Benjamin J. Houltberg

Associate Professor of Human Development, Department of Marriage and FamilySchool of Psychology

Contact Information
BA, MA, Oral Roberts University
PhD, Oklahoma State University

Benjamin Houltberg joined Fuller’s School of Psychology faculty in 2014, coming from Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he served on the Department of Professional Studies faculty and coordinated the Couple and Family Counseling Program.

Houltberg’s research focuses on three main themes: examining ways that family characteristics and parenting interact with other individual and contextual processes in relation to youth social and emotional development; assessing family socialization processes that shape emotion regulation and related behaviors; and understanding the role of emotion regulation and emotionality in spiritual and identity formation in youth. In particular, he is interested in examining these processes within adverse circumstances (e.g., disadvantaged neighborhoods, elite athletic competition) in order to identify protective processes and apply research-informed approaches that promote positive social and emotional development. Given this background, his position at Fuller includes significant work with the Thrive Center for Human Development.

He has taught graduate courses in life span development, counseling theories and techniques, both marriage and family counseling as well as child and adolescent counseling, research in counseling and guidance, and outcome research in marriage and family therapy. Journal articles and book chapters by Houltberg have been published in Parenting Science and Practice, Family Relations, among others, and The Encyclopedia of Adolescence, which received the 2011 Prose award for the best multivolume reference in humanities or social science. He coedited and contributed to the volume Group Work Experts Share Their Favorite Activities: A Guide to Choosing, Planning, Conducting, and Processing, vol. 2 (2014).

Recently, Houltberg has focused on emotional health of elite athletes in high-pressure contexts. This research has led to national and international research presentations and service. He is actively involved in the Sports Chaplaincy Program to International Sporting Events and served as a chaplain to the 2009 World Track and Field Championships in Berlin, Germany. Houltberg also presented his research at the International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport in Glasgow, United Kingdom, in conjunction with the 2012 Olympic Games. He continues to work with coaches and athletes from around the world to promote spiritual and emotional health in dealing with pressures to perform.

Fuller Courses Taught

  • FS505: Family and Child Development
  • FS810: Human Development in Context
  • PG820: Cognition and Affect

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Emotion regulation and emotion socialization, parenting and emotion regulation, identity and spiritual formation with elite athletes, positive youth development in adverse circumstances, applied developmental science


Edited Book

  • Fineran, K., Houltberg, B., Nitza, A., McCoy, J., & Roberts, S. (Eds.) (2014). Group work experts share their favorite activities: A guide to choosing, planning, conducting, and processing. Volume 2. Alexandria, VA: Association for Specialists in Group Work.

Journal Articles

  • Criss, M., Houltberg, B. J., Cui, L., Bolser, C., Morris, A., & Silk, J. (2016). Direct and indirect links between peer factors and adolescent adjustment difficulties. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 43, 83-90.
  • Cui, L., Morris, A. S., Harris, A. W., Larzelere, R. E., Criss, M. M., & Houltberg, B. J. (2015). Adolescent RSA responses during an anger discussion task: Relations to emotion regulation and adjustment. Emotion, 15, 360-372.
  • Houltberg, B. J., Morris, A. S., Cui, L., Henry, C., & Criss, M. (December 18, 2014) The role of youth anger in explaining links between parenting and early adolescent prosocial and antisocial behavior. Journal of Early Adolescence. Advance online publication.
  • Cui, L., Morris, A. S., Criss, M., Houltberg, B. J. & Silk, J. (2014). Parental psychological control and adolescent adjustment: The role of adolescent emotion regulation. Parenting Science and Practice, 14, 47-67.
  • Houltberg, B. J., Henry, C. S., & Morris, A. S. (2012). Family interactions, exposure to violence, and emotion regulation: Perceptions of children and early adolescents at-risk. Family Relations, 61, 283-296.
  • Houltberg, B. J., Henry, C. S., Merten, M. J., & Robinson, L. C. (2011). Intrinsic religiosity, family cohesion, parental support, and adolescent depressed mood. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20, 111-119.
  • Plunkett, S. W., Henry, C. S., Houltberg, B. J., Sands, T., & Abarca, S. (2008). Academic support by significant others and educational resilience in Mexican origin ninth grade students from intact families. Journal of Early Adolescence, 28, 333-355.
  • Decker, E. E., & Houltberg, B. J. (2003). The empowerment of the holy spirit in counseling: A personal experience. Christian Counseling Connection, 3, 12-13.

Refereed Book Chapters

  • Fineran, K., & Houltberg, B. J. (2014). Consideration for advanced group workers. In K. Fineran, B. Houltberg, A. Nitza, J. McCoy, & S. Roberts (Eds.), Group work experts share their favorite activities: A guide to choosing, planning, conducting, and processing, vol. 2 (pp. 9-19). Association for Specialists in Group Work.
  • Morris, A. S., Houltberg, B. J., & Eisenberg, N. (2011). Adolescent Moral Development. In B. Brown & M. Prinstein (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Adolescence (pp. 48-55). San Diego: Academic Press. Note: The Encyclopedia was the recipient of the 2011 PROSE award for the best multivolume reference in humanities or social science.


Dr. Houltberg’s CV

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