Timothy Nelson

Associate Professor Psychology

Lab site: Pediatric Health Lab

Dr. Nelson received his Ph.D. in clinical child psychology from the University of Kansas in 2008 following a clinical internship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He subsequently completed his post-doctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology in the Stanford University School of Medicine before joining the UNL faculty in 2009. He has served as the Associate Director of Clinical Training at UNL since 2012.

Research Interests:

Dr. Nelson's research interests are in pediatric psychology. Specifically, his work focuses on the intersection between health and behavior with an emphasis on health promotion in children and adolescents. He is interested in understanding the factors that influence pediatric health and key health behaviors (e.g., physical activity, diet, sleep) as well as interventions to improve health through behavior change. In his current work, he is pursuing these interests by studying a variety of pediatric populations (e.g., children who are overweight, adolescents with chronic daily headache, children with asthma, youth in residential treatment, rural adolescents) using a variety of methods (e.g., electronic daily diaries, momentary assessment using smart phones, actigraphy, event-related potentials, medical record review, blood analysis, surveys). Below is a brief description of projects currently underway or in preparation in Dr. Nelson's lab.

Children's Sleep Project: Examining the relationship between sleep and diet using neuroimaging and behavioral methods. Collaboration with UNL Psychology faculty and local primary care provider.

Rural Latino Adolescent Health Project: Examining the health of rural Latino adolescents, focusing on obesity and type 2 diabetes risk, as well as health behaviors related to the prevention of these conditions. Collaboration with Psychology and Sociology faculty at UNL and the UNMC School of Nursing.

Pediatric Headache Project: Focusing on the impact of psychosocial factors on adherence to behavioral recommendations for the management of pediatric chronic daily headache. Collaboration with Cincinnati Children's Hospital faculty.

Residential Care and Health Project: Examining the physical health of youth in residential care settings and the interaction between physical and mental health. Collaboration with the Center for At-Risk Children's Services at UNL and the Boys Town National Research Institute.

Pediatric Health and Stress Project: Examining the relationship between psychosocial stressors and physical health behaviors and outcomes. Collaboration with local primary care provider.

Teaching Interests:

Dr. Nelson's teaching interests are in clinical and clinical child psychology. He teaches courses in clinical assessment, child psychopathology, abnormal psychology, and child treatment.

Recent Representative Publications
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles
  • Lundahl, A., Kidwell, K.M., & Nelson, T.D. (in press). Parental underestimates of child weight: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics.

  • Kidwell, K.M., Nelson, T.D., & Van Dyk, T.R. (in press). Parenting stress and child physical health among a low-income sample: The moderating role of child anxiety. Journal of Health Psychology.

  • Nelson, T.D., Kidwell, K.M., Armenta, B.E., Crockett, L.J., Carlo, G., & Whitbeck, L. B. (2013). Rural Latino health: Preliminary examination of health status and cultural correlates. Journal of Health Psychology. Online First published on March 21, 2013.

  • Lundahl, A., Nelson, T.D., Smith, T.R., & West, T. (2013). Psychosocial stressors and health behaviors: Examining sleep, sedentary behaviors, and physical activity in a low-income pediatric sample. Clinical Pediatrics, 52, 721-729.

  • Nelson, T.D., Van Dyk, T.R., Lundahl, A., Huefner, J., Thompson, R.W., & Epstein, M.H. (2013). Patterns and correlates of adolescent weight change in residential treatment. Children and Youth Services Review, 35, 960-965.

  • Nelson, T.D., Smith, T.R., Duppong Hurley, K., Epstein, M.H., Thompson, R.W., & Tonniges, T.F. (2013). Association between psychopathology and physical health problems among youth in residential treatment. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 21, 150-161.

  • Van Dyk, T.R., Nelson, T.D., Epstein, M.H., & Thompson, R.W. (2013). Physical health status as a predictor of treatment outcomes among youth in residential treatment. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Online First published on July 22, 2013.
  • Nelson, T.D., Smith, T.R., Pick, R., Epstein, M.H., Thompson, R.W., & Tonniges, T.F. (2013). Psychopathology as a predictor of medical service utilization for youth residential treatment. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 40, 36-45.
  • Nelson, T.D., Smith, T.R., Thompson, R.W., Epstein, M.H., Griffith, A.K., Duppong Hurley, K., & Tonniges, T.F. (2011). Prevalence of physical health problems among youth entering residential treatment. Pediatrics, 128, e1226-1232.

