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Washington State University Factsheets

Doctor of Philosophy in Prevention Science

Faculty working with Students: 42
Students: 28
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 75%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall January 10th
Campus:
  • Pullman: Yes
  • Spokane: Yes
  • Vancouver: Yes
Tests required:
  • 550 TOEFL Minimum score
  • GRE

Degree Description:

The Prevention Science Graduate Program at Washington State University provides training opportunities at the doctoral level for students interested in developing expertise in the study of individuals and families and in the development and evaluation of prevention programs. The Ph.D. program in Prevention Science at Washington State University is an interdisciplinary program; participating faculty are from Human Development, Communication, Educational Psychology, Psychology, and Nursing. The program emphasizes training in both the generation of research-based knowledge and its translation into effective programs and policies that positively impact the well-being of children, youth, adults, families, and their communities. Examples of prevention programs include drug and alcohol prevention programs; broad based youth development programs; and early child care and learning quality improvement programs.

Students in the program complete required courses in three areas of prevention science: 1) Human Development in Context; 2) Research Methods; and 3) Program Development and Evaluation. Students are required to take core courses in at least three of the following disciplines: Communication, Educational Psychology, Human Development, and/or Nursing. All students will complete a Master’s thesis as part of their Ph.D. program, as well as a Ph.D. dissertation. Students are required to have faculty members from at least two (preferably three) disciplines on their thesis and dissertation committees. Besides the required courses, students have the opportunity to take additional electives from three elective specialty areas: 1) Advanced Developmental Science, 2) Quantitative Methods, and 3) Social Policy.

Admission Requirements:

Students must submit three letters of recommendation, GRE scores on verbal, quantitative, and analytic aptitude tests.  Official transcripts from all colleges attended.  A written statement (Statement of Purpose) by the applicant 1) detailing reasons for applying 2) research interests; 3) relevant research and professional experiences; and 4) career goals.  Also list the faculty member(s) you are interested in working with.  When listing faculty members, note their location, and only list faculty members at the location you are applying to.  The Prevention Science program is offered at the Pullman, Spokane, and Vancouver campuses.  A few faculty members are located at other locations; they can advise students at any of the three locations.

Admission to the graduate program in Prevention Science is determined by the Prevention Science Graduate Committee.  Decisions are based on careful appraisal of completed material submitted in the application process.

Student Learning Outcomes:

All graduates will be able to:

  1. Acquire an understanding of theory and basic research on child, youth, and adult development in the contexts of family, peers, school, and community.
  2. Acquire an understanding of: individual, family, and environmental risk and protective factors and how they relate to optimal human development; and the epidemiological approach to the  assessment of their prevalence.
  3. Apply theory and research findings to the design of programs that promote optimal development and prevent poor physical, social, and emotional outcomes.
  4. Design and conduct scientific tests of program efficacy and effectiveness.
  5. Conduct translational research on program implementation, outcomes, dissemination, cost, and sustainability (moving programs from research to practice).
  6. Develop effective written and oral communication skills for the dissemination of research findings to a variety of audiences and for effecting evidence-based policy decisions.
  7. Write successful grant and contract proposals to fund prevention research.

Student Opportunities:

Students have opportunities to engage in prevention research and outreach activities on the WSU Pullman campus and throughout the state of Washington through partnerships with Health and Wellness Services and with WSU Extension.

Career Opportunities:

Graduates of the program will be qualified for positions such as:

program evaluators, research analysts, and administrators in government, private research institutes, social service agencies, and consulting firms; foundation program officers and grant evaluators; tenure-track faculty members in departments of child development, communication, developmental psychology, educational psychology, family studies, human development, public health nursing, rural sociology, and social work; and other university positions such as extension faculty, research associates, or program coordinators for grant-funded projects.

Career Placements:

New program

Faculty Members:

Adesope, Olusola, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Broad issues in educational psychology, educational technology, and the learning sciences application in educational programs, interactive concept maps & diagrams, cognitive and pedagogical underpinnings of learning with computer-based multimedia resources, evaluation of learning objects, language pedagogy and quantitative research methods, especially meta-analyses.

Austin, Erica Weintraub, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Professor and Director of the Murrow College Center for Media and Health Promotion.
Research interest:
Uses and effects of communication in decision making and social development, particularly in the areas of politics and health.

Barbosa-Leiker, Celestina, PhD

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Examining psychosocial risk factors of heart disease, specifically the predictive ability of stress, depression, and anger on traditional heart disease risk factors such as hypertension, adiposity, and dyslipidemia.

