Prevention Science, University of Oregon
Cohort Eight Fellow

Academic Mentor
Leslie Leve, PhD
Alumni Faculty Professor, College of Education; Associate Director, Prevention Science Institute; and Associate Vice President for Research, University of Oregon

Elizabeth Skowron, PhD
Professor, Counseling Psychology & Prevention Science, University of Oregon

Policy Mentor
Laurie Theodorou, LCSW
Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist, Oregon Health Authority

Areas of Expertise
Prevention Science, Families and Family Systems, Longitudinal Data Analysis


Maria Schweer-Collins is a doctoral student in the Prevention Science Program at the University of Oregon, with a specialization in quantitative research methods. Her primary research interest is using developmental neurobiology to better understand the intergenerational transmission of self-regulation processes in parents and children who have experienced child maltreatment and other forms of early adversity. Specifically, she is interested in exploring parent-child transactions as one mechanism of transmission. In the future, she hopes to use these findings to tailor and adapt effective and scalable interventions that can be integrated into the child welfare service array. Ms. Schweer-Collins earned a MA in Couple and Family Therapy at Bethel University, after which she worked as a home-based mental health counselor in Minneapolis supporting child-welfare involved families, which developed her interest in understanding the neurobiology of parenting at-risk. Currently, she works on the NIH-funded Coaching Alternative Parenting Strategies Study, a randomized controlled trial of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy involving child welfare families.


Using a Differential Response Framework to Examine Process and Outcome of Evidence-Based Parent Coaching with Families At-Risk for Child Maltreatment

Within the differential response framework, families identified at-risk for child maltreatment (CM) are supported with preventative services prior to the onset of costly instances of CM perpetration. It remains unclear if early intervention with these families, before maltreatment occurs and is substantiated, might have incremental benefits in terms of enhancing child well-being through promoting positive parenting. This dissertation will investigate the effectiveness of an evidence-based parent-coaching program for families who have not yet substantiated maltreatment. The hypothesis is that families who receive the parenting intervention will fare better in terms of enhanced positive parenting, reductions in disruptive child behaviors, and in reduced future reports of maltreatment, than those families who receive services as usual under differential response. The conclusions of this study may have implications for program tailoring, cost-effectiveness, and may support policy-makers in implementing the program more widely in tandem with differential response.