Social & Political Sciences

Social & Political Sciences Experts

Emily M Douglas

Professor and Department Head
Social Science & Policy Studies
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
United States of America


I am a full professor and head of the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. In 2016-2017 I was a Congressional fellow in Washington, D.C., dually sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology. In this position, I worked for Senator Ron Wyden (Oregon) and the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on child welfare policy. Prior to my current academic post, I was on the faculty in the School of Social Work at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Massachusetts from 2006-2017. My research focuses on child and family well-being, with a strong focus on policy and programmatic implications. Specifically, my expertise lies in fatal child maltreatment, men who experience female-to-male partner violence and seek help, the child welfare system, divorced families, and corporal punishment. I am also especially interested in the use of research to inform policy-making. I have recently completed a book entitled Child Maltreatment Fatalities in the United States: Four Decades of Policy, Program, and Other Professional Responses. It was released by Springer in August 2016. In 2014, I testified before the U.S. National Commission on the Elimination of Child Abuse & Neglect Fatalities. In 2015, I spoke at the Massachusetts State House as part of the Family Impact Seminar about fatal child maltreatment and the child welfare profession. Dr. Denise Hines and I investigate the health and mental health of men who seek help for partner violence victimization and the health and mental health of their children. Our research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health. In 2013, my co-authored book on corporal punishment, with Drs. Murray Straus and Rose Medeiros, was released: The Primordial Violence: Spanking Children, Psychological Development, Violence, and Crime (Routledge/Francis & Taylor). For the 2010-2011 academic year I was the Presidential Fellow at my institution, which enabled me to spend this time as a visiting research fellow at the internationally known Family Research Laboratory, at the University of New Hampshire, where I conducted a study on the intersection of the child welfare profession and fatal child maltreatment. I am the founder and chair of the former National Research Conference on Child and Family Programs and Policy that was held between 2008-2012 at Bridgewater State University. In my previous positions I was an assistant extension professor at the University of New Hampshire in the Department of Family Studies. I was also co-chair of the 9th International Family Violence Research Conference held in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in July, 2005. Between 2002-2004 I was a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Murray Straus at the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire.

Research Interest

Child maltreatment fataliteis, Child welfare system, Male victims of partner violence (and other under-represented populations), Partner violence and helpseeking, Corporal punishment and parenting, Families of divorce and disruption, Research-to-policy connection


  • Douglas, E. M. & Hines, D. A. (2015). Children’s exposure to partner violence in homes where men seek help for partner violence victimization. Journal of Family Violence, 31(4): 515-525. doi: 10.1007/s10896-015-9783-x.

  • Douglas, E. M. (2015). Using Theory to Examine Fatal Child Maltreatment Among a Sample of Children Known to Child Protective Services. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 9(3): 217-235.

  • Douglas, E. M. and Hines, D.A. (2016). Children whose fathers seek help for partner violence victimization: descriptive characteristics and their behavioral health as compared to a population-based sample. Violence and Victims, 31(2): 251-273.

  • Douglas, E. M. (2016). Testing if social services prevent fatal child maltreatment among a sample of children previously known to child protective services. Child Maltreatment, 21(3): 239-249.

  • Douglas, E. M. (2016). A tribute to Murray A. Straus. Journal of Family Violence, 1-4. doi: 10.1007/s10896-016-9891-2

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