Faculty Directory

Melissa W. George

Melissa W. George, Ph.D.

Research Scientist, Prevention Research Center Department of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

439 Behavioral Sciences Building
1570 Campus Delivery
410 West Pitkin Street
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1570

Phone: 970-491-7061
Prevention Research Center
E-mail: melissa.george@colostate.edu

Research Interests

I’m a developmental psychologist and certified Family Life Educator who studies family processes and child/adolescent socio-emotional development and health, and the implementation of evidence-based programs and practices that promote healthy child and family functioning.

From a developmental psychopathology and family systems perspective I examine family relationships, children’s stress reactivity and regulation to conflict and socio-emotional development, and the development of emotional and behavioral problems. I’m particularly interested in the role of interparental conflict as a stressor for children and families, parenting behaviors, and the impact on stress regulation and subsequently, emotional/behavioral problems and health behaviors including physical activity, diet, and disordered eating.

My research also focuses on the translation of developmental science to child mental health preventive interventions and services. I am interested in increasing access to high quality services and evidence-based programs and practices for families that address families’ comprehensive health needs (i.e., simultaneously promote behavior change to support physical health and mental health) as part of integrated health care and educational settings. This includes, fostering university-community-school partnerships to support the capacity of schools and primary care/health providers to engage in mental health promotion, prevention and intervention programs that are comprehensive, evidence-based and engage families. This line of research involves examining organizational (e.g., climate), provider (e.g., competencies, attitudes), and youth/family factors (e.g., demographic characteristics, family stress) that impact access to and implementation of evidence-based programs and practices, as well as the effectiveness of programs.

I also am interested in advancing methodological approaches to capturing moderating relationships for identifying how family stressors differentially impact adolescent health and well-being, and how effectiveness of preventive interventions may differ based on certain provider and youth/family characteristics.


B.S., 2005, Psychology, Stetson University
M.A., 2009, Developmental Psychology, University of Notre Dame
Ph.D., 2011, Developmental Psychology, University of Notre Dame

Honors and Awards

2005 - Excellence in Research Award, Stetson University

2010 - Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Research Award, American Psychological Association

2010 - Carolina Women’s Health Forum Research Award, University of South Carolina

2011 - Eli J. and Helen Shaheen Distinguished Scholar Award, University of Notre Dame

2011 - Clemson University Greenville Family Symposium Scholar, American Orthopsychiatric Association

Professional Experience

2010-2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina

2012-2015: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina

2013-2015: Adjunct Faculty, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina

2013-2015: Director of Undergraduate Program, Department of Psychology, University of South Carolina

2013-2015: Dean’s Advisor, College of Arts & Sciences, University of South Carolina

2015-present: Research Scientist, Colorado State University Prevention Research Center, Department of Human Development & Family Studies, Colorado State University

Selected Publications

George, M.R.W., Koss, K. J., McCoy, K.P., Cummings, E.M., & Davies, P.T. (2010). Examining the Family Context and Relations with Attitudes toward School and Scholastic Competence. Advances in School Mental Health Promotion, 3(4), 51-62.

Cummings, E.M., Merrilees, C.E., & George, M.W. (2010). Fathers, Marriages and Families: Revisiting and Updating the Framework for Fathering in Family Context. In Lamb, M. E. (Ed.). The Role of the Father in Child Development (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ, US: John Wiley and Sons Inc.

George, M.W., Yang, N., Van Horn, M.L., Smith, J., & Jaki, T. (2011). Using Regression Mixture models with non-normal data: Examining an ordered polytomous approach. Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, 83(4), 757-770.

Koss, K.J., George, M.R.W., Bergman, K.N., Cummings, E.M., Davies, P.T., & Cicchetti, D. (2011). Understanding Children’s Emotional Processes and Behavioral Strategies in the Context of Marital Conflict. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109, 336-352.

Cummings, E.M., George, M.R.W., McCoy, K.P., & Davies, P.T. (2012). Interparental Conflict in Kindergarten and Adolescent Adjustment: Prospective Investigation of Emotional Security as an Explanatory Mechanism. Child Development, 83(5), 1703-1715.

George, M.W., Yang, N., Jaki, T., Feaster, D.J., Lamont, A.E., Wilson, D.K. & Van Horn, M.L. (2013) Finite Mixtures for Simultaneously Modeling Differential Effects and Non-normal Distributions. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 48, 816-844.

George, M.W., Taylor, L.K., Schmidt, S.C. & Weist, M.D. (2013) A review of school-based mental health programs in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. Psychiatric Services, 64(5), 483-486.

Koss, K.J., George, M.R.W., Davies, P.T., Cicchetti, D., Cummings, E.M. & Sturge-Apple, M. (2013). Patterns of Children’s Adrenocortical Reactivity to Interparental Conflict and Associations with Child Adjustment: A Growth Mixture Modeling Approach. Developmental Psychology, 49(2), 317-326

George, M.W., Trumpeter, N.N, Wilson, D.K., Weist, M.D., Lasky, H., Schiele, B. & Prinz, R. (2014). Feasibility and Preliminary Outcomes of an Integrated Physical and Mental Health Promotion Intervention in School Mental Health Services. Family & Community Health, 37, 19-30.

George, M.W., McDaniel, H.L., Michael, K.D., & Weist, M.D. (2014). Clinician and Caregiver Perspectives on Family Involvement in School Mental Health Services for Youth Receiving Mood Disorders Treatment. Report on Emotional & Behavioral Disorders in Youth, 14, 16-21.

George, M.W., Fairchild, A.J., Cummings, E.M., & Davies, P.T. (2014). Marital Conflict in Early Childhood and Adolescent Disordered Eating: Emotional Insecurity as an Explanatory Mechanism. Eating Behaviors, 15, 532-539.

Center Affiliations

  • Prevention Research Center

Thematic Research Areas

  • Risk, Resilience, & Developmental Psychopathology
  • Treatment, Intervention, & Prevention Science
  • Emotion, Regulation, & Relational Processes
  • Focus on Methodological Quality