  • Nelson, T. D., Aylward, B. S., & Rausch, J. R. (2011). Dynamic p-technique for modeling patterns of data: Applications to pediatric psychology research. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36, 959-968.
  • Nelson, T. D., Jensen, C. D., & Steele, R. G. (2011). Weight-related criticism and self-perceptions among preadolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36, 106-115.
  • Slater, S., Nelson, T. D., Kabbouche, M. A., LeCates, S. L., Horn, P., Segers, A., Manning, P., Powers, S. W., & Hershey, A. D. (2011). A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, crossover, add-on study of CoEnzyme Q10 in the prevention of pediatric and adolescent migraine. Cephalalgia, 31, 897-905.
  • Vernberg, E. M., Nelson, T. D., Fonagy, P., & Twemlow, S. W. (2011). Victimization, aggression, and visits to school nurse for somatic complaints, illnesses, and physical injuries. Pediatrics, 127, 842-848.
  • Nelson, T. D., & Nelson, J. M. (2010). Evidence-based practice and the culture of adolescence. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 41, 305-311.
  • Aylward, B. S., Anderson, R. A., & Nelson, T. D. (2010). Approaches to handling missing data within developmental and behavioral pediatric research. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 31, 54-60.
  • Nelson, T. D., Benson, E. R., & Jensen, C. D. (2010). Negative attitudes toward physical activity: Measurement and role in predicting physical activity among preadolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35, 89-98.
  • Boles, R. E., Nelson, T. D., Chamberlin, L. A., Valenzuela, J. M., Sherman, S. N., Johnson, S. L., & Powers, S. W. (2010). Confirmatory factor analysis of the child feeding questionnaire among low-income African American families of preschool children. Appetite, 54, 402-405.
  • Steele, R. G., Legerski, J. P., Nelson, T. D., & Phipps, S. (2009). The anger expression scale for children: Initial validation among healthy children and children with cancer. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 34, 51-62.
  • Hershey, A. D., Powers, S. W., Nelson, T. D., Kabbouche, M. A., Winner, P., Linder, S., et al. (2009). Obesity in the pediatric headache population: A multi-center study. Headache, 49, 170-177.
  • Nelson, T. D., Aylward, B. S., & Steele, R. G. (2008). Structural equation modeling in pediatric psychology: Overview and review of applications. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 33, 679-687.
Books Or Chapters Published
  • Aylward, B.S., Cushing, C.C., & Nelson, T.D. (in press). The use of technology in pediatric psychology practice. In M.C. Roberts, B.S. Aylward, & Wu, Y.P. (Eds.), Clinical Practice of Pediatric Psychology: Cases and Service Delivery. New York: Guilford.

  • Nelson, T. D., & Aylward, B. S. (2010). Pediatric Feeding Disorders. In R. J. Shaw & D. R. DeMaso (Eds.), Textbook of pediatric psychosomatic medicine. (pp.173-184). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Nelson, T. D., & Steele, R. G. (2009). Evidence-based practice in pediatric psychology. In M. C. Roberts & R. G. Steele (Eds.), Handbook of pediatric psychology (4th ed.) (pp. 99-113). New York: Guilford.
  • Smith-Boydston, J. M., & Nelson, T. D. (2008). Adoption of evidence-based treatments in community settings: Obstacles and opportunities. In R.G. Steele, D. Elkin, & M.C. Roberts (Eds.), Handbook of evidence-based therapies for children and adolescents: Bridging science and practice (pp. 521-535). New York: Springer.
  • Steele, R. G., Nelson, J. M., & Nelson, T. D. (2008). Methodological issues in the evaluation of evidence-based therapies. In R.G. Steele, D. Elkin, & M.C. Roberts (Eds.), Handbook of evidence- based therapies for children and adolescents: Bridging science and practice (pp. 25-43). New York: Springer.
  • Steele, R.G., Nelson, T.D., & Jelalian, E. (2008). Child and adolescent obesity in context: Trends and epidemiology. In E. Jelalian & R. G. Steele (Eds.), Handbook of childhood and adolescent obesity (pp. 3-10). New York: Springer.