Doreen Arcus, Psychology
Expertise / Activities: Social development of infants and children in the contexts of family, school and community, parenting
Doreen Arcus is interested in the social development of children and youth in the contexts of family, school and community. Her earlier studies of the interaction of infant temperament and maternal style as predictors of social behavior were among the first research findings using observational data to support nature-nurture interactions in children.
More recently, she has focused on the development of children with disabilities through school transitions, the beliefs of educators about these children, and the experience of parents in negotiating this development. She also works closely with the MA Department of Social Services on issues related to the well being of children in foster care, especially those aging out of care.
Arcus began her career as a speech-language pathologist specializing in neurologically based language and articulation disorders in early childhood with a specialization in swallowing and oral-motor dysfunction in children and infants. She worked in public schools, private practice, university clinics, and, just before leaving to return to graduate school, the Massachusetts General Hospital.
Her doctoral work led her back to studies of typically developing children and the biological and social bases of the individual differences they display. She continued this research as a MacArthur post-doctoral fellow and a clinical fellow in psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School.
She arrived at UMass Lowell in 1997 and began a study of temperamental profiles in at risk children. Her research and outreach evolved to focus on children in foster care and children with disabilities, and on the complex overlap between various categories of risk in these complicated children. She has become very interested in community level indices of well being relevant to education, and in the families of children with disability or trauma history.
Arcus served on the Massachusetts Special Education Advisory Council from 1999-2005, chairing the Council from 2003-2005. From 1999-2003, Arcus ran MUMMY, a mentoring program in collaboration with Lowell DSS pairing UML students with teens in foster care and is currently working to resurrect that program. In 2005, she began directing the UMass Lowell Honors Program and she serves on the Institutional Review Board.
She teaches courses in research methods and child development.