Contact, publication, and social network information about Harvard faculty and fellows. Harvard Catalyst Profiles
Last Name

profileKarlen Lyons-Ruth, Ph.D.

TitleProfessor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry
InstitutionCambridge Health Alliance
AddressCambridge Hospital
1493 Cambridge St
Cambridge MA 02139
vCardDownload vCard (login for email)

Collapse Research 
Collapse research activities and funding
The research activities and funding listed below are automatically derived from NIH ExPORTER and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing items. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
R01HD079484     (GRANT, PATRICIA ELLEN)Apr 10, 2015 - Feb 29, 2020
Neurobiology of Mothering and Infant Stress
Role: Co-Principal Investigator

R03TW006014     (LYONS-RUTH, KARLEN)Apr 15, 2003 - Mar 31, 2006
Genetic and Caregiving Effects on Disordered Attachment
Role: Principal Investigator

R01MH062030     (LYONS-RUTH, KARLEN)Sep 25, 2001 - Aug 31, 2006
Psychopathology and Controlling Behavior in Adolescents.
Role: Principal Investigator

Collapse Bibliographic 
Collapse selected publications
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
List All   |   Timeline
  1. Lyons-Ruth K, Pechtel P, Yoon SA, Anderson CM, Teicher MH. Disorganized attachment in infancy predicts greater amygdala volume in adulthood. Behav Brain Res. 2016 Jul 15; 308:83-93. PMID: 27060720.
    View in: PubMed
  2. Byun S, Brumariu LE, Lyons-Ruth K. Disorganized attachment in young adulthood as a partial mediator of relations between severity of childhood abuse and dissociation. J Trauma Dissociation. 2016 Jul-Sep; 17(4):460-79. PMID: 26836233.
    View in: PubMed
  3. Madigan S, Brumariu LE, Villani V, Atkinson L, Lyons-Ruth K. Representational and questionnaire measures of attachment: A meta-analysis of relations to child internalizing and externalizing problems. Psychol Bull. 2016 Apr; 142(4):367-99. PMID: 26619212.
    View in: PubMed
  4. Lyons-Ruth K. Commentary: Should we move away from an attachment framework for understanding disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED)? A commentary on Zeanah and Gleason (2015). J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2015 Mar; 56(3):223-7. PMID: 25714736.
    View in: PubMed
  5. Annie Yoon S, Kelso GA, Lock A, Lyons-Ruth K. Mother-infant joint attention and sharing: relations to disorganized attachment and maternal disrupted communication. J Genet Psychol. 2014 Sep-Dec; 175(5-6):494-510. PMID: 25412198.
    View in: PubMed
  6. Lyons-Ruth K, Brumariu LE, Bureau JF, Hennighausen K, Holmes B. Role Confusion and Disorientation in Young Adult-Parent Interaction Among Individuals With Borderline Symptomatology. J Pers Disord. 2015 Oct; 29(5):641-62. PMID: 25248019.
    View in: PubMed
  7. Pechtel P, Lyons-Ruth K, Anderson CM, Teicher MH. Sensitive periods of amygdala development: the role of maltreatment in preadolescence. Neuroimage. 2014 Aug 15; 97:236-44. PMID: 24736182; PMCID: PMC4258391.
  8. Obsuth I, Hennighausen K, Brumariu LE, Lyons-Ruth K. Disorganized behavior in adolescent-parent interaction: relations to attachment state of mind, partner abuse, and psychopathology. Child Dev. 2014 Jan-Feb; 85(1):370-87. PMID: 23621826; PMCID: PMC3732543.
  9. Lyons-Ruth K, Bureau JF, Easterbrooks MA, Obsuth I, Hennighausen K, Vulliez-Coady L. Parsing the construct of maternal insensitivity: distinct longitudinal pathways associated with early maternal withdrawal. Attach Hum Dev. 2013; 15(5-6):562-82. PMID: 24299135; PMCID: PMC3861901.
