Department of Psychology

Stefanie Vuotto, Ph.D.

Stefanie Vuotto

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., Fordham University
M.A., Columbia University
B.S., Fordham University

Areas of Interest

  • Risk and resilience
  • Psychosocial late effects of childhood cancer
  • Measurement and predictors of human trafficking

Childhood Cancer
Advances in the management of childhood cancer have resulted in an increasing number of childhood cancer survivors both nationally and internationally. Many survivors have a high risk of adverse physical, cognitive, and psychological outcomes attributable to cancer diagnosis and cancer-directed therapy. Research that adequately assesses survivors’ physical and psychological health in the years following their cancer diagnosis has only recently been possible with the availability of large, longitudinal cohort studies such as the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS; Robison et al., 2002) and the St. Jude Lifetime Cohort (SJLIFE; Hudson et al., 2011), which follow individuals from their cancer diagnosis throughout the lifespan. Using these databases, Dr. Vuotto’s research examines psychological, psychiatric, neurocognitive, quality of life, social attainment and functional independence outcomes in pediatric cancer survivors of a wide range of ages, with diverse person-related or cancer-related exposures.

Some survivors have healthy psychosocial outcomes, including positive adjustment. Dr. Vuotto’s lab examines predictors of psychological adjustment in adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors. Her findings have indicated that survivors’ attribution of positive personal meaning to their narrated low points and turning points is a critical predictor of positive psychological adjustment (Vuotto & Procidano, 2013). These results suggest that the ways in which young-adult survivors construct their most challenging and self-defining memories of their cancer experience are critical to developing a healthy psychological response in the long-term.

Given cancer survivors’ compromised threshold for health complications, the implications of poor health behaviors can be devastating for this population. Dr. Vuotto has developed and tested a causal path model examining the main and mediating effects of interpersonal support, nonsupport, personal agency, avoidance, depressive symptoms, and self-efficacy on health behaviors using structural equation modeling. Results from this research underscore the importance of screening at-risk survivors, and provision of treatment for those engaging in avoidant coping strategies.

Human Trafficking
Similar to the experience of receiving a life-threatening diagnosis, human trafficking is not a discrete event marked by a single traumatic stressor; it spans time and has lasting effects on a person’s development. Considered by many to be a form of modern-day slavery, human trafficking frequently occurs within national borders among homeless and runaway youth populations. In collaboration with Covenant House New York, Dr. Vuotto’s research in this area has helped develop and validate a measure of human trafficking victimization for runaway and homeless youth, and obtain a prevalence estimate of human trafficking victimization among runaway and homeless youth in New York City.


  • PSYC 103 Introduction to Psychology I
  • PSYC 205 Statistics
  • PSYC 320 Adulthood and Aging
  • PSYC 345 Child Psychology
  • PSYC 346 Adolescent Psychology
  • PSYC 446 Developmental Psychopathology

Selected Publications
Brinkman, T.M., Lown. A.E., Li, C., Olsson, I., Marchak, J., Stuber, M.L., Vuotto, S., Srivastava, D.K., Nathan, P.C., Leisenring, W., Armstrong, G.T., Robison, L.L., Krull, K.R. (2019). Alcohol consumption behaviors and neurocognitive dysfunction and emotional distress in adult survivors of childhood cancer: A report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Addiction, 114(2), 226- 235.

Vuotto, S.C.., Ojha, R.P., Li, C., Kimberg, C., Klosky, J., Krull, K.R., Srivastava, D.K., Robison, L., Hudson, M., Brinkman, T. (2017). The role of body image dissatisfaction in the association between treatment-related scarring or disfigurement and psychological distress in adult survivors of childhood cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 0:1–7.

Vuotto, S., Li, C., Oeffinger, K., Green, D., Patel, S., Srivastava, D., Stovall, M., Ness, K., Armstrong, G., Robison, L., Krull, K. & Brinkman, T. (2017). Impact of Chronic Disease on Psychological Distress in Adult Survivors in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Cancer, 123(3), 521-528.

Brinkman, T.B., Li, C., Vannatta, K., Gilleland-Marchak, J., Lai, J., Prasad, P.K., Kimberg, C., Vuotto, S., Di, C., Srivastava, D., Robison, L.L., Armstrong, G.T., Krull, K. (2016). Behavioral, social and emotional symptom comorbidities in adolescent survivors of childhood cancer: A report from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 34(28), 3417-2425.

Vuotto, S.C., Procidano, M.E. & Annunziato, R.A. (2015). Understanding the health behaviors of young-adult survivors of childhood cancer: Preliminary analysis and model development. Children, 2(2), 174-190.

Vuotto, S.C., Perez, K.M., Krull, K.R. & Brinkman, T.M. (2015). A narrative review of the occurrence of posttraumatic stress responses in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. Clinical Oncology in Adolescents and Young Adults, 5, 19-33.

Vuotto, S. & Procidano, M. E.  (2013). Young-Adult Cancer Survivors’ Adjustment is Predicted by Personal Meaning of Self-Defining Life Events, and Interpersonal and Spiritual Support and Nonsupport.  In K. Moore, K. Kaniasty, P. Buchwald & A. Sese (Eds.) Stress and Anxiety: Applications to Health and Well-Being, Work Stressors, and Assessment.  Berlin, Germany:  Logos Verlag.

Vuotto, S. & Annunziato, R. (2013).  Caring For Yourself Emotionally When You Have a Painful or Physically Limiting Condition. Arthritis Self-Management Magazine. Boone, IA.

Procidano, M. E., & Vuotto, S.  (2013). Toward enhancing health behaviors in survivors of juvenile cancer: Utility of the Life-Tasks Model.  In C. Mohiyeddini & L. Myers (Eds.).  Handbook of personality, emotions, and health behavior. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Bigelsen, J. & Vuotto, S. (May 2013). Homelessness, Survival Sex and Human Trafficking: Experienced by the Youth of Covenant House New York.