Heather Yarger received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology/Clinical Science from the University of Delaware in 2018.  She completed her APA-accredited pre-doctoral clinical internship within the Child and Family Therapy and Behavioral Management Clinics at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  She is currently a research assistant professor in the Department of Psychology investigating the psychophysiological bases of anxiety symptoms in autistic youth.  Dr. Yarger received a NIH/NIMH K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award which will fund her research and training 4/2024 thorough 3/2028. 

Check out these recent news articles about my grant:

Maryland Today: https://today.umd.edu/can-heart-rhythms-signal-anxiety-in-autistic-youths

Longer story with photos: https://bsos.umd.edu/featured-content/identifying-anxiety-autistic-adolescents

Representative Publications:

  1. Yarger, H.A., Sarkar, M., Harrington, E., & Redcay, E. (2024). Autonomic activity in individuals with autism and anxiety symptoms: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-024-00449-y
  2. Yarger, H.A., Shariq, D., Hickey, A., Giacobbe, E., Dziura, S., & Redcay, E. (2023). Examining adolescents’ mental health before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10720734/
  3. Yarger, H. A. (2022). Anxiety–Amygdala Associations: Novel Insights from the First Longitudinal Study of Autistic Youth with Distinct Anxiety. Biological Psychiatry, 91(11), e41-e43. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2022.03.016
  4. Yarger, H.A., Nordahl, C.W., & Redcay, E. (2022).  Associations between amygdala volumes and anxiety symptoms in children with autism spectrum disorder. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpsc.2021.10.010
  5. Yarger, H.A. & Redcay, E. (2020). A conceptual model of risk and protective factors associated with internalizing symptoms in autism spectrum disorder: A scoping review, synthesis, and call for more research. Development and Psychopathology, 32(4) 1254-1272. doi:10.1017/S095457942000084
  6. Close, H.A.*, Lee, L.-C., Kaufmann, C. N., & Zimmerman, A. W. (2012). Co-occurring conditions and change in diagnosis in autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 129(2), e305-e316.doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2011-1717

*Note: Name change occurred in June 2013 from Heather A. Close to Heather A. Yarger.

Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Heather_Yarger

Areas of Interest

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Child Development
  • Anxiety Disorders


  • Ph.D.
    Clinical Psychology, University of Delaware
  • M.A.
    Psychology, University of Delaware
  • B.S.
    Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University
Research Methods
Research Interests
Pediatric Anxiety Disorders
Neuropsychiatric Disorders
A photo of Heather Yarger
3123A Biology-Psychology Building
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
hyarger [at] umd.edu