Peter L. Sheras


  • Ph.D., Princeton University, 1973
  • M.A., Princeton University, 1972
  • B.A., Yale University, 1970

I have been interested in the lives of adolescents and their families for as long as I can remember. Over the many years I have been at UVA I have worked with teenagers as clinical populations, consulted with parents of teens and treated their families, and have conducted research on parenting, couple and family relationships and the impact of stress and violence. I have worked in the area of crisis intervention in schools, in families and in communities. It is my belief that research and clinical practice go hand in hand to create a world for children and families where they can feel safe, loved and nurtured. The University of Virginia, the Department of Human Services, and the Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology have been the perfect place for me to work and teach and I am honored to have spent much of my career here.

Research Interests

My current research is focused in a few projects.

The Virginia Youth Violence Project has provided a place for us to conduct research on bullying, school violence and school climate. In partnership with the state department of juvenile justice and the department of education we have been able to collect data examining factor which influence students perceptions of safety and support.

For over ten years I have researched the stresses experienced by parents trying the raise adolescent children. With the development of the Stress Index for Parents of Adolescent (SIPA) we have been able to examine factors which create the experience of stress in parents and how such experiences may be ameliorated.

We have developed a model for treating couples based on the examination of four major task in healthy relationships. We currently have been developing instrumentation to measure these factors and measurements of effective treatment for people in relationships.

Research Projects

Adolescent Parenting Stress Project (SIPA)

Also known as the SIPA Project, the Adolescent Parenting Stress Project is intended to examine the stresses experienced by parents with children ages 11-19. Our primary task for the past three years has been the development and testing of the Stress Index for Parents of Adolescents (SIPA). This instrument (1998, PAR Publishers) explores the four-dimensional stresses experienced by parents. It measures parents' perceived stress from their adolescent child, their experience of parenting, the relationship between the child and themselves, and outside life stressors. The project is now using this measure to explore the relationships between parenting stress and a variety of variables such as gender, social support, and clinical experiences and outcomes. Contact Peter Sheras for more information.

Relationship Potential Research Project

This project is developing instruments to measure the major components of healthy, well-functioning relationships.  Studies of normal and dysfunctional couples are planned.