image of Stephen Balsis

Steve Balsis, Ph.D.


College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Coburn 422


Clinical Psychology; Mental Health and Well Being

Research Interests

Alzheimer's disease, TBI, Spine surgery, Mental Health and Well Being


  • Ph.D.: Clinical Psychology & Aging, (2008), Washington University in St. Louis - St. Louis, MO
    Dissertation/Thesis Title:Assessment of personality disorders in older adults
  • MA: Clinical Psychology & Aging, (2003), Washington University in St. Louis - St. Louis, MO
  • BA: Psychology & Gerontology, (1999), College of the Holy Cross - Worcester, MA


Steve Balsis, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor of Psychology at University of Massachusetts Lowell. He has been conducting research and teaching about mental health and wellness for more than 20 years. In that time, he’s published many journal articles, presented at many national and international professional meetings, taught thousands of students, and received millions of dollars in grant support from national, public, and private entities. His most recent research focuses on improving the lives of individuals with functional limitations. Currently, his work is funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and Medtronic. His research with NINDS aims to improve the assessment of functional impairment due to brain injury. His research with NSF aims to create wearable devices that improve arm motor function for people with relevant motor limitations. His work with Medtronic is aimed to introduce new professionals to the field of orthopaedics. In his spare time, he serves on the board of directors for Trails and Waterways, a new non-profit organization that’s beginning to connect people of all abilities, including those with functional limitations, to the natural beauty in New England. He’s committed to training the next generation of professionals and is especially excited to work with promising students who are eager and willing to learn about creating scholarship.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • Rising Star, Association for Psychological Science
  • Montague Scholar Teaching Award, Texas A&M University
  • Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence, Texas A&M University
  • Summer Student Research Award (2018)
  • Montague Scholar (2011), Scholarship/Research - College of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University
  • Rising Star (2011) - Association for Psychological Science
  • Texas A&M University (2010), Teaching - Student Recognition Award for Teaching Excellence
  • Student Led Award for Teaching Excellence (2009), Teaching - Texas A&M University
  • Student Paper Award (2005), Scholarship/Research - American Psychological Association
  • Student Travel Award (2002), Scholarship/Research - American Psychological Association
  • Dean’s List (1999) - College of the Holy Cross
  • Leonard Award (1999) - College of the Holy Cross
  • Sleep and Chronobiology Summer Behavioral Science Research Assistant Award (1998), Scholarship/Research - Brown University
  • Sleep and Chronobiology Summer Behavioral Science Research Assistant Award (1997), Scholarship/Research - Brown University
  • Bausch and Lomb Medal for Excellence in Science (1995)
  • Rensselaer Medal for Excellence in Math and Science (1995)

