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Faculty Name

Benjamin L. Hankin, PhD

Last Name (not displayed)







Professor of Psychology, University of Denver (DU) Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine


​Psychology (DU), Psychiatry (UCD)

Description of Research

Dr. Hankin's major areas of interest are:

  • the development of depression in children, adolescents, and young adults;
  • vulnerability-stress models of depression-genetic, cognitive, interpersonal, emotional vulnerabilities
  • developmental psychopathology;
  • sex differences in depression;
  • comorbidity of depression and other psychiatric disorders
  • developmental origins, stabilization, and emergence of psychosocial vulnerabilities to depression
  • structural models, accurate, appropriate classification of depression and psychopathology generally
  • longitudinal research designs and data analysis

His interests focus on understanding the development of depression over the lifespan, especially what factors and processes contribute to cause elevations in symptoms of and onset of clinical depression. Primary questions motivating the research include: 1) why do youth become depressed, especially the rapid rise in rates observed during adolescence? and 2) why do more girls become depressed than boys starting in adolescence? This work is guided conceptually by a developmental psychopathological framework, as he is also interested in 1) the reciprocal, transactional relations among psychosocial and genetic risks, stressful life events, and psychopathological symptoms and 2) the developmental origins, stabilization, and emergence of psychosocial vulnerabilities to depression over time. This work has been continuously funded since 2002 by NIMH, NSF, AFSP, and CIHR.

Presently, he and his colleagues are engaged in large-scale, multi-wave longitudinal studies examining how various vulnerabilities to depression (e.g., molecular genetic, cognitive, interpersonal, emotional/ temperament) interact with various stressors to predict prospective increases in depression over time among children and adolescents. After conducting a comprehensive baseline assessment to measure psychopathology (e.g., depression, anxiety, externalizing behaviors), vulnerabilities and stressors using multiple methods and informants in youth and parents, they then follow-up the youth and parent every 3 months with assessments of symptoms and stressors for the next 3 years. They assess children and parents using various methods, including self- and other-report questionnaires, daily diary methods, lab-tasks (e.g., emotion-eliciting, information-processing, parent-child and peer interactions), biological samples, and clinical interviews (e.g., diagnostic, contextual stress interviews).




Clinical and special developmental populations

Adolescents; Child; Depression


University of Denver, Frontier Hall, 2155 South High, Denver, CO

Contact email

Faculty/Lab Website


Post-doctoral trainees

Lisa Badanes, PhD
Nick Hazel, PhD
Hannah Snyder, PhD
Jennifer Waller, PhD

Research Topic

The development of depression in children and adolescents

Mentor since



​University of Denver and University of Colorado School of Medicine

Contact Number


Faculty Picture

Benjamin Hankin, PhD

DPRG Website

Hankin DPRG webpage

Department website

Hankin DU webpage


Created at 8/15/2012 10:46 AM by Greco-Sanders, Linda
Last modified at 9/3/2015 10:58 AM by Greco-Sanders, Linda