College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Christopher Mehus

  • Research Assistant Professor

Christopher Mehus

Areas of interest

Parenting behaviors and the role of parent-child relationships in developmental pathways
Understanding the intersection of trauma and parent-child interactions
Engaging parents in adolescent health and healthcare
Evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of parenting programs delivered through primary care settings


Ph.D., Couple and Family Therapy, Family Social Science, University of Minnesota
Master of Arts, Marriage and Family Therapy, Saint Mary's University of Minnesota


I am a Prevention Scientist with a background in family science, family therapy, parenting interventions, primary care research, and psychological trauma. My overarching goal is to improve public health by supporting parents in raising healthy children. I am pursing this goal through research to foster engagement in and create sustainable access to effective parenting interventions and support, with an emphasis on highly stressed families. This research agenda includes gaining a better understanding of parenting behaviors and the role of parent-child relationships in developmental pathways; understanding the intersection of trauma and parent-child interactions; engaging parents in adolescent health and healthcare; and evaluating the effectiveness and implementation of parenting programs delivered through primary care settings. Learn more about my research at


(Selected Publications - see CV for full list)

Mehus, C. J., Buchanan, G., Ballard, J., Berkel, C., Borowsky, I., Estrada, Y., Klein, J., Kuklinski, M., Prado, G., Shaw, D., & Smith, J. D. (In Press). Multiple perspectives on motivating parents in pediatric primary care to initiate participation in parenting programs. Academic Pediatrics. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2023.07.020

Mehus, C. J., Stevenson, B., Weiler, L., Gunlicks-Stoessel, M., Morrell, N., & Patrick, M (2023). An example of implementing a safety protocol in remote intervention and survey research with college students. Clinical Trials, 20(5), 571-575. DOI: 10.1177/17407745231176803

Mehus, C. J., Voller, V., Gewirtz O’Brien, J., Gower, A., McRee, AL., & Sieving, R. (2023). How is time alone introduced? Experiences and preferences of adolescents and parents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 73(1), 190-194. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2023.02.026

Brar, P., Sieving, R., Steiner, R., Gewirtz-O’Brien, J., Moore, M., Mehus, C. J., Ross, C., Klein, J., & Santelli, J. (2022) Provider facilitation of parent-adolescent health communication: Findings from a national survey. Journal of Pediatric Health Care. Advanced online publication. DOI: 10.1016/j.pedhc.2022.11.003

Mehus, C. J., Gewirtz O’Brien, J., Klein, J., Santelli, J., Sieving, R., & McRee, A. (2022) Opportunities to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health services in primary care clinics. Clinical Pediatrics. Advanced online publication. DOI: 10.1177/00099228221142691

Gewirtz O’brien, J., Brar, P., Worley, J., Woodlee, C., Kelly, E., So, M., McRee, AL., & Mehus, C. J. (2022) Development of a shelter-based health empowerment program for pregnant and parenting youth experiencing homelessness. Progress in Community Health Partnerships,16(4), 473-489. DOI: 10.1353/cpr.2022.0070

Mehus, C. J., Patrick, M., Schulenberg, J., & Maggs, J. (2022) 35-year-old parents do not approve of 17-year-olds’ cigarette, marijuana, or alcohol use: U.S. national data 1993-2018. Journal of Adolescent Health, 70(6), 989-992. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2022.01.001

Sieving, R., Mehus, C. J., Gewirtz O’Brien, J., Steiner, R., Wang, S., Catallozzi, M., Gorzkowski, J., Grilo, S., Kaseeska, K., McRee, AL., Santelli, J., & Klein, J. (2022). Correlates of discussions about sexual and reproductive health during adolescent preventive care visits: Findings from a representative sample of U.S. adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 70(3), 421-428. DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2021.10.013

Mehus, C. J., Aldrin, S., Steiner, R., Brar, P., Gewirtz O’Brien, J., Gorzkowski, J., Grilo, S., Klein, J., McRee, AL., Ross, C., Santelli, J., & Sieving, R. (2022). Parents’ sources of adolescent sexual health information and the role of primary care. Academic Pediatrics, 22(3), 396-401. DOI: 10.1016/j.acap.2021.09.007 