Selected Publications

  • Nelson, L.D., Magnus, B.E., Tempkin, N.R., Dikmen, S., & Balsis, S. (2021). Functional status examination yields higher measurement precision than the Glasgow Outcome Scale-Extended after moderate-to-severe traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 3288-3294.
  • Fuller, J.T., Choudhury, T.K., D.A., Lowe, & Balsis, S. (2020). Hallucinations and delusions signal Alzheimer’s associated cognitive dysfunction more strongly compared to other neuropsychiatric symptoms. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B 75, 1894-1904.
  • Balsis, S., Choudhury, T., Geraci, L., Benge, J.F., & Patrick, C.J. (2018). Alzheimer’s disease assessment: A review and illustrations focusing on item response theory techniques. Assessment, 25, 360-373.
  • Balsis, S., Loehl-Conger, E., Busch, A.J., Ungredda, T., & Oltmanns, T.F. (2018). Self and informant report across the borderline personality disorder spectrum. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 9, 429-436.
  • Balsis, S., Geraci, L., Benge, J., Lowe, D., Choudhury, T., Tirso, R., Doody, R. (2018). Statistical model of dynamic markers of the Alzheimer’s pathological cascade. Journals of Gerontology, Series B Psychological Sciences,73 964-973.
  • Balsis, S., Ruchensky, J.R., Busch, A.J. (2017). Item response theory applications in personality disorder research. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment,8, 298-308.
  • Balsis, S., Busch, A.J., Wilfong, K.M., Newman, J.W., Edens, J.F. (2017). A Statistical Consideration Regarding the Threshold of the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised. Journal of Personality Assessment,99(5) 494-502.
  • Benge, J.F., Balsis, S., Madeka, T., Uhlman, C., Lantrip, C., Soileau, M.J. (2017). Factor structure of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment items in a sample with early Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders,41 104-108.
  • Perkins, E.R., Yancey, J.R., Drislane, L.E., Venables, N.C., Balsis, S., Patrick, C.J. (2017). Methodological issues in the use of individual brain measures to index trait liabilities: The example of noise-probe P3. International Journal of Psychophysiology,111 145-155.
  • Tackett, J.L., Herzhoff, K., Balsis, S., Cooper, L. (2016). Toward a Unifying Perspective on Personality Pathology Across the Life Span (pp. 1-40). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Busch, A.J., Balsis, S., Morey, L.C., Oltmanns, T.F. (2016). Gender Differences in Borderline Personality Disorder Features in an Epidemiological Sample of Adults Age 55–64: Self Versus Informant Report. Journal of Personality Disorders,30(3) 419-432.
  • Kelley, S.E., Balsis, S., Smith, S.T., Edens, J.F., Douglas, K.S., Poythress, N.G. (2016). A Dimensional Comparison of a Self-Report and a Structured Interview Measure of Conduct Disorder. Journal of Personality Disorders,30(2) 232-241.
  • Benge, J.F., Balsis, S. (2016). Informant Perceptions of the Cause of Activities of Daily Living Difficulties in Parkinson’s Disease. The Clinical Neuropsychologist,30(1) 82-94.
  • Lowe, D.A., Balsis, S., Benge, J.F., Doody, R.S. (2015). Adding delayed recall to the ADAS-cog improves measurement precision in mild Alzheimer’s disease: Implications for predicting instrumental activities of daily living. Psychological Assessment,27(4) 1234-1240.
  • Geraci, L., Balsis, S., Busch, A.J. (2015). Gender and the h index in psychology. Scientometrics,105 2023-2034.
  • Balsis, S. (2015). Personality Assessment (pp. 1-5). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Balderrama-Durbin, C., Snyder, D.K., Balsis, S. (2015). Tailoring assessment of relationship distress using the Marital Satisfaction Inventory—Brief Form. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice,4(3) 127-135.
  • Balsis, S., Cooper, L.D., Oltmanns, T.F. (2015). Are Informant Reports of Personality More Internally Consistent Than Self Reports of Personality? Assessment,22(4) 399-404.
  • Houghton, D.C., Balsis, S., Stein, D.J., Compton, S.N., Twohig, M.P., Saunders, S.M., Franklin, M.E., Neal-Barnett, A.M., Woods, D.W. (2015). Examining DSM criteria for trichotillomania in a dimensional framework: implications for DSM-5 and diagnostic practice. Comprehensive Psychiatry,60 9-16.
  • Lowe, D.A., Balsis, S., Hughes, M.L., Shine, H.E., Carpenter, B.D. (2015). Misconceptions of Alzheimer’s Disease. Clinical Gerontologist,38(2) 149-156.
  • Hughes, M.L., Lowe, D.A., Shine, H.E., Carpenter, B.D., Balsis, S. (2015). Using the Alzheimer’s Association Web Site to Improve Knowledge of Alzheimer’s Disease in Health Care Providers. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementiasr,30(1) 98-100.
  • Gleason, M.E., Weinstein, Y., Balsis, S., Oltmanns, T.F. (2014). The Enduring Impact of Maladaptive Personality Traits on Relationship Quality and Health in Later Life. Journal of Personality,82(6) 493-501.
  • Fissette, C., Snyder, D., Balderrama-Durbin, C., Balsis, S., Sigrang, J., Talcott, G., Tatum, J., Baker, M., Cassidy, D., Sonnek, S., Heyman, R., Smith Slep, A. (2014). Assessing posttraumatic stress in military service members: improving efficiency and accuracy. Psychological Assessment,26 1-7.
  • Balsis, S., Lowe, D.A. (2014). A Fresh Perspective Revealed by Powerful Trends in Alzheimer's Disease Research. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease,43(1) 289-290.
  • Cooper, L.D., Balsis, S., Oltmanns, T.F. (2014). Aging: Empirical Contribution: A Longitudinal Analysis of Personality Disorder Dimensions and Personality Traits in a Community Sample of Older Adults: Perspectives From Selves and Informants. Journal of Personality Disorders,28(1) 151-165.