Bolkan, Cory R, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Healthy aging; health services
Family gerontology
Depression in adulthood
Grief, coping, and loss
Personality development

Borah, Porismita, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Emerging technology research, message design and interventions, EMA methodology via mobile technology, and social media use in political campaigns and health promotion.

Bumpus, Matthew, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Work and family, especially concerning linkages between work-related stress and family processes; mother-child and father-child relationships; parental monitoring/knowledge; social development during middle childhood and adolescence.

Cleveland, Michael, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Emerging Adult Development with Emphasis on Underrepresented and High-Risk Youth
Substance Abuse Etiology, Treatment, and Recovery
Prevention Science
Social Contextual Factors and Health Behavior
Advanced Quantitative Methods, including Latent Variable (e.g., SEM), Finite Mixture (e.g., LCA), and Multilevel Models

Connolly, Chris, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Physical activity during pregnancy and the postpartum period. His recent work is interdisciplinary and has drawn from health communication and sports psychology theory to examine some of the factors which may impede or enable pregnant women’s leisure-time physical activity behavior.

Cooper, Brittany Rhoades, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Grounded in a contextual view of human development, my program of research focuses on both the generation of basic prevention research knowledge and the translation of this knowledge for effective prevention practice and policy aimed at improving the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of children, families, and communities. Specifically, my research examines how risk and protective factors at multiple ecological levels, including family, peer, school, and community, interact to predict children’s developmental outcomes.

Cooper, Robert, Ph.D.

Serves as: co-chair or member on graduate committee

Cox, Anne, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Understanding key determinants of youth physical activity behaviors,
How body image variables intersect with pubertal change to predict physical activity experiences and behaviors in older children and adolescents.

Deen, Mary, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Diversi, Marcelo, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Decolonizing epistemologies
Politics of interpretation and representation in the social sciences
Ethnography of street youth

Finley, Susan, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Poverty and homelessness, systemic barriers to educational access and equity, social and environmental justice policy and practice. Recent projects focus on the politics of advocacy and community-based, participatory research.

French, Brian F., Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Educational and psychological measurement issues, application of psychometric methods and use of methodological studies to evaluate and improve methods, Measurement Invariance, Structural Equation Modeling, Item Response Theory, Classical Test Theory, Factor Analysis, Monte Carlo studies.

Graves, Janessa, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Pediatric injury research, health services research, head injuries in children & adolescents, occupational injuries among working adolescents, impacts of work on young people, global health.

Handy, Deborah Jean, Ph.D.

Serves as: co-chair or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

School violence
Family and consumer sciences teacher recruitment processes
Student success in distance education

Hill, Laura Griner, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Prevention science: research on the translation, implementation, evaluation and scale-up of prevention and health promotion programs in real-world settings
Development and testing of brief interventions (e.g. training in values-based decision making) that support students transitioning to college, especially students least likely to persist to degree or to persist in STEM majors
Parent-child relationships in adolescence and young adulthood

Hust, Stacey Jolene, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Use of Media to Reduce Sexual Assault and Promote Healthy Sexual Relationships
Parent-Child Communication About Media and Health
Media Effects and Strategies to Prevent Alcohol Abuse
Gender and the Mass Media

Lanigan, Jane D, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

The well-being of young children within the family and early learning and care contexts. I conduct translational studies that involve: promoting healthy weight trajectories in order to reduce childhood obesity and minimizing of the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) through trauma-informed practices in non-clinical settings.

McDonell, Michael, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

McPherson, Sterling Marshall, PhD

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Director, Program of Excellence in Addictions Research, Associate Director, Providence Medical Research Center: 1) Development of evidence-based substance use disorder treatments, 2) Behavioral pharmacology, 3) Innovative analytical methods to answer novel research questions in psychopharmacology and substance abuse, 4) Kidney disease and acute kidney injury, mental illness and drug and alcohol use as risk factors.

Oneal, Gail Ann, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Health literacy, risk communication and health information use, risk messages, environmental and occupational health, population health, underserved and rural populations

Parker, Louise, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Cultural adaptation of evidence-based prevention programs. In her current work, she is part of a team that designed and is now conducting trials on a family intervention curriculum for Latino mothers of preschool children that focuses on parental feeding styles (SEEDs: Strategies for Effective Eating Development). A second childhood obesity project (FoodMania) targets parents and their school-aged children to provide media literacy education that influences the impact of food advertising on child nutrition and healthy development, and the third explores the efficacy of embedding the SEEDs videos in a nutrition education curriculum for low income families in face to face and online delivery versions. Dr. Parker is also currently working with a team of faculty researchers and graduate students on developing and evaluating a program for Latina mothers that increases their ability to support their children’s coping in stressful situations.

