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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

Prof. Sturge-Apple will be accepting graduate students for the 2018-19 academic year.

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

  • Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., Cicchetti, D., Coe, J. L.*, & Hentges, R. F.* (in press). Family instability and children’s effortful control in the context of poverty: Sometimes a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Development and Psychopathology.
  • Suor, J. H.*, Sturge‐Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (in press). A life history approach to delineating how harsh environments and hawk temperament traits differentially shape children's problem‐solving skills. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
  • Suor, J. H.*, Sturge-Apple, M. L., & Skibo, M. A.* (in press). Breaking cycles of risk: The mitigating role of maternal working memory in associations among socioeconomic status, early caregiving, and children's working memory. Development and Psychopathology.
  • Martin, M. J.*, Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., & Romero, C. V.* (2017). Mothers’ implicit appraisals of their adolescents as unlovable: Explanatory factor linking family conflict and harsh parenting. Developmental Psychology, 53, 1344-1355.
  • Martin, M. J.*, Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., Romero, C. V.*, & Buckholz, A.* (2017). A process model of the implications of spillover from coparenting conflicts into the parent–child attachment relationship in adolescence. Development and Psychopathology, 29, 417-431.
  • Sturge-Apple, M. L., Jones, H. R.*, & Suor, J. H.* (2017). When stress gets into your head: Socioeconomic risk, executive functions, and maternal sensitivity across childrearing contexts. Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 160-169.
  • Sturge-Apple, M. L., Suor, J. H.*, Davies, P. T., Cicchetti, D., Skibo, M. A.*, & Rogosch, F. A. (2016). Vagal tone and children’s delay of gratification: Differential sensitivity across resource poor and resource rich environments. Psychological Science, 27, 885-893.
  • Toth, S. L., Sturge-Apple, M. L., Rogosch, F. A., & Cicchetti, D. (2015). Mechanisms of change: Testing how preventative interventions impact psychological and physiological stress functioning in mothers in neglected families. Development and Psychopathology, 27, 1661-1674.
  • 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.
  • Sturge-Apple, M. L., Cicchetti, D., Davies, P. T., & Suor, J. H.* (2012). Differential susceptibility in spillover between interparental conflict and maternal parenting practices: Evidence for OXTR and 5-HTT genes. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 431-442.
  • Sturge-Apple, M. L., Davies, P. T., Cicchetti, D., & Manning, L. G.* (2012). Interparental violence, maternal emotional unavailability and children's cortisol functioning in family contexts. Developmental Psychology, 48, 237-249.
  • Sturge-Apple, M. L., Skibo, M. A.*, Rogosch, F. A., Ignjatovic, Z., & Heinzelman, W. (2011). The impact of allostatic load on maternal sympathovagal functioning in stressful child contexts: Implications for problematic parenting. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 831-844.