  • Eaton, N.R., Keyes, K.M., Krueger, R.F., Balsis, S., Skodol, A.E., Markon, K.E., Grant, B.F., Hasin, D.S. (2012). An invariant dimensional liability model of gender differences in mental disorder prevalence: Evidence from a national sample. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,121(1) 282-288.
  • Lowe, D.A., Balsis, S., Miller, T.M., Benge, J.F., Doody, R.S. (2012). Greater Precision when Measuring Dementia Severity: Establishing Item Parameters for the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders,34(2) 128-134.
  • Balsis, S., Lowe, D.A., Benge, J.F. (2012). Shifts in measuring dementia. Neurodegenerative Disease Management,2(5) 443-445.
  • Cooper, L.D., Balsis, S., Oltmanns, T.F. (2012). Self-and informant-reported perspectives on symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment,3(2) 140-154.
  • Balsis, S., Miller, T.M., Benge, J.F., Doody, R.S. (2011). Dementia Staging across Three Different Methods. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders,31(5) 328-333.
  • Miller, T.M., Balsis, S., Lowe, D.A., Benge, J.F., Doody, R.S. (2011). Item Response Theory Reveals Variability of Functional Impairment within Clinical Dementia Rating Scale Stages. Dementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders,32(5) 362-366.
  • Eskander, M.S., Aubin, M.E., Drew, J.M., Eskander, J.P., Balsis, S., Eck, J., Lapinsky, A.S., Connolly, P.J. (2011). Is There a Difference Between Simultaneous or Staged Decompressions for Combined Cervical and Lumbar Stenosis? Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques,24(6) 409-413.
  • Oltmanns, T.F., Balsis, S. (2011). Personality Disorders in Later Life: Questions About the Measurement, Course, and Impact of Disorders. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology,7, 321-349.
  • Carpenter, B.D., Zoller, S.M., Balsis, S., Otilingam, P.G., Gatz, M. (2011). Demographic and Contextual Factors Related to Knowledge About Alzheimer’s Disease. American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease & Other Dementiasr,26(2) 121-126.
  • Balsis, S., Lowmaster, S., Cooper, L.D., Benge, J.F. (2011). Personality Disorder Diagnostic Thresholds Correspond to Different Levels of Latent Pathology. Journal of Personality Disorders,25(1) 115-127.
  • Oltmanns, T.F., Balsis, S. (2010). Assessment of Personality Disorders in Older Adults (pp. 101-122). Elsevier
  • Cooper, L.D., Balsis, S., Zimmerman, M. (2010). Challenges associated with a polythetic diagnostic system: Criteria combinations in the personality disorders. Journal of Abnormal Psychology,119(4) 886-895.
  • Carpenter, B., Balsis, S. (2010). Pets, pies, and videotape: In-home videotaping of older adults and their adult children (pp. 239-247). Guilford
  • Benge, J.F., Balsis, S., Massman, P.J., Havins, W., Doody, R.S. (2010). Beyond “A&OX3”: What Temporal and Spatial Orientation Questions Tell Clinicians about Cognitive Dysfunction in Alzheimer's Disease. Clinical Gerontologist,34(1) 45-56.
  • Balsis, S. (2010). New Professionals in Gero-Assessment: Moving the Field Forward Using Classic and Novel Approaches. Clinical Gerontologist,34(1) 1-3.
  • Balsis, S., Eaton, N.R., Cooper, L.D., Oltmanns, T.F. (2010). The Presentation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in an Octogenarian: Converging Evidence from Multiple Sources. Clinical Gerontologist,34(1) 71-87.
  • Hambrick, J.P., Rodebaugh, T.L., Balsis, S., Woods, C.M., Mendez, J.L., Heimberg, R.G. (2010). Cross-Ethnic Measurement Equivalence of Measures of Depression, Social Anxiety, and Worry. Assessment,17(2) 155-171.
  • Tackett, J., Balsis, S., Oltmanns, T., Krueger, R. (2009). A trait perspective on personality pathology across the lifespan. Development and Psychopathology,21 687-713.
  • Balsis, S., Segal, D.L., Donahue, C. (2009). Revising the personality disorder diagnostic criteria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–Fifth Edition (DSM-V): Consider the later life context. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,79(4) 452-460.
  • Cooper, L.D., Balsis, S. (2009). When less is more: How fewer diagnostic criteria can indicate greater severity. Psychological Assessment,21(3) 285-293.
  • Carpenter, B.D., Balsis, S., Otilingam, P.G., Hanson, P.K., Gatz, M. (2009). The Alzheimer's Disease Knowledge Scale: Development and Psychometric Properties. The Gerontologist,49(2) 236-247.
  • Balsis, S., Cully, J.A. (2008). Comparing depression diagnostic symptoms across younger and older adults. Aging & Mental Health,12(6) 800-806.
  • Balsis, S., Gleason, M., Woods, C., Oltmanns, T. (2007). Age group bias in DSM-IV personality disorder criteria: An item response theory analysis (22: pp. 171-185). Psychology and Aging
  • Balsis, S., Woods, C., Gleason, M., Oltmanns, T. (2007). The over and underdiagnosis of personality disorders in older adults. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry,15 742-753.
  • Brooks, D., Eskander, M., Balsis, S., Ordway, N., Connolly, P. (2007). Imaging Assessment of Lumbar Pedicle Screw Placement. Spine,32(13) 1450-1453.
  • Balsis, S., Eaton, N.R., Zona, D.M., Oltmanns, T.F. (2006). Teaching Advanced Psychopathology: A Method That Promotes Basic Undergraduate Clinical and Research Experience. Teaching of Psychology,33(4) 242-246.
  • Balsis, S., Carpenter, B.D. (2006). Evaluations of Elderspeak in a Caregiving Context. Clinical Gerontologist,29(1) 79-96.
  • Balsis, S., Carpenter, B.D., Storandt, M. (2005). Personality Change Precedes Clinical Diagnosis of Dementia of the Alzheimer Type. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B,60(2) P98-P101.

