Mary Bower Russa

Mary Bower Russa

Department Chair

Professor - Clinical/Child Abuse/Health Psychology

  • B.S., Michigan State University
  • M.A., Ph.D., University of Iowa

Pew Teaching Excellence Award 2019

Outstanding Advising and Student Services Award 2015

Office: 2229 Au Sable Hall

Phone: (616) 331-2907

Email: [email protected] 



Pew Teaching Excellence Award 2019

Outstanding Advising and Student Services Award 2015


 Adult Clinical (including Health Psych and Forensic Psych), Parenting and Child maltreatment, Cross-cultural

Courses Taught

PSY 303 - Psychopathology

PSY 367 - Health Psychology

PSY 368 - Psychology of Physical Disabilities

PSY 668 - Health Profession Disability Psychology

Research Interests

My research focuses primarily on issues related to parenting and specifically,  perpetration of child maltreatment.  Most of my early work looked at risk factors for physical abuse perpetration, with a heavy focus on measurement issues and development of instruments to be used to more effectively examine the multiplicity of factors that may interplay to influence risk for abuse perpetration.  I have also explored and published regarding the challenges of parenting children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the range of supports and services that could facilitate parenting.  Most recently, I am collaborating with Professor Dueker and a clinical practice that does Competency to Parent forensic evaluations for parents in Kent County who are referred by the Department of Human Services due to child maltreatment.  We are examining psychosocial characteristics of maltreating parents, as well as predictors of termination of parental rights.  Over the next several years, we plan to merge our clinical assessment data with data from the Kent County courts and the foster-care system to provide a more comprehensive view of the parents and the children who are affected by termination of parents rights.  Our overarching goal with this project is to increase our understanding of this population in order to identify and improve interventions designed to reduce the risk for child maltreatment and parent termination.  I am also a collaborator with an international team doing research on cross cultural influences in risk for violence and aggression.  

Recent Publications

Mylonas, K., Lawrence, C., Frangistas, I., Russa, M. B., Papozoglou, S., Papachristou, I., & Zajenkowska, A. (In Press). Greek standardization of the Situational Triggers of Aggressive Responses (STARGR): factorial structure and methodological considerations. International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice, Consultation.

Dueker, G., Russa, M. B. & Kieliszewski, J. (Under Revision). Child maltreatment and intergenerational transmission of trauma.

Kenyon, L, Krajenka, V. M.*, Lach, K*. VanBeek, H.*, Williams B., & Russa, M. B. (2020). Motivate-to-move? Development of an intervention promotion parental adherence to early power mobility programs. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. https://doi/org/10.1080/17483107.2020.1841310.

Zajenkowska, A., Russa, M. B., Skrzypek, M., Rogoza, R., Park, J., Jasielska. D. (In Press). Cultural influences on social information processing: Hostile attributions in the US, Poland and Japan. Journal of Personality Assessment

Jasielska, D., Rogoza, R., Russa, M. B., Park, J., Zajenkowska, A. (2020).  Happiness and Hostile Attributions in a Cross-Cultural Context: The Importance of Interdependence.  Journal of Happiness Studies.
doi/org/ 10.1007/s10902-020-00224-w

Jasielska, D., Rogoza, R., Zajenkowska, A. & Russa, M. B. (2019).  General Trust Scale: Validation in cross-cultural settings. Current Psychology.

Mylonas, K., Lawrence, C., Zajenkowska, A., Russa, M.B. (2016).  The Situational Triggers of Aggressive Responses scale in five countries: Factor structure and country clustering solutions. Personality and Individual Differences, 104, 172-179. 
Rodriguez, C. M., Russa, M. B. & Kircher, J. C. (2015).  Analog assessment of frustration tolerance:  Association with self-reported child abuse risk and physiological reactivity.  Child Abuse and Neglect, 46, 121-131.  
Dominiak-Kochanek, M., Konopka, K., Russa, M. B., & Fraczek, A. (2015).  Harsh discipline and readiness for interpersonal aggression in Poland and the USA: The mediating role of sensitivity to provocations and frustrations.  Polish Psychological Bulletin, 46, 542-554.   
Russa, M. B., Matthews, M. & Owen-Deschryver, J. (2015).  Expanding Supports to Improve the Lives of Families of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Journal of Positive Behavior Intervention, 17, 95-104.   

Page last modified February 22, 2024