenting as a potential mediator of the association between intimate partner violence and child disruptive behavior in families with young children. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 31(11), 2102-2126.

Contact Information
Phone(860) 523-6439
Mailing Address65 Kane Street, West Hartford, Connecticut 06416 United States
CampusUConn Health (Farmington)