Selected Presentations

  • Sex differences in cognitive dysfunction due to Alzheimer’s disease - Annual Meeting of the International Neuropsychology Society, February 2017 - New Orleans, LA
  • Poor performance on memory tests indicates dementia of the Alzheimer’s type before performance on measures of other cognitive abilities - Texas A&M University LAUNCH Summer Undergraduate Research Poster Session, 2016 - College Station, TX
  • Reading between the items: A closer examination of the assessment of intimate partner aggression - Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, October 2016 - New York, NY
  • The NPI Increases Precision When Measuring DAT - National Academy of Neuropsychology, October 2016 - Seattle, WA
  • Relationship discord across the lifespan: A comparative study of younger and older married couples - American Psychological Association, August 2016
  • Modeling Multidimensionality in Alzheimer’s Disease - Association for Psychological Science, May 2016 - Chicago, IL
  • Self- and informant reported narcissistic personality disorder features: An item response theory analysis - Society for Research in Psychopathology, October 2010 - Seattle, WA

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Summer Program in Orthopaedic Spine Research (2022), - Medtronic
    Balsis, S. (Principal). Total Costs - $38,980
  • Collaborative Research: Legible Co-Adaptation of Wearable Devices for As-Needed Assistance of Arm Motion (2021-2025), - National Science Foundation
    Yanco, H. (Principal), Balsis, S. (Co-Principal). Total Costs - $506,003
  • R01, Improving Patient Classification and Outcome Measurement in Traumatic Brain Injury (2019-2024), - National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    Nelson, L. (Principal), Balsis, S. (Co-Investigator). Total Costs - $3,736,273.
  • Clinical Services Education Contract (2018), Contract - Brazos County Juvenile Services Department
    Balsis, S.
  • Development - Summer support for students (2018), - Texas A&M University
    Balsis, S.
  • Clinical services education (2017), Contract - Central Texas Veterans Affairs Health Care Network
    Balsis, S.
  • Clinical services education (2017), Contract - Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
    Balsis, S.
  • Clinical services education (2017), Contract - University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    Balsis, S.
  • R01 (2014), Grant - National Institute on Aging
    Balsis, S. (Consultant), Oltmanns, T.F. (Principal)
  • Nutrition and Food Science Grant (2018), Grant - National Mango Board
    Balsis, S. (Co-Principal), Talcott, S. (Principal)
  • Clinical Services Education Contract (2017), Contract - Brazos County Texas Commissary Fund
    Balsis, S.
  • Clinical Services Education Contract (2016), Contract - Brazos County Texas Commissary Fund
    Balsis, S.
  • Enhanced Research Capacities Grant (2013), Grant - Texas A&M University
    Balsis, S. (Principal), Edens, J. (Co-Principal)
  • Enhanced Research Capacities Grant (2013), Grant - Texas A&M University
    Balsis, S. (Principal), Edens, J. (Co-Principal)
  • SUROG (2016), Grant - American Psychological Association
    Balsis, S. (Co-Investigator), Fields, S. (Principal)
  • Ray A. Rothrock Fellow (2012), Fellowship - Texas A&M University
    Balsis, S.
  • Ray A. Rothrock Fellowship (2012), Fellowship - Texas A&M University
    Balsis, S. (Principal)
  • R03 (1R03-AG039663-01A1) (2012), Grant - National Institute on Aging
    Balsis, S. (Principal)
  • Texas A&M College of Liberal Arts Faculty Research Enhancement Award (2009), - Texas A&M University
    Balsis, S. (Principal)
  • Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders Center Mitchell Pilot Grant (2008), Grant - Baylor College of Medicine
    Balsis, S. (Co-Principal), Massman, P. (Co-Principal), Benge, J. (Consultant)
  • National Research Service Award (5F31-MH075336) (2006), - NIMH
    Balsis, S. (Principal)
  • Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship (2005), Fellowship - Washington University in St. Louis
    Balsis, S. (Principal)
  • Roma Schaefer Nooter Scholarship (2004), - Washington University in St. Louis
    Balsis, S. (Principal)
  • Summer Training on Aging Research Topics – Mental Health (START-MH) Fellowship (2004), Fellowship - NIMH
    Balsis, S. (Principal)