Assistant Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine
Director, National Center for Research of the Addiction Medicine Foundation

MEMPHIS TN 381632181
Tel: (901) 448-2526


  • PostDoc, University of Kentucky, Psychology/Behavioral Science
  • Other, Florida International University, Internship
  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky, Clinical Psychology
  • M.S., University of Kentucky, Clinical Psychology

Research Description

Dr. Derefinko''s primary research activities are aimed at understanding externalizing behaviors and conduct problems, including substance use, violence, and risky sexual practices in young adults and adolescents. She has designed, executed, and managed several research protocols that explore the contributions of mental health, personality, and other proximal mechanisms to externalizing outcomes in adults and children. Based upon findings from this work, Dr. Derefinko has developed four treatment manuals, and completed several treatment outcome studies, four of which have been published in peer reviewed journals. She received her pre-doctoral training through the University of Kentucky where she also served as a project manager for a longitudinal substance use study conducted through the Center for Drug Abuse Research Translation (CDART), a center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She received additional training in treatment outcome research through her experience at the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University, and worked with school systems to develop drug use policies and train educators in substance use and violence prevention. She is now translating her knowledge of risk and maintenance of substance use into tailored interventions for diverse, hard to treat populations as a Site PI or Co-Investigator on two large scale treatment outcome studies (1R01CA193245-01A1; 1R01DK107747-01A1), and was recently named the Director of the National Research Center for The Addiction Medicine Foundation.

Research Keywords

Substance use; antisocial behavior; risky sexual behavior, physiology, biobehavioral models, personality; cognitive/behavioral interventions; translational research

Research Interest/Specialty

Dr. Derefinko''s primary research activities are aimed at the use of translational methods to create novel intervention strategies for substance use and other externalizing behaviors in young adults and adolescents.


