Maria LaRusso, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor (Affiliate)

Human Development and Family Sciences

Research Overview

  • New childhood epidemics influencing behavior and social-emotional well-being
  • Clinical and school-based interventions to support social and emotional development/well-being of children and adolescents
  • Variation in relationships and social climate within school settings
  • Youth risk behaviors
  • Integration of quantitative and qualitative methods.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Awarded by the American Psychological Association and the Institute of Education Sciences, University of Pennsylvania and New York University

Ph.D., Human Development and Psychology, Harvard University

M.Ed., Human Development and Psychology, Harvard University

B.S., Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University

Recent Publications


Featured Publications

LaRusso, M., Kim, H. Y., Selman, R., Uccelli, P., Dawson, T., Jones, S., Donovan, S., & Snow, C. (in press). Contributions of academic language, perspective taking, and complex reasoning to deep reading comprehension. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.

LaRusso, M. D., & Selman, R. L. (2011). Early adolescent health risk behaviors, conflict resolution strategies, and school climate. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

LaRusso, M. D., Brown, J. L., Jones, S. M., & Aber, J. L. (2009). School context and micro-contexts: The complexity of studying school settings. In L. M. Dinella (Ed.), Conducting psychology research in school-based settings: A practical guide for researchers conducting high quality science within school environments. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

LaRusso, M. D., Romer, D., & Selman, R. L. (2008). Teachers as builders of respectful school climates: Implications for adolescent drug use norms and depressive symptoms in high school. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 37 (4) (2008): 386–398.


Contact Information
Mailing AddressFamily Studies Building, Storrs CT, 06279