Clinical Child Psychology, University of Kansas
Cohort Eight Fellow

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Academic Mentor
Yo Jackson, PhD
Professor of Clinical Child Psychology, Pennsylvania State University
Associate Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Policy Mentor
Omar Gudino, PhD
Assistant Professor of Clinical Child Psychology, University of Kansas

Areas of Expertise
Parenting, Trauma, Longitudinal Data Analysis


Stephanie Gusler is a doctoral student in Clinical Child Psychology at the University of Kansas. Her primary research focus is on mechanisms, such as appraisals of adversity and emotion regulation, that may help explain the intergenerational continuity of adversity from parent to child. Ms. Gusler hopes to implement research that can be used to inform interventions for parents who experienced childhood maltreatment, to help prevent the continuation of adversity for their children. Ms. Gusler completed her BS in Psychology at Radford University, where she conducted independent research on college female’s experience of childhood poly-victimization. After completing her undergraduate degree, she completed her MA in Psychology at Wake Forest University, where she interned with a child abuse prevention agency. She currently works as the programming director for her advisor’s federally-funded longitudinal research innovative examining preschoolers’ adjustment and intergenerational risk of trauma exposure and is working on a program evaluation for a trauma-informed service for preschoolers and their parents.


Mechanisms underlying the association between parents’ childhood maltreatment on their children’s current experience of family dysfunction

Although the association between parents’ childhood maltreatment and indicators of their children’s family dysfunction (e.g., parental divorce/separation, substance abuse, mental illness, interpersonal violence, incarceration, and household instability) is established, research has not yet examined mechanisms of this association. Given that research has consistently found that exposure to childhood maltreatment is associated with later emotion dysregulation in adulthood, and that emotion dysregulation has been correlated with variables of family dysfunction, it could be that emotion dysregulation mediates this association. However, not all parents who experience childhood maltreatment evidence emotional dysregulation, and the proposed study predicts that parents’ appraisals of stressful life events from their childhood will explain why some parents exposed to childhood maltreatment evidence more dysregulation than others. Drawing participants from an ongoing federally funded research initiative, the proposed study will longitudinally identify risk factors for children’s experience of adversity and mechanisms to be targeted in intervention and prevention efforts.