Kenneth J. Sher

Kenneth J. Sher
Chancellor's Professor and Curators' Distinguished Professor Emeritus
147 Psychology Building
Lab Area: 
Research Interests: 

etiology of alcohol dependence
psychopharmacology of alcohol
prospective research
nosology and diagnosis
psychiatric comorbidity
personality and psychopathology


B.A. Psychology, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH 1975

Ph.D. Psychology (clinical), Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 1981

Predoctoral Internship, Brown University, Providence, RI 1981

Selected Publications: 

Selected Publications (in chronological order)
-- for a more complete listing see:

Sher, K. J., & Levenson, R. W. (1982). Risk for alcoholism and individual differences in the stress response dampening effect of alcohol. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 91, 350-367.

Sher, K. J. (1985). Subjective effects of alcohol: Influence of setting and individual differences in alcohol expectancies. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 46, 137-146.

Sher, K. J., & Walitzer, K. S. (1986). Individual differences in the stress-response-dampening effect of alcohol:  A dose response study. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95, 159-167.

Sher, K. J. (1987). Stress response dampening. In H. T. Blane and K. Leonard (Eds.), Psychological theories of drinking and alcoholism (pp. 227-271). New York: Guilford.

Kushner, M. G., Sher, K. J., & Beitman, B. D. (1990). The relation between alcohol problems and the anxiety disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 147, 685-695.

Sher, K. J. (1991). Children of alcoholics: A critical appraisal of theory and research. A volume in the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Mental Health and Development. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (236 pages)

Sher, K. J., Walitzer, K. S., Wood, P. K., & Brent, E. E. (1991). Characteristics of children of alcoholics: Putative risk factors, substance use and abuse, and psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100, 427-448.

Sher, K. J., & Trull, T. (1994). Personality and disinhibitory psychopathology: Alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology103, 92-102.

Sher, K. J., & Trull, T. J. (1996). Methodological issues in psychopathology research. Annual Review of Psychology, 47, 371-400.

Kushner, M. G., Sher, K. J., & Erickson, D. (1999). Prospective analysis of the relation between DSM-III anxiety disorders and alcohol use disorders. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 723-732.

Sher, K. J., & Gotham, H. (1999). Pathological alcohol involvement: A developmental disorder of young adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 11, 933-956.

Sher, K. J., Trull, T. J., Bartholow, B., & Vieth, A. (1999). Personality and alcoholism: Issues, methods, and etiological processes. In H. Blane and K. Leonard (Eds.), Psychological theories of drinking and alcoholism (2nd edition), pp. 55-105. New York: Plenum.

Sher, K. J., Bartholow, B. D., & Wood, M. D. (2000). Personality and substance use disorders: A prospective study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 818-829.

Jackson, K. M., & Sher, K. J. (2003). Alcohol use disorders and psychological distress: A prospective state-trait analysis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112, 599–613.

Sher, K. J., Gotham, H. J., & Watson, A. L. (2004). Trajectories of dynamic predictors of disorder: Their meanings and implications. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 825-856.

Sher, K. J., Grekin, E., & Williams, N. (2005). The development of alcohol use disorders. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1, 493-523.

Jackson, K. M., & Sher, K. J. (2008). Comparison of longitudinal phenotypes based on alternate heavy drinking cut scores: A systematic Comparison of trajectory approaches III. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. 22, 198-209.

Rutledge, P., Park, A., & Sher, K. J. (2008). 21st birthday drinking: Extremely extreme Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 511-516.

Littlefield, A., Sher, K. J., & Wood, P. K. (2009). Is 'maturing out' of problematic alcohol involvement related to personality change? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 360–374.

Park, A., Sher, K. J., & Krull, J. (2009). Selection and socialization of risky drinking during the college transition: The importance of micro-environments associated with specific living units. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23, 404-414.

Park, A., Sher, K. J., Wood, P. K., & Krull, J. L. (2009). Dual mechanisms underlying accentuation of risky drinking via fraternity/sorority affiliation: The role of personality, peer norms, and alcohol availability. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 118, 241-255.

