Kristina Lopez

Academic Fellow 2020
Assistant Professor
ASU Watts College of Public Service & Community Solutions

Downtown Phoenix Campus


In her research, Kristina Lopez explores disparities in early diagnosis and subsequent intervention services among underserved children and families including low-income, limited-education and racial/ethnic minorities with a specialization in Latino children with autism. She focuses on the impact of developmental disabilities and complex health needs among children on family systems across racial and ethnic groups and socioeconomic levels. Her research is grounded in a multidisciplinary framework in which she incorporates developmental psychology, social work and public health disciplines to investigate disparities, ecological and socio-cultural perspectives of family support, developmental disabilities and early intervention.


Ph.D. Social Work and Psychology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 2013    

M.S. Developmental Psychology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 2012

M.S.W. Interpersonal Practice, Children and Youth in Families and Society, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor 2010

M.A. General Experimental Psychology (with Distinction)California State University Northridge 2007

B.A. Psychology (Magna Cum Laude), California State University Northridge 2005


PEER REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS (*Student Co-author, ____ community partner)

  1. Lopez, K., & Oh, H. (accepted). Developmental disabilities in the context of Fragile Families: Racial and ethnic disparities at age 9. Social Work Research.

  2. Campbell, R., Dennis, M. K., Lopez, K., Matthew, R. A., & Choi, Y. J. (expected print date Winter 2020). Qualitative research in communities of color: Five researchers share challenges experienced, strategies employed, and lessons learned. Journal of the Society for Social Work Research.

  3. +Lopez, K., *Marroquin, J. M., & *Gutierrez, C. (2020). Methods to decrease disparities in age of autism diagnosis and treatment access among Latinx children. Social Work, swaa012,                                                                                                                            + Winner of the 2020 CSWE CSWE Council on Disability & Persons with Disabilities (CDPD) Disability Manuscript Award

  4. Magaña, S., Lopez, K., Salkas, K., Iland, E., Morales, M., Garcia, M., Zeng, W., & Machalicek, W. (2020). A randomized waitlist control group of a culturally tailored parent education intervention for Latino parents of children with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 5(1), 250-262.

  5. Lopez, K., Magaña, S., Iland, E., & Morales, M. (2019). Parents Taking Action: Reducing disparities through a culturally informed intervention for Latinx parents of children with autism. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work, 28(1), 31-49. doi: 10.1080/15313204.2019.1570890

  6. Lopez, K., *Reed, J. & Magaña, S. (2019). Associations among family burden, optimism, services received and unmet need within families of children with ASD. Children and Youth Services Review, 98, 105-112. doi: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2018.12.027

  7. Mendoza, N., Lechuga-Pena, S., Lopez, K., & Jackson, K. (2019). “Mi’jita, What for?” Exploring bicultural identity of Latina/Chicana Faculty and implications for supporting Latinx students in social work. Affilia,34(2), 259-276. 

  8. Lechuga-Pena, S., Becerra, D., Mitchell, F. M., Lopez, K., & Sangalang, C. (2019). Subsidized housing and low-income mother’s school-based parent involvement: Findings from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Wave Five. Child Youth Care Forum, 48(3), 105-112. 

  9. Sangalang, C., Becerra, D., Mitchell, F. M., Lechuga-Peña, S., Lopez, K., & Kim, I. (2019). Trauma, migration status, and mental health: A comparative analysis of refugees and immigrants in the United States. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 21(5), 909-919.

  10. Lopez, K., & Magaña, S. (2018). Perceptions of family problems and pessimism among Latina and Non-Latina White mothers raising children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Epub ahead of print, doi: 10.1007/s10803-018-3640-8

  11. Lopez, K., Xu, Y., Magaña, S., & Guzman, J. (2018). Parent's reaction to autism diagnosis: A qualitative analysis comparing Latino and White parents. Journal of Rehabilitation, 84(1), 41-50.

  12. Magaña, S., Lopez, K., & Machalicek, W. (2017). Parents Taking Action: A psycho-educational intervention for Latino parents of children with ASD. Family Process, 56(1), 59-74.

  13. Lopez, K. (2014). Socio-cultural perspectives of Latino children with autism spectrum disorder. Best Practices in Behavioral Mental Health, 10(2), 15-31.

  14. Magaña, S., Lopez, K., Paradiso de Sayu, R., & Miranda, E. (2014). Use of promotoras de salud in interventions with Latino families of children with IDD. International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, 47, 40-69.

  15. Magaña, S., Lopez, K., Aguinaga, A., & Morton, H. (2013). Access to diagnosis and care among Latino children with ASDs. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 51(3), 141-153.

  16. Ortiz, C., Valerio, M., & Lopez, K. (2012). Trends in Latino academic achievement: Where do we go from here? Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 11(2), 136-148.

  17. Luyster, R., Lopez, K., & Lord, C. (2007). Characterizing communicative development in children referred for autism spectrum disorder using the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI). Journal of Child Language, 34(3), 623-654.

  18. Luyster, R., Qiu, S., Lopez, K., & Lord, C. (2007). Predicting outcomes of children referred for autism using the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventory (CDI). Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 50(3), 667-681.                                                                                                                               


  1. Lopez, K., Magaña, S., Iland, E., & Morales, M. (2019). “Parents Taking Action: Reducing disparities through a culturally informed intervention for Latinx parents of children with autism.” In Y. C. Padilla, R. McCoy, & R. Calvo (Eds.), Rethinking Social Work Practice with Multicultural Communities. Abingdon: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.

  2. Magaña, S., Machalicek, W., Lopez, K., & Iland, E. (2018). “Padres en Acción: A parent education program for Latino parents of children with ASD.”  In K. Guastaferro & J.R. Lutzker (Eds.), A Guide to Programs for Parenting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual Disabilities or Developmental Disabilities: Evidence-Based Guidance for Professionals (pp. 141-172). London: Jessica Kinglsey Publishers.

Research Activity: 

1/2020-present       Arizona State University Knowledge Exchange for Resilience Fellow ($15,000)

07/2018-6/2019     College of Public Service and Community Solutions Internal Grant and Funding Mechanism: Technical Assistance Grant, Role: PI; Assessing Parent and Child Behavior in the Context of a Culturally Informed Intervention for Latino Families of Children with Autism: $5,000

08/2017-present     Arizona State University School of Social Work Director’s Initiative Funds, Role: PI; Innovation in the Parents Taking Action Program: Pivotal Response Training and Culturally Informed Intervention: $20,000

10/2014-09/2017 National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research Field Initiated Research Program GrantRole: Co-PI, Parents Taking Action: An Educational Program for Latino Parents of Children with Autism and Communication Challenges: subcontract, $76,467 

Expertise Areas


Children - Teen - Families

Multicultural Perspectives

Hispanic Population