Major in Psychology - Child Life

Bachelor of Science Degree • School of Health Professions
and Education

Psychology-Child Life Major


Jo Ellen Vespo, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Psychology-Child Life

Phone: (315) 792-3283
Office: 202 Faculty Center


"My inspiration for being involved in the Psychology - Child Life program was that it allowed me to combine my interest in research and clinical application, while simultaneously giving me the ability to share and apply that information in the field. The program allowed me to impress on students the importance of that combination of doing research, then applying that knowledge in the field."

- Jo Ellen Vespo



  • Ph.D. Developmental Psychology,
    State University of N.Y. at Stony Brook, 1985.
  • M.A. Community/Clinical Psychology, University of Maryland at Baltimore County, 1980.
  • B.A. Psychology/Sociology, State University of N.Y. at Stony Brook (with High Honors), 1978.

Research/Professional Accomplishment

My research focuses on early social development, particularly sibling and peer relationships. Since 1983, I have many publications and presentations regarding friendship formation and conflict resolution in close relationships. Currently I serve as a consultant to school districts and community agencies regarding the implementation and evaluation of wellness programs. I also act as a consultant in bully prevention programs. In addition to teaching, research, and community service, one of my most important roles is as an academic advisor to my students. In May, 2000 I was the first to receive the Award for Excellence in Academic Advising.


My teaching focuses on child growth and development and the application of developmental theory to children and families in stressful situations.

Four examples of such classes include:
PSY 321: Infancy and Childhood
PCL 377: Children Under Stress
PCL 375: Death, Dying, and Bereavement
PSY 311: Psychological Assessment and Testing

Publications and Presentations

Examples include:

Presentation Ashmore, G. &Vespo, J. Perceptions of family functioning: Views across the lifespan. Oxford Round Table, England, July 27, 2005.

Publication Vespo, J., Capece, D., Behforooz, B. (2006). Effects of the Nurturing Curriculum on social, emotional, and academic behaviors in kindergarten classrooms. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 20, 275-286.

Publication Hay, D. F., Vespo, J. & Zahn-Waxler, C. (1998). Young children's quarrels with their siblings and mothers: Links with maternal depression and bipolar illness. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 16, 519-538.

Professor Vespo's C.V.



Patrice W. Hallock, Ph.D.
Chair, Educator Preparation & Psych-Child Life
Library Concourse

(315) 792-3815
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(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502