Dick, D. M., Smith, G., Olausson, P., Mitchell, S. H., Leeman, R. F., O’Malley, S. S., & Sher, K. (2010). Understanding the construct of impulsivity and its relationship to alcohol use disorders. Addiction Biology, 15, 217-226.

Vergés, A., Jackson, K. M., Bucholz, K. K., Grant, J. D., Trull, T. J., Wood, P. K., & Sher, K. J. (2012). Deconstructing the age-prevalence curve of alcohol dependence: Why 'maturing out' is only a small piece of the puzzle. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 511-523.

Winograd, R., Littlefield, A. K., Martinez, J. A., & Sher, K. J. (2012). The drunken self: The five-factor model as an organizational framework for characterizing perceptions of one’s own drunkenness. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 36, 1787-1793.

Haeny, A. M., Littlefield, A. K., & Sher, K. J. (2014). False negatives in the assessment of lifetime alcohol use disorders: A serious but unappreciated problem. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75, 530-535

Verges, A., Jackson, K. M., Bucholz, K. K., Trull, T. J., Lane, S. P., & Sher, K. J. (2014). Personality disorders and the persistence of substance use disorders: A reanalysis of published NESARC findings. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 123, 809-820.

Dick, D. M., Agrawal, A., Keller, M. C., Adkins, A., Aliev, F., Monroe, S., Hewitt, J. K., Kendler, K. S., & Sher, K. J. (2015). Candidate gene-environment interaction research: Reflections and recommendations. Perspectives in Psychological Science, 10, 37-59.

Fleming, K. A., Bartholow, B. D., Hilgard, J., McCarthy, D. M., O'Neill, S. E., Steinley, D., & Sher, K. J. (2016). The Alcohol Sensitivity Questionnaire: Evidence for construct validity. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research40, 880-888.

Lane, S. P., Steinley, D., & Sher, K. J. (2016). Meta-analysis of DSM AUD criteria severities: Structural consistency is only "skin deep." Psychological Medicine, 46, 1769-1784.

Steinley, D., Lane, S. P., Sher, K. J. (2016). Determining optimal diagnostic criteria through chronicity and comorbidity. In Silico Pharmacology, Dec 4, 1-12.

Sher, K. J. (2016) (Ed.). Handbook of Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders, Volume 1. (690 pages) and Volume 2 (766 pages).  New York: Oxford University Press.

Korucuoglu, O., Sher, K. J., Wood, P. K., Saults, J. S., Altamirano, L., Miyake, A., & Bartholow, B. D. (2017). Acute alcohol effects on set-shifting and its moderation by baseline individual differences: A latent variable analysis. Addiction, 112, 442-453.

Winograd, R., Steinley, D., Lane, S. P., & Sher, K. J. (2017). An experimental investigation of drunk personality using self and observer reports. Clinical Psychological Science, 5, 439-456.

Barch, D. M., Albaugh, M. D., Avenevoli, S., Chang, L., Clark, D. B., Glantz, M. D.,…Sher, K. J. (2018). Demographic, physical and mental health assessments in the adolescent brain and cognitive development study: Rationale and description. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 32, 55-66.

Lee, M. R., Boness, C. L., McDowell, Y. E., Vergés, A., Steinley, D. L., & Sher, K. J. (2018). Desistance and severity of Alcohol Use Disorder: A lifespan-developmental investigation. Clinical Psychological Science, 6, 90-105.

Bickel, W., Crabbe, J. C., & Sher, K. J. (2019). “What is addiction? How can animal and human research be used to advance research, diagnosis, and treatment of alcohol and other substance use disorders? Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 43, 6-21.

Boness, C. L., Lane, S., & Sher, K. J. (2019). Not all Alcohol Use Disorder criteria are equally severe: Towards severity grading of individual criteria in college drinkers Psychology of Addictive Behavior, 33, 35-49.

Boness, C. L., Stevens, J. E., Steinley, D., Trull, T. J., & Sher, K. J. (2019). Deriving alternative criteria sets for Alcohol Use Disorders using statistical optimization. Results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, 27, 283-296.

McDowell, Y., Vergés A., & Sher, K. J. (2019). Are some AUD Criteria more (or less) externalizing than others? Distinguishing alcohol use symptomatology from general externalizing psychopathology. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 43. 483-496.