  10. Lyons-Ruth K, Bureau JF, Holmes B, Easterbrooks A, Brooks NH. Borderline symptoms and suicidality/self-injury in late adolescence: prospectively observed relationship correlates in infancy and childhood. Psychiatry Res. 2013 Apr 30; 206(2-3):273-81. PMID: 23123044; PMCID: PMC3605274.
  11. Brumariu LE, Obsuth I, Lyons-Ruth K. Quality of attachment relationships and peer relationship dysfunction among late adolescents with and without anxiety disorders. J Anxiety Disord. 2013 Jan; 27(1):116-24. PMID: 23247207; PMCID: PMC3578103.
  12. Easterbrooks MA, Bureau JF, Lyons-Ruth K. Developmental correlates and predictors of emotional availability in mother-child interaction: a longitudinal study from infancy to middle childhood. Dev Psychopathol. 2012 Feb; 24(1):65-78. PMID: 22292994.
    View in: PubMed
  13. Lyons-Ruth K. Methodological challenges in identifying parenting behaviors as potential targets for intervention: commentary on Stepp et al. (2011). Personal Disord. 2012 Jan; 3(1):95-7; discussion 104-6. PMID: 22448864; PMCID: PMC3335434.
  14. Lyons-Ruth K, Choi-Kain L, Pechtel P, Bertha E, Gunderson J. Perceived parental protection and cortisol responses among young females with borderline personality disorder and controls. Psychiatry Res. 2011 Oct 30; 189(3):426-32. PMID: 21872341.
    View in: PubMed
  15. Nemoda Z, Lyons-Ruth K, Szekely A, Bertha E, Faludi G, Sasvari-Szekely M. Association between dopaminergic polymorphisms and borderline personality traits among at-risk young adults and psychiatric inpatients. Behav Brain Funct. 2010; 6:4. PMID: 20205808; PMCID: PMC2823641.
  16. Najmi S, Bureau JF, Chen D, Lyons-Ruth K. Maternal attitudinal inflexibility: longitudinal relations with mother-infant disrupted interaction and childhood hostile-aggressive behavior problems. Child Abuse Negl. 2009 Dec; 33(12):924-32. PMID: 19897243.
    View in: PubMed
  17. Hobson RP, Patrick MP, Hobson JA, Crandell L, Bronfman E, Lyons-Ruth K. How mothers with borderline personality disorder relate to their year-old infants. Br J Psychiatry. 2009 Oct; 195(4):325-30. PMID: 19794201.
    View in: PubMed
  18. Dutra L, Bureau JF, Holmes B, Lyubchik A, Lyons-Ruth K. Quality of early care and childhood trauma: a prospective study of developmental pathways to dissociation. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009 Jun; 197(6):383-90. PMID: 19525736; PMCID: PMC2697443.
  19. Bureau JF, Easlerbrooks MA, Lyons-Ruth K. Attachment disorganization and controlling behavior in middle childhood: maternal and child precursors and correlates. Attach Hum Dev. 2009 May; 11(3):265-84. PMID: 19455454; PMCID: PMC4143508.
  20. Dillon DG, Holmes AJ, Birk JL, Brooks N, Lyons-Ruth K, Pizzagalli DA. Childhood adversity is associated with left basal ganglia dysfunction during reward anticipation in adulthood. Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Aug 1; 66(3):206-13. PMID: 19358974; PMCID: PMC2883459.
  21. Bureau JF, Easterbrooks MA, Lyons-Ruth K. Maternal depressive symptoms in infancy: unique contribution to children's depressive symptoms in childhood and adolescence? Dev Psychopathol. 2009; 21(2):519-37. PMID: 19338696; PMCID: PMC2666930.
  22. Lyons-Ruth K, Bureau JF, Riley CD, Atlas-Corbett AF. Socially indiscriminate attachment behavior in the Strange Situation: convergent and discriminant validity in relation to caregiving risk, later behavior problems, and attachment insecurity. Dev Psychopathol. 2009; 21(2):355-72. PMID: 19338688; PMCID: PMC2666941.
  23. Walter M, Bureau JF, Holmes BM, Bertha EA, Hollander M, Wheelis J, Brooks NH, Lyons-Ruth K. Cortisol response to interpersonal stress in young adults with borderline personality disorder: a pilot study. Eur Psychiatry. 2008 Apr; 23(3):201-4. PMID: 18325742; PMCID: PMC2585780.
