Full-Time Faculty

Kimberly O'Brien, PhD, LICSW

Assistant Professor

View Complete Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D. - Boston College School of Social Work
  • M.S.W. - Boston College School of Social Work
  • B.A. - Harvard University

Courses Taught

SW414 Assessment and Diagnosis

Scholarly and Practice Interests

Intervention development for adolescents with suicidal thoughts and behaviors and/or substance use problems.

Selected Publications

  • O'Brien, K., Becker, S.J., Spirito, A., Simon, V., & Prinstein, M.J. (2013). Differentiating adolescent suicide attempters from ideators: Examining the interaction between depression severity and alcohol use.Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, doi:10.1111/sltb.12050.
  • O'Brien, K. (2013). Rethinking adolescent inpatient psychiatric care: The importance of integrated interventions for suicidal youth with substance use problems.Social Work in Mental Health, 11(4), 349-359.
  • O'Brien, K. & Berzin, S.C. (2012). Examining the impact of psychiatric diagnosis and comorbidity on the medical lethality of adolescent suicide attempts.Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 42(4), 437-444.
  • Berzin, S.C., O'Brien, K., & Tohn, S. (2012). Working on What Works: A new model for collaboration.School Social Work Journal, 36(2), 15-26.
  • Berzin, S.C., O'Brien, K., Frey, A.J., Kelly, M.S., Alvarez, M.E., & Shaffer, G.L. (2011). Meeting the social and behavioral health needs of students: Rethinking the relationship between teachers and school social workers. Journal of School Health, 81(8), 493-501.
  • O'Brien, K., Berzin, S.C., Kelly, M.S., Frey, A.J., Alvarez, M.E., & Shaffer, G.L. (2011). School social work with students with mental health problems: Examining different practice approaches.Children & Schools, 33(2), 97-105.

Selected Presentations

  • Kivisto, K.L., Frazier, E., O'Brien, K., Wolff, J.C, & Spirito, A. Emotion regulation and alcohol use in adolescents referred to substance abuse treatment. Poster presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism conference, San Francisco, CA, June 23, 2013.
  • O'Brien, K., Kivisto, K.L, Frazier, E., Wolff, J.C, & Spirito, A. Examining the relationship between alcohol use and depression in adolescents referred to substance abuse treatment. Poster presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism conference, San Francisco, CA, June 23, 2013.
  • O'Brien, K., Liu, R.L., & Kleiman, E.M. Childhood abuse and the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide: Specificity of emotional abuse to thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science conference, Washington, DC, May 23, 2013.
  • O'Brien, K. & Liu, R.T. Differences in Psychiatric Diagnosis Between Non-Lethal and Highly Lethal Adolescent Suicide Attempters. Paper presented at the Society for Social Work and Research conference, San Diego, CA, January 2013.
  • O'Brien, K. Substance Abuse Comorbidity as a Risk Factor for Highly Lethal Suicide Attempts in Adolescents: Implications for Practice and Future Research. Paper presented at the American Association of Suicidology conference, Baltimore, MD, April 19, 2012.

Selected Grant Activity

  • Monti, Peter M. & O'Brien, K. Alcohol Treatment and Early Intervention Research. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
  • O'Brien, Kimberly. Testing the Feasibility and Acceptability of a Brief Alcohol Intervention for Adolescents Who Have Attempted Suicide. Research Excellence Award, Brown University, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. Funding Period: 8/12-present

Consulting and Professional Activity

  • Radcliffe Mentor Program, Harvard University, 9/06-present
  • Alumni Interviewer, Harvard University, 9/09-present
  • American Red Cross, 2 week deployment to Metarie, LA for Hurricane Katrina/Rita relief as mental health counselor, 1/06
  • American Red Cross, Massachusetts Bay Chapter, 11/05-present
  • Assistant Coach, Noble & Greenough Varsity Girls Hockey Team, 11/03-3/10


Awards and Honors

  • 2012 PhD Representative at University Commencement Ceremony at Boston College
  • 2011-2012 Straussner/Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addiction, Doctoral Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention
  • 2010-2011 Dr. Carolyn B. Thomas Fellowship for Doctoral Studies in Social Work
  • 2007-2010 Boston College Doctoral Fellowship in Social Work