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Betty Lai

Assistant Professor    

Ph.D., 2011, University of Miami, Clinical Psychology, Specialization in Children and Families
Predoctoral Internship, 2010, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford/Children’s Health Council, Clinical Psychology
M.S.T., 2004, Pace University, Science Education (Grades 7 – 12)
B.A., 2002, Columbia University, Pre-medical Concentration


Biostatistics, Child Trauma, Clinical Psychology


Betty Sao-Hou Lai is an assistant professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. Before joining Georgia State, she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology, with a specialization in children and families, from the University of Miami. She completed her clinical internship in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Lai is a Next Generation of Hazard and Disasters Researchers Fellow, and she is also a National Scholar for the Academy on Violence and Abuse.

Dr. Lai’s research focuses on how children and families respond to disasters and other traumatic stressors. Her recent work has focused on children’s mental health symptoms, physical health symptoms, and school functioning following large scale disasters (e.g., Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Charley, bushfires in Australia). Her work also examines how advanced statistical modeling strategies may be applied to better understand how to minimize the effects of disasters on children’s functioning.

Dr. Lai’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation. In recognition of her work, Division 56, the Trauma Division of the American Psychological Association, awarded Dr. Lai with an Early Career Award.


The following is a list of selected recent publications:

Lai, B.S., Alisic, E., Lewis, R., & Ronan, K. (2016). Approaches to the Assessment of Children in the Context of Disasters. Current Psychiatry Reports, 18(5), 1 – 8.

Lai, B.S., Tiwari, A., Beaulieu, B., Self-Brown, S., & Kelley, M.L. (2015). Hurricane Katrina: Maternal depression trajectories and child outcomes. Current Psychology, 34(3), 515 – 523.

La Greca, A.M., Ingles, C.J., Lai, B.S., & Marzo, J.C. (2015). Social anxiety scale for adolescents: Factorial invariance across gender and age in Hispanic-American adolescents. Assessment, 22(2), 224 – 232. DOI: 10.1177/1073191114540749

Lai, B.S., Beaulieu, B., Ogokeh, C., Self-Brown, S., & Kelley, M.L. (2015). Mother and child reports of hurricane related stressors: Data from a sample of families exposed to Hurricane Katrina. Child and Youth Care Forum, 4, 549-565.

Landoll, R., La Greca, A.M., Lai, B.S., Chan, S., & Herge, W. (2015). Cyber victimization by peers: Prospective associations with adolescent social anxiety and depressive symptoms. Journal of Adolescence, 42, 77 – 86.

Llabre, M.M., Hadi, F., La Greca, A.M., Lai, B.S. (2015). Psychological distress in young adults exposed to war-related trauma in childhood. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 44(1), 169-180. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2013.828295

Lai, B.S., Kelley, M.L., Harrison, K.M., Thompson, J.E., Self-Brown, S. (2015). Posttraumatic stress, anxiety, and depression symptoms among children after Hurricane Katrina: A latent profile analysis. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 24(5), 1262 – 1270. doi:1007/s10826-014-9934-3