Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth headshot photo

Pronouns: She/her

Phone: 765-494-6026


Fowler Memorial House, Room 201
1200 Mitch Daniels Blvd.
West Lafayette

Curriculum Vitae Back to Directory

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth

Distinguished Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Director Emerita, Center for Families; Director, Military Family Research Institute

Courtesy Appointments

Department of Public Health, Center on Aging and the Life Course faculty affiliate

Areas of Expertise

  • Work and family, military families, family stress and transition, and relationship quality and dynamics between intimate partners

HHS Signature Research Area(s)

  • Sustainable Organizations and Thriving Communities

Department of Human Development and Family Science Research Area(s)

  • Health and Well-Being
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Military Families


I’m very interested in understanding how the jobs that people do influence the quality of their family lives, and vice versa.  Military families are especially interesting because they regularly encounter a variety of stressors, but demonstrate great resilience.  Our team is currently conducting studies about how relationships between military members and their partners change after service members return from deployments, how parents’ stress affect parent-child relationships, and the long-term consequences of young children’s exposures to parental deployment.  I’ve also had opportunities to try to affect the policies, programs and practices that affect families by working with employers, policy makers, helping professionals and families themselves; this work has been very challenging but also very rewarding!  I’m honored to be a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations.


Accepting graduate student applications for the December 1, 2023 deadline.


  • Ph.D., 1990, Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.B.A., 1988, Management, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S., 1986, Human Development & Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • B.A.Sc., 1982, Family Studies, Child Studies, University of Guelph, Canada
  • 2000-present, Certified Family Life Educator, National Council on Family Relations


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

  • ADVANCE-Purdue, Bias Awareness and Intervention, Equity NOW, Safe Zone, Horizons program

Current Courses

  • HDFS 60200 - Advanced Family Studies

Selected Publications

  • Coppola, E. C.,G Christ, S. L., Topp, D., Southwell, K., Bailey, K.,G & MacDermid Wadsworth, S. (In press.) Trajectories of depression symptoms during the process of deployment in military couples. Military Psychology.
  • Marini, C. M., Basinger, E. D., Monk, J. K., McCall, C. E.G & MacDermid, S. M. (accepted). Military couples’ experiences in the aftermath of a cancelled deployment. Forthcoming, Family Process
  • MacDermid Wadsworth, S., Topp, D., Broniarczyk, K., Edwards, S. A., Riggs, D., & Hughes, H. (2021). Building community capacity to care for military and veteran families: The Star Behavioral Health Providers program. Advance online, Military Behavioral Health.
  • Wright, B. N.,G MacDermid Wadsworth S., Wellnitz, A, Sternberg M., Eicher-Miller H. A. (2019). Reaching Rural Veterans: A new mechanism to connect rural, low-income U.S. veterans with resources and improve food security. Journal of Public Health, 41, 714-723.
  • Day, E., MacDermid Wadsworth, S., Bogenschneider, K. & Thomas-Miller, J. (2019). When university researchers connect with policy: A framework for whether, when, and how to engage. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 11, 165-180. DOI:10.1111/jftr.12306

Selected Honors/Awards

  • Extraordinary Engagement Faculty Award, Purdue University Center on Aging and the Life Course - 2021
  • Presidential Citation, Society for Military Psychology, American Psychological Association Division 19. - 2019
  • LuAnn Aday Award, Purdue University - 2019
  • Felix Berardo Scholarship Award for Mentoring, National Council on Family Relations. - 2018
  • Named a ‘Top Ten extraordinary contributor’ to work and family research in the world. - 2018

Selected Grants

  • Principal Investigator. Long-term Consequences of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Wartime Deployments. Department of Defense. W81XWH-21-2-0005 (2020-2024) $1,467,673.
  • Principal Investigator. Effects during Adolescence of Early Childhood Exposure to Parental Wartime Deployment. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. R01 HD091373-01 $3,542,361.
  • Investigator. Families Tackling Tough Times Together: Empowering Family Resilience in Indiana’s At Risk Families. Purdue College of Agriculture AG Seed Grant. (Cezanne Elias, Principal Investigator). 2022-2023 $50,000
  • Principal Investigator. Mobilizing Rural Communities to Improve Quality of Life and Promote Opioid Prevention Among Low-Resource Veterans. U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2021-2023. $350,000.
  • Principal Investigator. Extending the Reach of SBHP. Henry M Jackson Foundation. (2020-2021). $499,000.