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Melissa Scarpate


Research Associate

E-mail Address


+ 44 (0) 1223 767595


  • MS in Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University, USA
  • PhD in Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University, USA

Membership of Professional Bodies/Associations

  • European Society of Criminology
  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • Society for Research in Adolescence

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Melissa is trained in developmental psychology and family sciences. She is currently conducting a systematic literature review on play development and self-regulation in children. Her PhD focused on testing whether self-regulation continues to develop in children and adolescents (9.5-15.5 years) and whether parenting and puberty (from a neuroscience perspective) affect the development of self-regulation.

Additionally, she is interested and experienced in conducting data analyses (Latent Growth Modelling, SEM, GLM, etc.) on very large, longitudinal data sets that include children, adolescents, and their parents. Prior to completing her PhD, she was appointed the Assistant Director of the Alabama Pre-Kindergarten program, in the Alabama Office of School Readiness, where she worked to ensure children received quality preschool education funded by the state.

Academic Area/Links

  • Psychology and Education

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Research Topics

  • Self-regulation in children/adolescents
  • Parenting and parental effects on children/adolescents
  • Internalizing/externalizing behaviours in adolescents
  • Program evaluation in preschool education
  • Utilization of large, longitudinal data sets
  • Cross-cultural data analyses

Current Research Project(s)

  • ELAPSE project in PEDAL Strand B: Conducting a systematic literature review measures of play playfulness and self-regulation in children from 0 to 3.

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Principal and Recent Publications

Scarpate, J. M. and Vazsonyi, A. T. (in preparation).  The development of self-regulation during mid-childhood through adolescence: Understanding the effects by pubertal changes and parenting.

Scarpate, J. M. (in preparation). The history of early care and education in Alabama.

Vazsonyi, A. T. and Scarpate, J. M. (in preparation). Family processes and problem behaviors in “Black Belt” adolescents.

Vazsonyi, A. T. and Scarpate, J. M. (under review). Revisiting “The exotic enterprise:” The Adolescent Family Process measure in Slovenian, Spanish, Taiwanese, and Turkish youth.

Scarpate, J. M. and Vazsonyi, A. T. (September 2015). On the development of self-control: Maturational versus socialization effects over time. The European Society of Criminology, Porto, Portugal.

Scarpate, J. M. and Vazsonyi, A. T. (March 2010). Developmental links between parental support and self-regulation during adolescence. The Society for Research on Adolescence, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Scarpate, J. M. and Vazsonyi, A. T. (October 2009). The longitudinal effects by pubertal maturation and parenting on the development of self-regulation in adolescence (Canadian NLSCY data set). The Canadian Research Data Centre Conference on Health over the Life Course, London, Ontario, Canada.

Vazsonyi, A. T., Scarpate J. M., and  Huang, L. (2007). Research brief: An evaluation of OSR pre-kindergarten DIBELS scores, Fall 2006.

Vazsonyi, A.T., Scarpate J. M., Huang, L., Chen, P., and Young, M. (2006). Pre-kindergarten in Alabama: A program evaluation, FY 2006.