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Susan J. Kelley


Ph.D. Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA: Developmental and Educational Psychology
M.S. Boston University, Graduate School of Nursing, Boston, MA: Parent-Child Program, Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist Tract
B.S. Boston University, School of Nursing, Boston, MA


Dr. Kelley has spent the majority of her career researching various aspects of child maltreatment, including multigenerational families where grandparents are raising grandchildren. She is the founder and director of Project Healthy Grandparents at Georgia State University, a research/community service program that aids grandparents raising grandchildren in parent-absent homes. To date, Project Healthy Grandparents has served over 900 families, including over 2000 children. The program has also secured over 5 million dollars of federal, state, and private funding.

From 1999 to 2011 Dr. Kelley served as Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Georgia State University.


Whitley, D.M., Lamis, D. & Kelley, S.J. (2016). Mental health stress, family resources and psychological distress: A longitudinal mediation analysis in African American Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren. Journal of Clinical Psychology 72, 563–579 doi:10.1002/jclp.22272.

Whitley, D.M., Kelley, S.J., & Lamis, D. (2016). Depression, social support, and mental health: A longitudinal mediation analysis in younger vs. older African American custodial grandmothers. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 83(2-3), 166-187. DOI: 10.1177/0091415015626550

Kresak, K., Gallager, M., & Kelley, S.J. (2014).  Grandmothers raising grandchildren with disabilities: Sources of support and family quality of life.  Journal of Early Intervention 36, 3-17.

Kelley, S.J., Whitley, D.M. & Campos, P.E. (2013).  Psychological distress in African American grandmothers raising grandchildren: The contribution of child behavior problems, physical health, and family resources.  Research in Nursing & Health 36, pp. 373-385.

Kelley, S.J., Whitley, D.M. & Campos, P.E. (2013). African American caregiving grandmothers: Results of an intervention to improve health indicators and health promotion behaviors. Journal of Family Nursing.

Kelley, S.J., Whitley, D.M. & Campos, P.E. (2011). Behavior problems in children raised by grandmothers: The role of caregiver distress, family resources, and the home environment.Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 2138-2145.

Whitley, D.M., Kelley, S.J., & Campos, P.E. (2011). Perceptions of family empowerment among African American custodial grandmothers raising grandchildren: Thoughts for research and practice. Families in Society: Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 383-389.

Kelley, S.J., Whitley, D.M., & Campos, P.E. (2010) Grandmothers raising grandchildren: Results of an intervention to improve health outcomes. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 42, 379-386.

Kicklighter, J.R., Whitley, D.M., Kelley, S.J., Lynch, J.E., & Melton, T.S. (2009). A home-based nutrition and physical activity intervention for grandparents raising grandchildren: A pilot study.Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly, 28, 188-199.

Whitley, D.M., & Kelley, S.J. (2008). Developmental screening and evaluation results of young African American grandchildren raised by grandparents: Thoughts for research and practice.ARETÊ, 32(1), 38-57.

Kelley, S.J., Whitley, D., & Sipe, T. (2007). Results of an interdisciplinary intervention to improve the well-being and physical functioning of African American grandmothers raising grandchildren. Journal of Intergenerational Relations, 5(3), 45-64.

Kicklighter, J.R., Whitley, D.M., Kelley, S.J., Taube, J., Berry, R., & Shipskie, S. (2007). Grandparents raising grandchildren: A response to a nutrition and physical activity intervention.Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 107(7), 1210-1213.


Kelley, S.J. and Whitley, D.M. (2014).  Kinship care (pp. 96-106).  R.M. Reece, R.F. Hanson & Sargent, J. (Eds.). Treatment of Child Maltreatment, 2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins Press.

Kelley, S. J. (2012). Grandparents raising Grandchildren. J. J. Fitzpatrick & M. Wallace (Eds.),Encyclopedia of nursing research, 3rd ed. New York: Springer Publishing Company, pp. 198-201.

Kelley, S. J. (2011). Theories and research on child maltreatment. In J. Humphreys. & J. Campbell & (Eds.) Family violence and nursing practice2nd ed. (pp. 91-113). New York: Springer.

Kelley, S. J. (2011). Child maltreatment: assessment, practice and intervention. In J. Humphreys & J. Campbell & (Eds.) Family violence and nursing practice.2nd ed. (pp. 253-277). New York: Springer.

Kelley, S. J. (2009). Child maltreatment. In D. Thomas & L. Bernardo (Eds.), Core curriculum for pediatric emergency nursing, 2nd ed. (pp. 555-567). Chicago: Emergency Nurses Association.