Kristen Abraham

Associate Professor of Psychology
Director of Master of Arts Program in Clinical Psychology

Kristen Abraham
Contact Info:
Campus: McNichols Campus
Building: Reno Hall
Room: 210
Phone: 313-578-0445
Kristen Abraham


  • Ph.D., Bowling Green State University
  • M.A., Bowling Green State University
  • B.A., Albion College


Kristen M. Abraham earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Bowling Green State University where she received specialized training in community psychology. Abraham joined University of Detroit Mercy in 2013 after completing three years of postdoctoral clinical psychology and health services research training in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In 2017 she received the Detroit Mercy Faculty Achievement Award.

Abraham teaches graduate and undergraduate courses and is a licensed psychologist with clinical interests in psychosocial rehabilitation, serious mental illness (schizophrenia and bipolar disorders), substance use disorders and third generation behavior therapies. Her research is focused on using socioecological approaches to understand how social, interpersonal, and healthcare systems influence and can be modified to improve the lives of people with serious mental illness and their family members.

Abraham's current research projects include studies of public mental health systems, health and healthcare for people with serious mental illness, and the employment experiences of peer support specialists. These studies are carried out in the context of the Clinical-Community Psychology Research Group—a team of graduate and undergraduate students who are interested in gaining research experience related to people with serious mental illness, health and healthcare, clinical and community psychology. She maintains active research collaborations with investigators at other universities and in the VHA.

Within the Department of Psychology at University of Detroit Mercy, Abraham serves as director of the Master of Arts program in clinical psychology and is a member of the Clinical Training Committee for the doctoral program in clinical psychology. She serves the broader university as the Social Science Liaison to the ReBUILDetroit Program in the College of Engineering and Science and contributes to the Master of Community Development Program in the School of Architecture. Outside of the University, Abraham maintains an appointment as a clinician investigator at the VHA Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center (SMITREC) where she leads the national evaluation for a program entitled Re-Engaging Veterans with Serious Mental Illness in Treatment (SMI Re-Engage).


    Internships / Training

    Clinical Psychology, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

    Post Doctoral Fellowships

    • VA Advanced Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship; VA Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center and University of Michigan, Department of Psychiatry
    • VA Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship in Addictions, John D. Dingell Detroit VA

    Courses Taught at University of Detroit Mercy

    • Cognitive Therapy
    • Psychopathology
    • Introduction to Psychology
    • Health Disparities Research
    • Abnormal Psychology


    Burton, C. Z., Abraham, K. M., Grindle, C. M., Visnic, S., Hack, S. M., McCarthy, J. F., Bowersox, N. W. (2018). Outreach to Veterans with serious mental illness who are lost to care: Predictors of outreach contact. Psychological Services, 15, 40-44.

    Abraham, K. M., Yosef, M., Resnick, S. G., & Zivin, K. (2017). Competitive employment outcomes among Veterans in VHA therapeutic and supported employment services programs. Psychiatric Services, 68, 938-946.

    Abraham, K. M., Nelson, C. B., Ganoczy, D., Zivin, K., Brandfon, S., Walters, H., Cohen, J. L., & Valenstein, M. (2016). Psychometric analysis of the Mental Health Recovery Measure (MHRM) in a sample of veterans with depression. Psychological Services, 13, 193-201.

    Abraham, K. M., Ganoczy, D., Yosef, M., Resnick, S. G., & Zivin, K. (2014). Receipt of employment services among VA users with psychiatric diagnoses. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 51, 401-414.

    Kilbourne, A. M., Almirall, D. A., Goodrich, D. E., Lai, Z., Abraham, K. M., Nord, K. M., Bowersox, N. (2014). Enhancing outreach for persons with serious mental illness: 12-month results from a cluster randomized trial of an adaptive implementation strategy. Implementation Science, 9: 778.

    Abraham, K. M., Miller, C. J., Birgenheir, D. G., Lai, Z., & Kilbourne, A. M. (2014). Self-efficacy and quality of life among consumers with bipolar disorder. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 202, 583-588.

    Abraham, K. M., & Stein, C. H. (2013). When mom has a mental illness: Role reversal and psychosocial adjustment among emerging adults. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69, 600-615.

    Abraham, K. M., & Stein, C. H. (2010). Staying connected: Young adults’ felt obligation toward parents with and without mental illness. Journal of Family Psychology, 24, 125-134.



    Abraham, K. M. (2015, August). Employment Outcomes of VA Compensated Work Therapy: Fiscal Years 2006—2010. In K. M. Abraham & K. Zivin (co-Chairs), Veterans with Mental Health Conditions and Unemployment---Across the Continuum. Symposium conducted at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Abraham, K. M., Sata, M. J., Lewis, S. B., Nantais, C. A. F., Flinn, R. E., & Hodge, K. (2015, June). Peer support specialists in the workplace: An application of the empowerment process model. Poster presented at the 15th Biennial Conference for the Society for Community Research and Action, Lowell, MA.



    Social Determinants of Primary Care Utilization among Urban Community Mental Health Center Patients with Serious Mental Illness; National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD); (2015-2018); This mixed methods study funded by an R15 Academic Research Enhancement Award is designed to examine whether the following factors contribute to primary care utilization among people with serious mental illness in Detroit: health insurance literacy, health literacy, experiences of racism, and experiences of stigma related to mental illness.

    Peer Support Specialists in the Workplace: Empowerment, Mentorship, and Job Satisfaction; University of Detroit Mercy Professors Union; (2013-2015); This mixed methods study funded by two Internal Faculty Research Awards are designed to assess peer support specialists experiences of empowerment in the workplace. The study also examines if a mentoring supervisory style directly contributes to job satisfaction and less burnout and whether role clarity and psychological empowerment mediate this link.


    Organizations / Affiliations

    • Consulting Editor, Teaching of Psychology (2015 - 2017)
    • Editorial Board Member, Psychological Services (2017 - present)
    • Editorial Board Member, Journal of Family Theory and Review (2017 - present)