Na Zhang, PhD (Affiliate)

Assistant Professor

Human Development and Family Sciences

Research Overview

As a family scholar and prevention scientist, my research centers around the intrapersonal and interpersonal pathways involved in the development of psychopathology and resilience among youth and adults who were exposed to negative events or traumatic experiences. One focus of my research is on the development and evaluation of behavioral parent training programs that consider parents as the agents of change. In particular, my most recent research focuses on mindfulness training as an effective strategy to strengthen and optimize parenting programs. Prior to UConn, I have worked on several NIH-funded R01 projects that evaluate the effectiveness of parent training programs to reduce mental health problems in children of at-risk families such as post-deployed military families (PI: Abigail Gewirtz); bereaved families (PIs: Irwin Sandler and Sharlene Wolchik) and divorced families (PIs: Irwin Sandler and Sharlene Wolchik).


Ph.D. University of Minnesota 2018
M.Ed. Tsinghua University 2013

Recent Publications

1. Zhang, N., Hoch, J., Gewirtz, A. H., Barnes, A. & Snyder, J. (2020). Vagal suppression buffers against the negative effects of psychological inflexibility on parenting in combat deployed fathers. Parenting Science and Practice.
2. Liu, G., Zhang, N., Teoh, J. Y., Egan C., Zeffiro, T. A., Davidson, R. J., & Quevedo, K. (2020). Self-compassion and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activity during sad self-face recognition in depressed adolescents. Psychological Medicine.
3. Zhang, N., Hoch, J., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2020). The physiological regulation of emotion during social interactions: Vagal flexibility moderates the effects of a military parenting intervention on father involvement in a randomized trial. Prevention Science.
4. Zhang, N., Lee, S., Zhang, J., Piehler, T. F., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2020). Growth trajectories of parental emotion socialization and child adjustment following a military parenting intervention: A randomized controlled trial. Developmental Psychology, 56, 652-663.
5. Zhang, J., Palmer, A., Zhang, N., & Gewirtz, A. (2020). Coercive parenting mediates the relationship between fathers’ emotion regulation problems and children’s adjustment. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. 10.1007/s10802-020-00625-8
6. Gewirtz, A. H., Snyder, J., Zamir, O., Zhang, J., Zhang, N. (2019). (All authors are primary authors and authorship is listed alphabetically). Effects of the After Deployment Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT) intervention on fathers and their children: A moderated mediation model. Development and Psychopathology, 31, 1837-1849.
7. Quevedo, K., Liu, G., Teoh, J. Y., Ghosh, S., Zeffiro, T., Ahrweiler, N., Zhang, N., Wedan, R., Oh, S., & Paret, C. (2019). Neurofeedback and neuroplasticity of visual self-processing in depressed and healthy adolescents: A preliminary study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 40. 10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100707
8. Zamir, O., Gewirtz, A. H., Cheng, C. H., Zhang, N., & Lavee, Y. (2019). Psychological distress and communication quality in military couples after deployment to war. Journal of Family Psychology. 10.1037/fam0000589
9. Zhang, N., Zhang, J., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2019). Do less mindful mothers show better parenting via improvements in trait mindfulness following a military parent training program? Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 909. 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00909
10. Zhang, N., Piehler, T. F., Gewirtz, A. H., Zamir, O., & Snyder, J. J. (2019). Trait mindfulness and anger in the family: A dyadic analysis of male service members and their female partners. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy.
11. Monn, A., Zhang, N., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2018). Deficits in inhibitory control may place service members at risk for PTSD and impaired parenting behaviors following deployment-related trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 31, 866-875.
12. Zhang, N., Zhang, J., Gewirtz, A. H., & Piehler, T. F. (2018). Improving parental emotion socialization in military families: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Family Psychology, 32, 1046-1056.
13. An, Y., Yuan, G., Zhang, N., Zhou, F., & Xu, W. (2018). Longitudinal cross-lagged relationships between mindfulness, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and posttraumatic growth in adolescents following the Yancheng tornado in China. Psychiatry Research, 266, 334-340. 10.1016/j.psychres.2018.03.034
14. Zhang, N., Rudi, J., Zamir, O., & Gewirtz, A. (2018). Parent engagement in online mindfulness exercises within a parent training program for postdeployed military families. Mindfulness, 9, 725-736. 10.1007/s12671-017-0810-2
15. Zhang, N., Fan, F., Huang, S., & Rodriguez, M. (2018). Mindfulness training for loneliness among Chinese college students: A pilot randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Psychology, 53, 373-378. 10.1002/ijop.12394

Contact Information
Mailing Address1 University Pl Rm 335C, Stamford, Connecticut 06901