  24. Gunderson JG, Lyons-Ruth K. BPD's interpersonal hypersensitivity phenotype: a gene-environment-developmental model. J Pers Disord. 2008 Feb; 22(1):22-41. PMID: 18312121; PMCID: PMC2596628.
  25. Lyons-Ruth K, Holmes BM, Sasvari-Szekely M, Ronai Z, Nemoda Z, Pauls D. Serotonin transporter polymorphism and borderline or antisocial traits among low-income young adults. Psychiatr Genet. 2007 Dec; 17(6):339-43. PMID: 18075474; PMCID: PMC2149895.
  26. Bruschweiler-Stern N, Lyons-Ruth K, Morgan AC, Nahum JP, Sander LW, Stern DN. The foundational level of psychodynamic meaning: implicit process in relation to conflict, defense and the dynamic unconscious. Int J Psychoanal. 2007 Aug; 88(Pt 4):843-60. PMID: 17681896.
    View in: PubMed
  27. Lyons-Ruth K, Melnick S, Patrick M, Hobson RP. A controlled study of Hostile-Helpless states of mind among borderline and dysthymic women. Attach Hum Dev. 2007 Mar; 9(1):1-16. PMID: 17364479; PMCID: PMC2585784.
  28. Gervai J, Novak A, Lakatos K, Toth I, Danis I, Ronai Z, Nemoda Z, Sasvari-Szekely M, Bureau JF, Bronfman E, Lyons-Ruth K. Infant genotype may moderate sensitivity to maternal affective communications: attachment disorganization, quality of care, and the DRD4 polymorphism. Soc Neurosci. 2007; 2(3-4):307-19. PMID: 18167517; PMCID: PMC2167962.
  29. Lyons-Ruth K, Dutra L, Schuder MR, Bianchi I. From infant attachment disorganization to adult dissociation: relational adaptations or traumatic experiences? Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2006 Mar; 29(1):63-86, viii. PMID: 16530587; PMCID: PMC2625289.
    View in: PubMed
  31. Lyons-Ruth K, Yellin C, Melnick S, Atwood G. Expanding the concept of unresolved mental states: hostile/helpless states of mind on the Adult Attachment Interview are associated with disrupted mother-infant communication and infant disorganization. Dev Psychopathol. 2005; 17(1):1-23. PMID: 15971757; PMCID: PMC1857275.
  32. Lyons-Ruth K, Melnick S. Dose-response effect of mother-infant clinical home visiting on aggressive behavior problems in kindergarten. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2004 Jun; 43(6):699-707. PMID: 15167086; PMCID: PMC1896103.
  33. Agrawal HR, Gunderson J, Holmes BM, Lyons-Ruth K. Attachment studies with borderline patients: a review. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2004 Mar-Apr; 12(2):94-104. PMID: 15204804; PMCID: PMC1857277.
    View in: PubMed
  35. Lyons-Ruth K, Yellin C, Melnick S, Atwood G. Childhood experiences of trauma and loss have different relations to maternal Unresolved and Hostile-Helpless states of mind on the AAI. Attach Hum Dev. 2003 Dec; 5(4):330-52; discussion 409-14. PMID: 15061308; PMCID: PMC1705724.
  36. Lyons-Ruth K. The Two-Person Construction of Defenses: Disorganized Attachment Strategies, Unintegrated Mental States, and Hostjle/Helpless Relational Processes. J Infant Child Adolesc Psychother. 2003; 2:105-114. PMID: 18074006.
    View in: PubMed
  37. Lyons-Ruth K. Dissociation and the parent-infant dialogue: a longitudinal perspective from attachment research. J Am Psychoanal Assoc. 2003; 51(3):883-911. PMID: 14596565.
    View in: PubMed
  38. Bruschweiler-Stern N, Harrison AM, Lyons-Ruth K, Morgan AC, Nahum JP, Sander LW, Stern DN, Tronick EZ. Explicating the implicit: the local level and the microprocess of change in the analytic situation. Int J Psychoanal. 2002 Oct; 83(Pt 5):1051-62. PMID: 12427264.
