Center Research Faculty

Janet Welsh

Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 1994

Research Assistant Professor of Health and Human Development

Senior Research Associate, Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development

Program Areas: Family Science & Intervention; School-based Prevention Research;

Translation, Dissemination & Implementation

Contact Information

320H Biobehavioral Health Building


Phone: 814-865-3691
Fax: 814-865-6004

Playing Well With Others (June 2010)

Penn State Outreach Multimedia Extra

Web   Video (YouTube)

Research Interests

Early language development and its relationship to social competence, and the impact of various aspects of the school ecology on students’ behavioral and academic adjustment.

Examples of Current Prevention Projects

FOCUS on Learning

National Institutes of Health

Start Date: 2009

Project Web Sites: Prevention Research Center

Child Study Center

FOCUS on Learning aims to test interventions designed to improve the academic and social adjustment of young children who enter school low in reading readiness. Children are identified in kindergarten and assigned to one of two intervention conditions. In the first group,  parents receive packets of learning games and materials that are mailed home to them periodically. These include instructions for how to use them at home.

Partnership Model for Diffusion of Proven Prevention
National Institutes of Health
Start Date: 2001
Project Web Site:

This project assesses the effectiveness of a model for the diffusion of empirically validated prevention programs focused on adolescent substance abuse and mental health. The project is being conducted in 14 communities in Iowa and Pennsylvania.

Head Start (Head Start REDI––Research-based, Developmentally Informed)
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Start Date: 2003

This project will evaluate the impact of infusing current Head Start programs with social-emotional support curricula (Preschool PATHS) and language and emergent literacy skill support curricula. A randomized trial will examine the impact on child school readiness at the end of Head Start and on adjustment and achievement in kindergarten and first grade.

Recent Publications

Welsh, J. A., & Domitrovich, C. E. (2006). The Safe Schools, Healthy Students Initiative in rural Pennsylvania. In S. Jimerson & M. Furlong (Eds.), Handbook of violence and school safety (pp. 511–524). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Gest, S. D., Holland-Coviello, R. H., Welsh, J. A., Eicher-Catt, D., & Gill, S. (2006). Language development sub-contexts in Head Start classrooms: Varying cognitive challenges in free play, mealtime and book reading contexts. Early Education & Development, 17, 293–315.

Welsh, J. A., Viana, A. G., Petrill, S. A., & Mathias, M. D. (2007). Interventions for internationally adopted children and families: A review of the literature. Journal of Child and Adolescent Social Work, 24, 285–311.

Gest, S. D., Davidson, A. J., Rulison, K. L., Moody, J., & Welsh, J. A. (2007). Features of groups and status hierarchies in girls’ and boys’ early adolescent peer networks. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 118, 43–60.

Welsh, J. A., Viana, A. G., Petrill, S. A., & Mathias, M. D. (2008). Ready to adopt: Characteristics and expectations of pre-adoptive families pursuing international adoptions. Adoption Quarterly, 11, 176–203.

Welsh, J. A., Nix, R. L., Blair, C., Bierman, K. L., & Nelson, K. E. (2010). The development of cognitive skills and gains in academic school readiness in children from low-income families. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102, 43–53.

Viana, A. G., & Welsh, J. A. (2010). Correlates and predictors of parenting stress among internationally adopting mothers: A longitudinal investigation. International Journal of Behavior and Development.

Gest, S. D., Rulison, K. L., Davidson, A. J., Welsh, J. A., & Domitrovich, C. E. (2010). Children’s academic reputations among peers: Longitudinal associations with academic self-concept, effort and performance. Developmental Psychology.

Davidson, A. J., Gest, S. D.,  & Welsh, J. A. (2010). Relatedness with teachers and peers during early adolescence:  An integrated variable-oriented and person-oriented approach. Journal of School Psychology, 48(6), 483–510. [PDF]

Rulison, K. L., Gest, S. D., Loken, E., & Welsh, J. A. (2010). Rejection, feeling bad, and being hurt: Sex differences in the developmental sequelae of affiliating with aggressive peers. Journal of Adolescence, 33(6), 787–800. [PDF]