Clinical Psychology, University of Oregon
Cohort Six Fellow

Academic Mentor
Phil Fisher
Director of Clinical Training/Philip H. Knight Chair/Professor, Psychology Department, University of Oregon

Policy Mentor
Marcia Moriarta
Professor, Executive Director and Division Chief, University of New Mexico Department of Pediatrics, University of New Mexico Center for Development and Disability

Current Institutional Association
Drs. Antonia Forster and Michael Fulop Private Practive

Areas of Expertise

Child Welfare and Foster Care Systems, Evidence-Based/Evidence-Informed Programs, Implementation Science, Maternal Health, Prevention Science, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Regression Modeling, Structural Equation Models, Infants and Toddlers, Low-Income Families and Individuals, Preschool-aged Children


Melissa Yockelson is a student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Oregon. Her research in Dr. Phil Fisher’s Stress, Neurobiology, and Prevention Lab focuses on the use of a strength based video coaching program to target the prevention of child maltreatment by reducing parenting stress and increasing maternal responsiveness in high risk samples. Ms. Yockelson seeks to inform policy and practice by identifying scalable prevention programs that can be widely disseminated and through identifying how to best support parents in improving child outcomes. Ms. Yockelson is currently engaged in clinical work at Oregon Community Programs, providing evidence based treatment to families involved with Child Welfare. Ms. Yockelson holds an MS from the University of Oregon. Prior to graduate school, Ms. Yockelson graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Whitman College.


Using a Strength-Based Video Coaching Program to Promote Positive Parenting Practices and Prevent Child Maltreatment

Low-income children are at a greater risk for being maltreated by their caregivers. Two possible mechanisms to explain this association are increased stress related to parenting and contextual factors that decrease parents’ ability to be responsive. The purpose of this dissertation is to assess whether intervening to both reduce mothers’ parenting stress and increase responsiveness may be effective in preventing child maltreatment in low-income samples. This dissertation utilizes a pilot randomized waitlist control trial of a strength-based video-coaching program to assess parenting stress and responsiveness as proximal intervention outcomes in low-income mothers. Specifically, this study is interested in assessing maternal use of language, using innovative technology, as a specific form of responsiveness due to its association with important child outcomes.