Joshua Mersky, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Department of Social Work,
1177 Enderis Hall (414) 229-0522

MerskyDr. Mersky joined the faculty in 2006 after earning a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  His research focuses on three related areas: (a) etiology and sequelae of child maltreatment, (b) predictors and pathways to dysfunction and resilience, and (c) design and evaluation of prevention programs and early interventions for vulnerable children and families.

Dr. Mersky is the principal investigator of several current projects, including:

Western Wisconsin Collaborative for Children’s Safety and Permanence: a 5-year evaluation project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which allies state, county, and tribal partners to promote the safety and permanency of children with caregivers who abuse alcohol or other drugs.

Project Connect:  a 2-year study funded by the National Institutes of Health that aims to test the efficacy of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy using group-based and in-home training with foster families.

Developing Home Visiting in Wisconsin through Shared Practice and Mentoring: a 2-year project funded by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration designed to expand and evaluate evidence-based home visitation programs across the state.

Dr. Mersky is also an affiliated researcher on the Chicago Longitudinal Study (Dr. Arthur Reynolds, PI), a prospective panel investigation of more than 1,500 economically disadvantaged African Americans and Latinos who attended the Chicago Public Schools.   http://www.cehd.umn.edu/icd/cls/

Dr. Mersky teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Human Development & Behavior, a graduate course in Trauma Counseling, and a doctoral seminar in Philosophy of Science.

Selected Publications

Mersky, J. P., Topitzes, J., & Reynolds, A. J. (In Press). Unsafe at any age: Linking childhood and adolescent maltreatment to delinquency and crime. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.

Mersky, J. P., Topitzes, J., & Reynolds, A. J. (2011). Maltreatment prevention through early childhood intervention: A confirmatory evaluation of the Chicago Child-Parent Center preschool program. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1454-1463.

Begun, A. L., & Mersky, J. P. (2011). Sibling relationships and out-of-home care. In J. Caspi (Ed.) Sibling relationships in practice: Cultural and environmental influences. Springer Publishing.

Mersky, J. P., & Topitzes, J. (2010). Comparing early adult outcomes of maltreated and non-maltreated children: A prospective longitudinal investigation. Children and Youth Services Review, 32, 1086-1096.

Topitzes, J., Mersky, J. P., & Reynolds, A. J. (2010). Child maltreatment and adult cigarette smoking: A long-term developmental model. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 35(5), 484-498.

Mersky, J. P., Topitzes, J., & Reynolds, A. J. (2009). Chronic neglect: Prediction and prevention. Protecting Children, 24, 67-77.

Topitzes, J., Godes, O., Mersky, J. P., Ceglarek, S., & Reynolds, A. J. (2009). Educational success and adult health: Findings from the Chicago Longitudinal Study. Prevention Science, 10(2), 175-195.

Mersky, J. P., Berger, L. M., Reynolds, A. J., & Gromoske, A. N. (2009). Risk factors for child and adolescent maltreatment: A longitudinal investigation of a cohort of inner-city youth. Child Maltreatment, 14(1),73-88.

Reynolds, A. J. & Mersky, J. P. (2008). Collaboration between education and social work to improve outcomes for urban youth. In D. Lindsey (Ed.), Child Welfare Research, New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Mersky, J. P., & Reynolds, A. J. (2007). Child maltreatment and violent delinquency: Disentangling main effects and subgroup effects. Child Maltreatment, 12, 246-258.

Reynolds, A. J. Temple, J. A., Ou, S., Robertson, D. L., Mersky, .J. P., Topitzes, J. & Niles, M. D. (2007). Effects of a school-based, early childhood intervention on adult health and well being: A 19-year follow up of low-income families. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 161,730-739.

Mersky, J. P., & Reynolds, A. J. (2007). Predictors of early childbearing: Evidence from the Chicago Longitudinal Study. Children and Youth Services Review, 29, 35-52.