  1. Sibley MH, Graziano PA, Kuriyan AB, Coxe S, Pelham WE, Rodriguez L, Sanchez F, Derefinko K, Helseth S, Ward A. Parent-Teen Behavior Therapy + Motivational Interviewing for Adolescents with ADHD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.
  2. Little MA, Pokhrel P, Sussman S, Derekinko KJ, Bursac Z, Rohrbach LA. Factors associated with the use of adolescent tobacco cessation programs in schools. Journal of Smoking Cessation.
  3. Lee CA, Derefinko KJ, Milich R, Lynam DR, DeWall CN. Longitudinal and reciprocal relations between delay discounting and crime. Personality and Individual Differences.
  4. Little MA, Bursac Z, Derefinko, KJ, Ebbert JO, Talcott, GW, Klesges, RC. Types of Dual and Poly Tobacco Users in the United States Military. American Journal of Epidemiology.
  5. Lee, CA, Derefinko, KJ, Davis, HA, Milich, R, Lynam, DR. Cross-lagged relations between motives and substance use: Can use strengthen your motivation over time. Drug Alcohol Depend, 178, 544-550, 2017.
  6. Derefinko, KJ, Bursac, Z, Mejia, MG, Milich, R, Lynam, DR. Rural and urban substance use differences: effects of the transition to college. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse, 1-11, 2017.
  7. Lee, CA, Derefinko, KJ, Milich, R, Lynam, DR, DeWall, CN. Longitudinal and reciprocal relations between delay discounting and crime. Pers Individ Dif, 111, 193-198, 2017.
  8. Li, T, Waters, TM, Kaplan, EK, Kaplan, CM, Nyarko, KA, Derefinko, KJ, Talcott, GW, Klesges, RC. Economic Analyses of an Alcohol Misconduct Prevention Program in a Military Setting. Mil Med, 182 (1), e1562-e1567, 2017.
  9. Derefinko, KJ, Charnigo, RJ, Peters, JR, Adams, ZW, Milich, R, Lynam, DR. Substance Use Trajectories From Early Adolescence Through the Transition to College. J Stud Alcohol Drugs, 77 (6), 924-935, 2016.
  10. Sibley, MH, Graziano, PA, Kuriyan, AB, Coxe, S, Pelham, WE, Rodriguez, L, Sanchez, F, Derefinko, K, Helseth, S, Ward, A. Parent-teen behavior therapy + motivational interviewing for adolescents with ADHD. J Consult Clin Psychol, 84 (8), 699-712, 2016.
  11. Little, MA, Bursac, Z, Derefinko, KJ, Ebbert, JO, Talcott, GW, Hryshko-Mullen, A, Klesges, RC. Types of Dual and Poly-Tobacco Users in the US Military. Am J Epidemiol, 184 (3), 211-8, 2016.
  12. Derefinko, KJ, Klesges, RC, Bursac, Z, Little, MA, Hryshko-Mullen, A, Talcott, GW. Alcohol issues prior to training in the United States Air Force. Addict Behav, 58, 142-8, 2016.
  13. Derefinko, KJ, Eisenlohr-Moul, TA, Peters, JR, Roberts, W, Walsh, EC, Milich, R, Lynam, DR. Physiological response to reward and extinction predicts alcohol, marijuana, and cigarette use two years later. Drug Alcohol Depend, 163 Suppl 1, S29-36, 2016.
  14. Peters, JR, Derefinko, KJ, Lynam, DR. Negative Urgency Accounts for the Association Between Borderline Personality Features and Intimate Partner Violence in Young Men. J Pers Disord, 1-10, 2016.
  15. Derefinko KJ, Klesges RC, Bursac Z, Little M, Hryshko-Mullen AS, & Talcott GW. Alcohol Issues Prior to Training in the United States Air Force. Addictive Behaviors, 2016.
  16. Derefinko KJ, Eisenlohr-Moul TA, Peters JR, Roberts W, Walsh EC, Milich R, Lynam DR. Physiological Response to Reward and Extinction Predicts Alcohol, Marijuana, and Cigarette Use Two Years Later. Drug and Alc ohol Dependence, 2016.
  17. Chester, DS, DeWall, CN, Derefinko, KJ, Estus, S, Lynam, DR, Peters, JR, Jiang, Y. Looking for reward in all the wrong places: dopamine receptor gene polymorphisms indirectly affect aggression through sensation-seeking. Soc Neurosci, 1-8, 2015.
  18. Little, MA, Derefinko, KJ, Colvin, L, Ebbert, JO, Bursac, Z, Talcott, GW, Richey, PA, Klesges, RC. The Prevalence of E-cigarette Use in a Sample of U.S. Air Force Recruits. Am J Prev Med, 49 (3), 402-8, 2015.
  19. Little, MA, Derefinko, KJ, Bursac, Z, Ebbert, JO, Colvin, L, Talcott, GW, Hryshko-Mullen, AS, Richey, PA, Klesges, RC. Prevalence and Correlates of Tobacco and Nicotine Containing Product Use in a Sample of United States Air Force Trainees. Nicotine Tob Res, 2015.
  20. Chester, DS, DeWall, CN, Derefinko, KJ, Estus, S, Peters, JR, Lynam, DR, Jiang, Y. Monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) genotype predicts greater aggression through impulsive reactivity to negative affect. Behav Brain Res, 283, 97-101, 2015.
  21. Graziano, PA, Bagner, DM, Slavec, J, Hungerford, G, Kent, K, Babinski, D, Derefinko, K, Pasalich, D. Feasibility of intensive parent-child interaction therapy (I-PCIT): Results from an open trial. J Psychopathol Behav Assess, 37 (1), 38-49, 2015.
  22. Derefinko, KJ, Hayden, A, Sibley, MH, Duvall, J, Milich, R, Lorch, EP. A Story Mapping Intervention to Improve Narrative Comprehension Deficits in Adolescents with ADHD. School Ment Health, 6 (4), 251-263, 2014.
  23. Derefinko, KJ. Psychopathy and Low Anxiety: Meta-Analytic Evidence for the Absence of Inhibition, Not Affect. J Pers, 2014.
  24. Derefinko, KJ, Peters, JR, Eisenlohr-Moul, TA, Walsh, EC, Adams, ZW, Lynam, DR. Relations between trait impulsivity, behavioral impulsivity, physiological arousal, and risky sexual behavior among young men. Arch Sex Behav, 43 (6), 1149-58, 2014.
  25. Graziano, P, Derefinko, K. Cardiac vagal control and children's adaptive functioning: a meta-analysis. Biol Psychol, 94 (1), 22-37, 2013.
  26. Sibley, MH, Pelham, WE, Molina, BS, Gnagy, EM, Waxmonsky, JG, Waschbusch, DA, Derefinko, KJ, Wymbs, BT, Garefino, AC, Babinski, DE, Kuriyan, AB. When diagnosing ADHD in young adults emphasize informant reports, DSM items, and impairment. J Consult Clin Psychol, 80 (6), 1052-61, 2012.
  27. Babinski, DE, Pelham, WE, Molina, BS, Gnagy, EM, Waschbusch, DA, Wymbs, BT, Sibley, MH, Derefinko, KJ, Kuriyan, AB. Maternal ADHD, Parenting, and Psychopathology Among Mothers of Adolescents With ADHD. J Atten Disord, 2012.
  28. Miller, DJ, Derefinko, KJ, Lynam, DR, Milich, R, Fillmore, MT. Impulsivity and Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder: Subtype Classification Using the UPPS Impulsive Behavior Scale. J Psychopathol Behav Assess, 32 (3), 323-332, 2010.
  29. Derefinko, K, DeWall, CN, Metze, AV, Walsh, EC, Lynam, DR. Do different facets of impulsivity predict different types of aggression. Aggress Behav, 37 (3), 223-33, 2010.
  30. Gudonis, LC, Derefinko, K, Giancola, PR. The treatment of substance misuse in psychopathic individuals: why heterogeneity matters. Subst Use Misuse, 44 (9-10), 1415-33, 2009.
  31. Huss, D, Derefinko, K, Milich, R, Farzam, F, Baumann, R. Examining the stress response and recovery among children with migraine. J Pediatr Psychol, 34 (7), 707-15, 2009.
  32. Adams, ZW, Derefinko, KJ, Milich, R, Fillmore, MT. Inhibitory functioning across ADHD subtypes: recent findings, clinical implications, and future directions. Dev Disabil Res Rev, 14 (4), 268-75, 2008.
  33. Derefinko, KJ, Adams, ZW, Milich, R, Fillmore, MT, Lorch, EP, Lynam, DR. Response style differences in the inattentive and combined subtypes of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. J Abnorm Child Psychol, 36 (5), 745-58, 2008.
  34. Derefinko, KJ, Lynam, DR. Using the FFM to conceptualize psychopathy: a test using a drug abusing sample. J Pers Disord, 21 (6), 638-56, 2007.
  35. Lynam, DR, Derefinko, KJ, Caspi, A, Loeber, R, Stouthamer-Loeber, M. The content validity of juvenile psychopathy: an empirical examination. Psychol Assess, 19 (3), 363-7, 2007.
  36. Derefinko, KJ, Lynam, DR. Convergence and divergence among self-report psychopathy measures: a personality-based approach. J Pers Disord, 20 (3), 261-80, 2006.