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Ashley Watts

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Ashley Watts received her Masters of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Psychology from Emory University. Then, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri, where she was awarded a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from NIAAA (and is funded on that award through 2026).

Dr. Watts’ research aims to understand the causes and consequences of mental illness (psychopathology), with a specific focus on addiction. Her research aims: 1) to improve how we classify various forms of mental illness, 2) to identify causes of mental illness and addiction, 3) to understand what contributes to overlap among addiction and other forms of psychopathology, and 4) to characterize risk profiles for substance involvement across the lifespan. To inform these topics, Dr. Watts draws on methods from a wide array of disciplines, including developmental and adult psychopathology, behavioral and molecular genetics, quantitative modeling, psychometrics, and psychiatric epidemiology.

Dr. Watts is actively recruiting a postdoctoral research fellow, as of January 2024. If you are interested in working with The Mechanisms of Addiction and Psychopathology lab, please email Dr. Watts.

Representative Publications

Watts, A.L., Boness, C.L., Loeffelman, J.E., Steinley, D., & Sher, K.J. (2021). Does crude measurement contribute to observed unidimensionality of psychological constructs? A demonstration with DSM-5 alcohol use disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 130, 512-524[PREPRINT] [OPEN MATERIALS]

Boness, C.L., Watts, A.L., Moeller, K.N., & Sher, K.J. (2021). The Etiologic, Theory-based, Ontogenetic Hierarchical (ETOH) framework of Alcohol Use Disorder: A translational systematicreview of reviews. Psychological Bulletin, 147, 1075-1123. [PREPRINT] [PDF]

* Watts, A.L., * Latzman, R.D., Boness, C.L., Kotov, R., Keyser-Marcus, L., DeYoung, C.G., … & Ramey, T. (in press). New approaches to deep phenotyping in addictions. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. [PREPRINT] * indicates shared first authorship

Watts, A.L., Watson, D., Heath, A.C., & Sher, K.J. (under review). Alcohol use disorder criteria exhibit different comorbidity patterns. [OSF]

Watts, A.L., Lane, S.P., Bonifay, W., Steinley, D., & Meyer, F.A.C. (2020). Building theories on top of, and not independent of, statistical models: The case of the p-factor. Psychological Inquiry, 31, 310-320. [PREPRINT] [PDF]

Watts, A.L., Poore, H.E., & Waldman, I.D. (2019). Riskier tests of the validity of the bifactor model of psychopathology. Clinical Psychological Science, 7, 1285-1303. [PDF]


2022 Rising Star Award, Association for Psychological Science
2020 Enoch Gordis Award, Research Society on Alcoholism
Outstanding Postdoctoral Research Award, University of Missouri
2017 Steven Nowicki Teaching Award, Emory University
Dean’s Teaching Fellowship, Emory University Laney Graduate School
2016 Dissertation Research Award, American Psychological Association
2014 Alfred B. Heilbrun Research Award, Emory University
2013 Distinguished Contribution, Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology
2011 Judge Horace B. Russell Prize, University of Georgia