    View in: PubMed
  39. Stern DN, Bruschweiler-Stern N, Harrison AM, Lyons-Ruth K, Morgan AC, Nahum JP, Sander L, Tronick EZ. [The role of implicit knowledge in therapeutic change. Some implications of developmental observations for adult psychotherapy]. Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. 2001 Mar-Apr; 51(3-4):147-52. PMID: 11345580.
    View in: PubMed
  40. Lyons-Ruth K, Wolfe R, Lyubchik A. Depression and the parenting of young children: making the case for early preventive mental health services. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2000 Sep; 8(3):148-53. PMID: 10973939.
    View in: PubMed
  41. Easterbrooks MA, Biesecker G, Lyons-Ruth K. Infancy predictors of emotional availability in middle childhood: the roles of attachment security and maternal depressive symptomatology. Attach Hum Dev. 2000 Sep; 2(2):170-87. PMID: 11707909.
    View in: PubMed
  42. Lyons-Ruth K, Bronfman E, Parsons E. Atypical attachment in infancy and early childhood among children at developmental risk. IV. Maternal frightened, frightening, or atypical behavior and disorganized infant attachment patterns. Monogr Soc Res Child Dev. 1999; 64(3):67-96; discussion 213-20. PMID: 10597543.
    View in: PubMed
  43. Stern DN, Sander LW, Nahum JP, Harrison AM, Lyons-Ruth K, Morgan AC, Bruschweiler-Stern N, Tronick EZ. Non-interpretive mechanisms in psychoanalytic therapy. The 'something more' than interpretation. The Process of Change Study Group. Int J Psychoanal. 1998 Oct; 79 ( Pt 5):903-21. PMID: 9871830.
    View in: PubMed
  44. Lyons-Ruth K, Easterbrooks MA, Cibelli CD. Infant attachment strategies, infant mental lag, and maternal depressive symptoms: predictors of internalizing and externalizing problems at age 7. Dev Psychol. 1997 Jul; 33(4):681-92. PMID: 9232383.
    View in: PubMed
  45. Lyons-Ruth K. Attachment relationships among children with aggressive behavior problems: the role of disorganized early attachment patterns. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1996 Feb; 64(1):64-73. PMID: 8907085.
    View in: PubMed
  46. Lyons-Ruth K, Alpern L, Repacholi B. Disorganized infant attachment classification and maternal psychosocial problems as predictors of hostile-aggressive behavior in the preschool classroom. Child Dev. 1993 Apr; 64(2):572-85. PMID: 8477635.
    View in: PubMed
  47. Lyons-Ruth K, Connell DB, Grunebaum HU, Botein S. Infants at social risk: maternal depression and family support services as mediators of infant development and security of attachment. Child Dev. 1990 Feb; 61(1):85-98. PMID: 2307048.
    View in: PubMed
  48. Cohn JF, Matias R, Tronick EZ, Connell D, Lyons-Ruth K. Face-to-face interactions of depressed mothers and their infants. New Dir Child Dev. 1986; (34):31-45. PMID: 3822209.
    View in: PubMed
  49. Lyons-Ruth K, Zoll D, Connell D, Grunebaum HU. The depressed mother and her one-year-old infant: environment, interaction, attachment, and infant development. New Dir Child Dev. 1986; (34):61-82. PMID: 3822211.
    View in: PubMed
  50. Lyons-Ruth K, Botein S, Grunebaum HU. Reaching the hard-to-reach: serving isolated and depressed mothers with infants in the community. New Dir Ment Health Serv. 1984 Dec; (24):95-122. PMID: 6521711.
    View in: PubMed
Local representatives can answer questions about the Profiles website or help with editing a profile or issues with profile data. For assistance with this profile: HMS/HSDM faculty should contact For demographic and contact information changes only, HMS/HSDM faculty should contact Human Resources at
Lyons-Ruth's Networks
Click the "See All" links for more information and interactive visualizations!
Concepts Expand Description
Co-Authors Expand Description
Similar People Expand Description
Same Department Expand Description
Physical Neighbors Expand Description