Alex Burt 11 2017
  • Building: Psychology
  • Office: 107D
  • Phone: (517) 432-5602

S. Alexandra Burt vita


PhD, Clinical Psychology/Behavioral Genetics, University of Minnesota, 2004
MA, Clinical Psychology/Behavioral Genetics, University of Minnesota, 2001
BS, Psychology & History, Emory University, 1996

Research Statement

Dr. Burt has three primary research interests.  The first focuses on understanding the etiology of aggressive and rule-breaking behaviors (collectively referred to as antisocial behaviors) across the lifespan.  Her particular focus is on the role of genotype-environment interplay (GxE), or the ways in which environmental contexts/experiences (e.g., neighborhood disadvantage, environmental toxicants) may turn genes for antisocial behavior on or off. She is equally interested in youth with resilient outcomes - those with adaptive outcomes despite sustained exposure to a clear environmental pathogen.  

A second, and related, line of research extends the above GxE on antisocial and resilience outcomes work to additionally incorporate neural networks, with a particular focus on understanding the 'biological embedding of disadvantage'. Recently funded grants from the NIMH and the NICHD will examine our cutting-edge twin sample from the Michigan State University Twin Registry (MSUTR), with the goals of 1) identifying the neural pathways affected by neighborhood disadvantage, and 2) illuminating the specific chemical (i.e., toxicant exposures) and non-chemical factors (i.e., exposure to community violence, harsh parenting) through which disadvantage alters the developing brain, as well as those that protect the brain from the effects of disadvantage (i.e., protective neighborhood social processes, prosocial parenting).

Her third, and most recent, line of research focuses on the manifestation and etiology of digital aggression (or cyber-aggression), a seemingly brand new phenomenon about which we know very little. One consequence of this newness is that there are very few well-validated measures of digital aggression. She is thus developing a novel, laboratory-based assessment of digital aggression, an advance that will allow for both experimental and correlational studies of digital aggression.

Related Programs

Related Links

Selected Publications

  • Burt, S.A., Klump, K.L., Gorman-Smith, D., & Neiderhiser, J.M.
    Neighborhood disadvantage alters the origins of children’s non-aggressive conduct problems
    2016, Clinical Psychological Science
  • Burt, S.A., Slawinski, B.L., & Klump, K.L.
    Are there sex differences in the etiology of youth antisocial behavior?
    2018, Journal of Abnormal Psychology,, 127:68-78
  • Burt S.A. & Alhabash, S.A
    Illuminating the nomological network of digital aggression: Results from two studies.
    inPress, Aggressive Behavior
  • Burt, S.A., Pearson, A.L., Rzotkiewicz, A., Klump, K.L., & Neiderhiser, J.M.
    It really does take a village: The role of neighbors in the etiology of non-aggressive rule-breaking.
    inPress, Development & Psychopathology
  • Burt, S.A.
    How do we optimally conceptualize the heterogeneity within antisocial behavior? An argument for aggressive versus non-aggressive behavioral dimensions
    2012, Clinical Psychology Review, 32:263-279
  • Hyde, L.W., Burt, S.A., Shaw, D.S., Donnellan, M.B., & Forbes, E.M.
    Early starting, aggressive, and/or callous-unemotional? Examining the overlap and predictive utility of antisocial behavior subtypes
    2015, Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124:329-342
  • Burt, S.A.
    Rethinking environmental contributions to child and adolescent psychopathology: A meta-analysis of shared environmental influences
    2009, Psychological Bulletin, 135:608-637
  • Burt, S. A. & Klump, K.L.
    The Michigan State University Twin Registry: An update
    2013, Twin Research and Human Genetics, 16:344-350
  • Burt, S.A., Donnellan, M.B., Slawinski, B.L, & Klump, K.L.
    The phenomenology of non-aggressive antisocial behavior during childhood (in press)
    2016, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
  • Burt, S.A., Klump, K.L., Kashy, D.A., Gorman-Smith, D., & Neiderhiser, J.M.
    Neighborhood as a predictor of non-aggressive, but not aggressive, antisocial behaviors in adulthood
    2015, Psychological Medicine, 45:2897-2907
  • Burt, S.A., Klahr, A.M., & Klump, K.L.
    Do non-shared environmental influences persist over time? An examination of days and minutes
    2015, Behavior Genetics, 45:24-34
  • Burt, S.A. & Donnellan, M.B.
    Development and validation of the Sub-Types of Antisocial Behavior questionnaire (STAB)
    2009, Aggressive Behavior, 35:376-398
  • Burt, S.A., Donnellan, M.B., McGue, M., & Iacono, W.G.
    Age-of-onset or behavioral sub-types? A prospective comparison of two approaches to characterizing the heterogeneity within antisocial behavior
    2011, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39:633-644
  • Burt, S.A., Donnellan, B.D., & Tackett, J.L.
    Should social aggression be considered “antisocial”?
    2012, Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 34:153-163
  • Burt, S.A. & Klump, K.L.
    Parent-child conflict as an etiological moderator of childhood conduct problems: An example of a ‘bioecological’ GxE
    2014, Psychological Medicine, 44:165-176
  • Burt, S.A.
    The shared environment as a key source of variability in child and adolescent psychiatry
    2014, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55:304-312
  • Klahr, A.M. & Burt, S.A.
    Elucidating the etiology of individual differences in parenting: A meta-analysis of behavioral genetic research
    2014, Psychological Bulletin, 140:544-586
  • Klahr, A.M., Thomas, K.M., Hopwood, C.J., Klump, K.L., & Burt, S.A.
    Evocative gene-environment correlation in the mother-child relationship: A twin study of interpersonal processes
    2013, Development & Psychopathology, 25:105-118
  • Burt, S.A., Klahr, A.M., Neale, M.C., & Klump, K.L.
    Maternal warmth and directiveness jointly moderate the etiology of childhood conduct problems.
    2013, Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 54:1030-1037
  • Burt, S.A., Donnellan, M.B., Humbad, M.N., McGue, M., & Iacono, W.G.
    Does marriage inhibit antisocial behavior? An examination of selection versus causation via a longitudinal twin design
    2010, Archives of General Psychiatry, 67:1309-1315
  • Burt, S.A. & Donnellan, M.B.
    Evidence that the Sub-Types of Antisocial Behavior questionnaire (STAB) predicts momentary reports of acting-out behaviors
    2010, Personality and Individual Differences, 48:917-920
  • Burt, S.A. & Neiderhiser, J.M.
    Aggressive versus non-aggressive antisocial behavior: Distinctive etiological moderation by age
    2009, Developmental Psychology, 45:1164-1176
  • Burt, S.A.
    Are there meaningful etiological differences within antisocial behavior? Results of a meta-analysis
    2009, Clinical Psychology Review, 29:163-178
  • more publications