Applied Developmental Science, Colorado State University
Cohort Seven Fellow


Academic Mentor
David MacPhee, PhD
Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Colorado State University and Colorado State University School of Public Health

Policy Mentor
Taylor Bishop Scott, PhD
Research Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University; Coordinator, Research-to-Policy Collaboration

Areas of Expertise
Early Childhood Education and Initiatives, Resiliency, Low-Income Families and Individuals


Sarah Prendergast is an Applied Developmental Science doctoral candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Colorado State University. As an applied developmental scientist, the focus of her work is to assess mechanisms that promote the school readiness of children and foster the resilience of families from low-income, high-risk environments. Ms. Prendergast is also interested in using applied developmental science to inform and evaluate the effects of social policies on child development. This interest was informed through her work as an intern during the Colorado legislative session. Ms. Prendergast received her BS in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her MS in Family and Developmental Studies at Colorado State University.


Latent Profiles and Trajectories of Family Resilience: A Strengths-Based Approach to Child Maltreatment Prevention and Promotion of Early Achievement

Foundational research has revealed several factors that place families at elevated risk for child maltreatment. However, less is known regarding a family’s resilience to child maltreatment. A more nuanced understanding of processes related to family resilience – a family’s ability to withstand and rebound from adversities – among at-risk families is necessary to guide national prevention efforts towards more strengths-based and tailored approaches. This dissertation will use latent profile analysis and growth mixture modeling to assess (a) profiles of family resilience among families at-risk for child maltreatment; (b) developmental trajectories of family resilience, as well as factors that predict and moderate the trajectories; and (c) to what extent early family resilience is related to children’s kindergarten achievement. Findings will inform the field of family resilience typologies and describe how families at-risk for child maltreatment tend to function over time, both of which will contribute to child maltreatment program and policy development