ALYSSE MELVILLE LOOMIS
Social Work, University of Connecticut
Cohort Seven Fellow
alysse.melville@uconn.edu

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Academic Mentor
Cristina Wilson
Associate Professor, University of Connecticut School of Social Work

Policy Mentor
Judith Meyers
President & CEO, Child Health and Development Institute

Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education and Initiatives, Families and Family Systems, Home Visiting and Maltreatment Prevention, Latent Growth Curve Modeling, Structural Equation Models, Infants and Toddlers, Preschool-aged Children, School-aged Children, Infant Mental Health

BIOGRAPHY

Alysse Melville Loomis, LCSW is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on exploring the mechanisms through which early childhood maltreatment impacts child and adult outcomes and identifying the role that schools and teachers play in buffering the adverse effects of maltreatment and preventing future child maltreatment. Prior to attending the University of Connecticut, Alysse worked as a clinician for an evidence-based, early childhood maltreatment prevention model developed in the state of Connecticut. Alysse holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S.W in Social Work, both from the University of Connecticut.

DISSERTATION

The possibilities of preschool as a protective factor to prevent child abuse and neglect: The role of teachers and parents in supporting early self-regulation and child wellbeing

Preschool settings provide rich opportunities to support the socio-emotional growth of maltreated children and intervene with at-risk families within existing systems of care. Self-regulation has been conceptualized as a bidirectional construct of socio-emotional health, including both reactive and responsive processes linked to monitoring and controlling of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts. Little is known about the mechanisms through which early childhood maltreatment impacts self-regulation in preschoolers, nor how contextual factors within preschools can support maltreated children and at-risk families. This longitudinal dissertation seeks to: (1) utilize a bidirectional framework to investigate the association between maltreatment and components of self-regulation in a high-risk, urban preschool sample; (2) examine how student-teacher relationship quality influences development of self-regulation for maltreated preschoolers; and (3) explore parent-teacher relationships as potential intervention points for preventing child abuse and neglect. Findings will contribute valuable information on engagement and support of maltreated children and at-risk caregivers within the educational setting.