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Sunhye (Sunny) Bai Ph.D.

Sunhye (Sunny) Bai, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies

Karl R. Fink and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professorship for the Study of Families


Sunhye Bai is an assistant professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She received her MPH degree from UC Berkeley in 2010, specializing in Maternal and Child Health, and received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from UCLA in 2017, where she also completed her pre-doctoral clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship. Her research broadly focuses on adolescent development in the context of daily family and school life. This work integrates human development, family studies and clinical and health research, and relies heavily on naturalistic measures of youth and family functioning including daily diaries, passive audio/videorecordings, and actigraphy.

Her research is in three related areas. First, she studies how youths’ day-to-day experiences at home and at school impact their mental health. These “day-to-day experiences” encompass ups and downs in emotions, sleep, health behaviors, and most importantly, family interactions. Second, her current research examines how parents adapt their caregiving approaches in the face of adolescent behavioral health concerns. Third, her work examines how modifiable health behaviors shape the course of internalizing problems, such as depression. Together, this research will help to better identify innovative strategies to enhance parent-child interactions and increase family strengths to promote health in adolescents.

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