Pendry, Patricia, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

My research takes a biobehavioral approach towards the study of human animal interaction and human development by examining the effects of animal assisted programs in reducing the physiological ramifications of social and academic stress, with an emphasis on strengthening adaptive functioning of the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) activity in children, adolescents and college students. While my research is broadly situated within a prevention science perspective, it is also informed by the interdisciplinary fields of human development and learning science through its emphasis on the social-psychological foundations of human development and learning, as well as on the design and evaluation of programs that enhance learning environments. My work includes basic and applied approaches and draws from literatures of child and adolescent development, animal assisted intervention and therapy, developmental psychoneuroendocrinology as well as program design, implementation and evaluation.

Perone, Sammy, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Early childhood development
Connections among learning, cognitive, and brain development
Emergence of executive function
Early intervention and school readiness
Dynamic systems theory and neural networks

Pinkleton, Bruce E, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Associate Director of the Murrow College Center for Media and Health Promotion. Communication campaigns, individuals’ use of the media, and media effects primarily in health and public affairs contexts.

Postma, Julie Marie, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Power, Thomas, Ph.D.

Serves as: co-chair or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

The role of parents in the socialization of health promoting and health compromising behaviors in children and adolescents. Current projects include: parental influences on children’s coping with chronic disease, parental influences on children’s appraisal of and coping with minor and major life events, and the prevention of childhood obesity.

Rodgers, Kathleen Boyce, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Roll, John, PhD

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Human behavioral pharmacology, the development and refinement of behavioral interventions for addiction and other psychiatric disorders, as well as technology transfer issues.

Salazar, Amy, Ph.D., MSW

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Child welfare system
Aging out of foster care
Developing, adapting, and testing interventions
Program evaluation
Maltreatment, trauma, and PTSD
LGBTQ youth well-being

Sano, Yoshie, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Family well-being of low-income households including parenting, family relationship, mothers’ employment, and immigrant families. Current research projects include a multi-state longitudinal research project, Rural Families Speak, which examines family well-being and functioning in the context of welfare reform.

Smart, Denise, D.P.H.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Work place safety, military health, women’s health and health and safety for disaster response workers.

Smith, Suzanne, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

I am currently conducting qualitative research on the Hutterites to determine parenting and family relationship patterns. This research involves quality and quantity time in the field, living with participants.

Secondarily I am involved in a multi-state longitudinal project assessing the effects of poverty on the health and family relationships of women and children in rural areas. This is a mixed methods study to take place over a five year period. Data will also be compared to the previous wave of this project which completed in 2009.

Soliday, Elizabeth, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Promoting evidence-based safer birth care practices among pre-parents, informed decision-making in birth care, alternative care treatment outcomes in birth care.

Strand, Paul S., PhD

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Child Emotional and Social Development; School Readiness

Trevisan, Michael Steven, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Program evaluation, student assessment, measurement, and applied statistics.

Ullrich-French, Sarah, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Interest in youth physical activity intersects with areas of social development, psychology, education, positive youth development, and health. Dr. Ullrich-French’s research addresses social context and motivational processes in youth physical, social, and psychological development. The first strand of her research involves examining physical activity motivational processes and behavioral outcomes in youth. The second strand of her research involves how physical contexts and interventions impact youth psychosocial, behavioral, and health outcomes. Current research activities address the measurement and application of movement-based mindfulness.

Waters, Sara, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Weybright, Elizabeth, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

My research broadly focuses on how leisure behaviors and experience (e.g., healthy leisure, boredom, sensation seeking) are associated with adolescent substance use. Conceptually, my research (1) examines how leisure-related processes may serve as risk or protective factors associated with substance use, (2) identifies socio-ecological moderators of these associations, and (3) uses findings to further inform and evaluate prevention efforts and initiatives targeting adolescent health behavior.

Wright, Bruce, M.D.

Serves as: co-chair or member on graduate committee

Research Interests

Adult psychopathology, Clinical health psychology

Contact Information:

Brittany Rhoades Cooper
518 Johnson Tower
PO Box 644852
Pullman, WA 99164-4852
509-335-2896