Kezia Shirkey

Associate Professor of Psychology

As an undergraduate, Dr. Kezia Shirkey shifted her academic focus from medicine to psychology after meaningful experiences volunteering at a children’s hospital. There she developed her interest in the social and psychological impact of illness and how children and families cope. Her double major in religion (along with psychology) and research with pediatric psychologists led to research and teaching interests in health psychology, positive psychology, and spirituality.

Now as a faculty member in the psychology department, Dr. Shirkey places a high value on the undergraduate learning experience. “I was privileged to have professors who interacted with me personally and were invested in my learning,” says Dr. Shirkey. “I desire to give back in the same way to my students by helping to inspire passion for learning, serving others, and understanding more about human behavior and thought.” Her teaching interests include health psychology, abnormal psychology, counseling psychology, behavioral neuroscience, stress and health, and introduction to psychology.

Dr. Shirkey was drawn to teach at North Park because of its small size, community engagement, access to Chicago, interest in issues of justice, and the integration of faith. She is active in the Psychology Club, conducts research on health promotion in young adults, and supervises student research projects.

Recent Publications

Stone, A. L., Walker, L. S., Laird, K., Shirkey, K. C., Smith, C. A. (2016) Pediatric pain beliefs questionnaire: Psychometric properties of the revised form. Journal of Pain, 17(9), 1036-44, doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2016.06.006

Robinson, M. R., Thiel, M. M., Shirkey, K. C., Zurakowski, D., Meyer, E. (2016). Efficacy of training interprofessional spiritual care generalists. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 19(8), 814-21. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2015.0373

Shelby, G., Shirkey, K. C., Sherman, A. L., Beck, J., Haman, K., Shears, A., Horst, S., Smith, C., Garber, J., Walker, L. S. (2013). Functional abdominal pain in childhood and long-term vulnerability to anxiety disorders. Pediatrics, 132(3), 475-482. doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-2191

Shirkey, K. C., Smith, C. A., Walker, L. S. (2011). Dispositional versus episode-specific assessment of children’s coping with pain, Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36, 74-83.

Popular Courses

Stress and Health: Taught at Covenant Point Camp in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Dr. Shirkey thinks students like this course because they learn a lot of strategies that can help them cope with the stresses of life and school. She’s heard seniors say they wished they took the course earlier in their career. She especially likes teaching the course up at Covenant Point where they can really experience the content as they do yoga, canoe, and adventurous activities.