Mehus, C. J., Buchanan, G., & Unell, B (2022). Feasibility of a novel, brief parenting intervention in primary care clinics. Families, Systems, and Health, 40(2), 152-159. DOI: 10.1037/fsh0000514

Mehus, C. J., Lyden, G., Bonar, E., Gunlicks-Stoessel, M., Morrell, N., Parks, M., Wagner, A., & Patrick, M. (2021) Association between COVID-19-related loneliness or worry and symptoms of anxiety and depression among first-year college students. Journal of American College Health. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1080/07448481.2021.1942009

Mehus, C. J., & Patrick, M. (2021). Prevalence of spanking in US national samples of 35-year-old parents from 1993 to 2017. JAMA Pediatrics, 175(1), 92-93. DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.2197. U.S. NewsMinnPost, CNN

Mehus, C. J., Wieling, E., Oloya, O.T., Achan, L., & Ertl, V. (2021). The impact of alcohol misuse on fathering in northern Uganda: An ethnographic study of fathers. Transcultural Psychiatry, 58(1), 14-26DOI: 10.1177/1363461520943315

Mehus, C. J., & Patrick, M. E. (2020). Alcohol use among 10th-graders: Distinguishing between high-intensity drinking and other levels of use. Journal of Adolescence, 83, 27–30. DOI: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2020.07.004

Patrick, M. E., Evans-Polce, R. J., Wagner, A. C., & Mehus, C. J. (2020). High-intensity drinking by parental status: Differences by age and sex. Addictive Behaviors, 102, 106180. DOI: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106180

Mehus, C. J., Kazlauskaite, V., Colianni, S., & Borowsky, I. (2019). Parent interest in resources to address their child’s behavioral health through primary care. Families, Systems, and Health, 37(3), 244-248. DOI: 10.1037/fsh0000429

Mehus, C. J., Forster, M., Chan, G., Hemphill, S., Toumbourou, J., & McMorris, B. (2018). Longitudinal, reciprocal relationships between parental monitoring and antisocial peer associations. Journal of Adolescence, 68, 146-151. DOI: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.07.015

Mehus, C. J., Doty, J., Chan, G., Kelly, A., Hemphill, S., Toumbourou, J., & McMorris, B. (2018). Testing the Social Interaction Learning Model’s applicability to adolescent substance misuse in an Australian context. Substance Use and Misuse, 53(11), 1859-1868. DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2018.1441307

Mehus, C. J., Wieling, E., Achan, L., & Oloya, T. (2018). Identifying the roles of fathers in post-war northern Uganda: Groundwork for a parenting intervention. African Studies, 77(4), 526-548. DOI: 10.1080/00020184.2018.1496593

Mehus, C. J., Watson, R., Eisenberg, M., Corliss, H., & Porta, C. (2017). Living as an LGBTQ adolescent and a parent’s child: Overlapping or separate experiences. Journal of Family Nursing, 23(2), 175-200. DOI: 10.1177/1074840717696924

Wieling, E., Mehus, C. J., Möllerherm, J., Neuner, F., Achan, L., & Catani, C. (2017). Preparing the field for feasibility testing of a parenting intervention for war-affected mothers in northern Uganda. Family Process, 56(2), 376-392. DOI: 10.1111/famp.12189

Leslie, L., Mehus, C. J., Hawkins, J. D., Boat, T., McCabe, M. A., Barkin, S., Perrin, E., Metzler, C., Prado, G., Tait, V. F., & Beardslee, W. (2016). Primary health care: Potential home for family-focused preventive interventions. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 51(4), S106-S118. DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.05.014

Mehus, C. J., & Becher, E. (2016). Compassion fatigue, burn out, and compassion satisfaction in spoken-language interpreters. Traumatology, 22(4), 249-254. DOI: 10.1037/trm0000023

Mehus, C. J., (2015). A tactile lifeline applied to couple therapy. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 26(4), 318-322. DOI: 10.1080/08975353.2015.1097292

Wieling, E., Mehus, C. J., Moellerherm, J., Neuner, F., Catani, C., & Achan, L. (2015). Assessing the feasibility of a parenting intervention for war-affected families in Northern Uganda. Family and Community Health, 38(3), 253–268. DOI: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000064