Boness, C. L., Loeffelman, J. E., Steinley, D., Trull, T., & Sher, K. J. (2020). Using complete enumeration to derive “One-Size Fits-All” versus “Subgroup-Specific” diagnostic rules for substance use disorder. Assessment, 27(6), 156-162.

Orehek, E., HumanL., Sayette, M. A., Dimoff, J., Winograd, R. G., & Sher, K. J. (2020). Self-expression while drinking alcohol: Alcohol influences personality expression during first impressions Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin46,109-123. doi: 10.1177/0146167219843933.

Boness, C. S., Watts., A. L., Moeller, K. N., & Sher, K. J., (2021). The Etiologic, Theory-Based, Ontogenetic Hierarchical Framework of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Translational Systematic Review of Reviews. Psychological Bulletin, 147(10), 1075–1123.

Cofresí, R. U., Watts,A., L., Martins, J. S., Wood, P. K., Sher, K. J., Cowan, N., Miyake, A., Bartholow, B. D. (2021).  Acute effect of alcohol on working memory updating.  Addiction116(11), 3029-3043.

Helle, A. C., Sher, K. J., & Trull, T. J. (2021). Individual symptoms or categorical diagnoses? An epidemiological examination of the association between alcohol use, personality disorders, and psychological symptoms. . Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 12(5), 484–490.

Littlefield, A.K., Lane, S.P., Gette, J.A., Watts, A.L., & Sher, K.J. (2021). The “Big Everything”: Integrating and Investigating Dimensional Models of Psychopathology, Personality, Personality Pathology, and Cognitive Functioning. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 12(2), 103-114.

Loeffelman, J. E., Steinley, D., Boness, C. L., Trull, T. J., Wood, P. K., Brusco, M. J., & Sher, K. J. (2021). Combinatorial Optimization of Clustering Decisions: An Approach to Refine Psychiatric Diagnoses. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 56(1), 57-69.

Prince, E. J., Siegel, D. J., Carroll, C. P., Sher, K. J., & Bienvenu, O. J. (2021). A longitudinal study of personality traits, anxiety, and depressive disorders in young adults. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping34(3), 299-307.

Vergés, A., Lee, M. R., Martin, C. S., Trull, T. J., Martens, M. P., Wood, P. K.., & Sher, K. J. (2021). Not all symptoms of alcohol dependence are developmentally equivalent: Implications for the false positives problem. Psychology of Addictive Behavior, 35, 444-457.

Waddell, J., Sher, K. J., & Piasecki, T. (2021). Coping motives and negative affect: An ecological study of the antecedents of alcohol craving and alcohol use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 35, 565-576.

Watts, A. L., Wood, P. K., Jackson, K. M., Lisdahl, K. M., Heitzeg, M. M., Gonzalez, R., Tapert, S. F., Barch, D. M., & Sher, K.J. (2021). Incipient alcohol use in childhood: Early alcohol sipping and its relations with psychopathology and personality. Development and Psychopathology, 33 (4), (2021) 1338-1350.

Conlin, W. E., Hoffman, M., Steinley, D., & Sher, K. J. (in press). Cross-sectional and longitudinal AUD symptom networks: They tell different stories. Addictive Behaviors.

Helle, A.C., Sher, K. J., Masters, J., Washington, K., & Hawley, K.M. (in press). A mixed-method evaluation of the adoption and implementation of the College Alcohol Intervention Matrix among prevention experts: A study protocol. Implementation Science Communications.

Watts, A.L., Makol, B.A., Palumbo, I.M., De Los Reyes, A., Olino, T.M., Latzman, R.D., DeYoung, C.G., Wood, P.K., & Sher, K.J. (in press). How robust is the p-factor? Using multitrait-multimethod modeling to inform the meaning of general factors of psychopathology in youth. Clinical Psychological Science

Watts, A.L., Megahan, J.F., Conlin, W., Doss, M., & Sher, K.J. (in press).  Sociodemographic differences in youth alcohol sipping’s nomological network. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. [PREPRINT] [OSF]