Cara Maffini, PhD

Cara Maffini

Associate Professor, Child & Adolescent Development

Cara's research encompasses intersections of culture, mental health, and trauma particularly among adolescents and emerging adults with a focus on underserved populations. She has three main lines of research: (a) understanding psychosocial, cultural, and developmental protective and risk factors associated with trauma (e.g., violence, victimization, and campus safety); (b) examining refugee experiences and intergenerational transmission of trauma; and (c) examining bicultural and biracial experiences and identity development. Grounded in her training in counseling psychology, Cara's research serves to inform campus and community-based intervention and prevention programs.


  • Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, Indiana University
  • M.A., Psychology, Sacramento State University
  • B.A.S., Psychobiology and Dance, UC Davis

Recent Publications

  • West, M. T.,* & Maffini, C. S. (2019). ‘What are you?’ Conceptualizing the complexities of bicultural and biracial college student experiences. Journal of College Counseling, 22, 164-178. doi: 10.1002/jocc.12128

  • Linares, J.,* & Maffini, C. S. (2018). Voces de resistencia: Exploring Salvadoran students’ experiences and needs in higher education. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1538192718814129

  • Maffini, C. S. (2018). Campus safety experiences of Asian American and Asian international college students. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 9, 98-107. doi: 10.1037/aap0000087

  • Maffini, C. S., & Pham, A. (2016). Overcoming a legacy of conflict: The repercussive effects of stress and intergenerational transmission of trauma among Vietnamese Americans. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 25, 580-597. doi:10.1080/10926771.2016.1182955

  • Maffini, C. S., & Wong, Y. J. (2015). Feelings About Culture Scales: Development, factor structure, reliability, and validity. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21, 213-224. doi:10.1037/a0037647

Recent Presentations

  • Maffini, C. S. & Jennings, R. (2019, May). Addressing the pervasive legacy of transgenerational trauma. Educational Session presented at the annual California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (CALPCC) Conference, Northridge, CA.

  • Maffini, C. S., & Dillard, K. (2018, August). Psychological safety: Exploring racial group differences in violence and safety on college campuses. In C. S. Maffini’s (Chair), Culturally-responsive support for youth of color amidst traumatic experiences. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA), San Francisco, CA.

Areas of Research Interest

  • Adolescents / emerging adults
  • Bicultural
  • Campus safety
  • Communities of color
  • Intergenerational transmission of trauma
  • Psychological well-being / mental health
  • Refugees

Recommended Reading

Personality Playlist