Melissa Sturge-Apple

Associate Professor of Psychology
Dean of Graduate Studies in Arts, Sciences & Engineering
PhD in Developmental Psychology, Minor in Quantitative Psychology, University of Notre Dame, 2002

471 Meliora Hall
(585) 275-8711

Office Hours: By appointment


Research Overview

Professor Sturge-Apple's research interests include parenting, interparental conflict, and children's socioemotional adjustment; ethological and family systems theories; psychophysiology; quantitative methods.

My research concentrates on examining perturbations in family functioning and child development, with an emphasis on parenting and parent-child relationships.  Towards this, my work is guided by conceptualizations derived from family risk frameworks, parenting process models, and emerging evolutionary accounts of caregiving.  Consistent with a developmental psychopathology emphasis on the importance of a multiple levels of analysis approach to this area of research, I have focused on delineating these processes across psychological (e.g., emotional, behavioral), neurobiological (e.g., physiological systems, cognitive processes), and ecological (e.g., socioeconomic stress) levels.  I am also very interested in ‘how’ we study families and children with an eye towards improving our methodological assessments and our statistical analyses towards capturing family dynamics.

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • CSP 276  Psychology of Parenting
  • CSP 310, 311  Honors Seminar in Psychology
  • CSP 377, 378  Exploring Research in Family Psychology I and II
  • CSP 514  Structural Equation Modeling I
  • CSP  565  Early Child Development

Selected Publications

  • Toth, S.L., Sturge-Apple, M.L., Rogosch, F.A., & Cicchetti, D. (in press). Mechanisms of change: Testing how preventative interventions impact psychological and physiological stress functioning in mothers in neglected families. Development and Psychopathology.
  • Suor, J.H., Sturge-Apple, M.L., Davies, P.T., Cicchetti, D., & Manning, L.G. (2015). Tracing differential pathways of risk: Associations among family adversity, cortisol, and cognitive functioning in childhood. Child Development, 4, 1142-1158.
  • Sturge-Apple, M.L., Rogge, R.D., Skibo, M.A., Peltz, J.S., & Suor, J.H. (2015). A dual process approach to the role of mother's implicit and explicit attitudes toward their child in parenting models. Developmental Psychology, 3, 289-300.
  • Sturge-Apple, M.L., Rogge, R.D., Peltz, J.S., Suor, J.H., & Skibo, M.A.  (2015). Delving beyond conscious attitudes: Validation of an innovative tool for assessing parental implicit attitudes toward physical punishment. Infant and Child Development, 3, 240-255.
  • Sturge-Apple, M.L., Suor, J.H., & Skibo, M.A. (2014).  Maternal child-centered attributions and harsh discipline: The moderating role of working memory across socioeconomic contexts. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 645-654.
  • Sturge-Apple, M.L., Davies, P.T., Cicchetti, D., & Frittoria, M.G. (2014). A typology of interpartner conflict and maternal parenting practices in high-risk families: Examining spillover and compensatory models and implications for child adjustment. Development and Psychopathology, 4, 983-998.
  • Davies, P.T., & Sturge-Apple, M.L. (2014). Family context in the development of psychopathology. In M. Lewis & K.D. Rudolph (Eds.), Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology (pp. 143-161). New York: Springer.
  • Sturge-Apple, M.L., Davies, P.T., Martin, M.J., Cicchetti, D., & Hentges, R.F. (2012). An examination of the impact of harsh parenting contexts on children's adaptation within an evolutionary framework. Developmental Psychology, 48, 791-801.
  • Cheng, R., Heinzelman, W., Sturge-Apple, M.L., & Ignjatovic, Z. (2012). A motion-tracking ultrasonic sensor array for behavioral monitoring. IEEE Sensor Journal, 12, 707-712.