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Melissa L. Bessaha, Ph.D., Assistant Professor


Melissa L. Bessaha, Ph.D.


Ph.D., University of Maryland, (Social Work)
M.S.W., New York University
M.A., Stony Brook University
B.S., Stony Brook University




Social determinants of mental health among emerging adult immigrants; Social isolation and loneliness; Higher education equity; Emerging adult behavioral health services; Program evaluation


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Minority Fellowship Program, provided through the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), 2015 – 2016
University of Maryland, Baltimore: Competitive Innovation Research Award, 2015


Bessaha, M.L., Solis, C., Franks, C., Yoon, J., Dualeh, D., Monroy-Caceres, H., Cuesta, G., & Rodriguez, E. (in press).  Social work in higher education: Internships in opportunity programs. Teaching in Social Work

Bessaha, M.L., Shumway, M., Smith, M.E., & Bright, C.L., & Unick, G.J. (in press). Predictors of hospital length and cost of stay in a national sample of adult patients with psychotic disorders. Psychiatric Services, doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201600312

Bessaha, M. L., Schuler, B.R., & Moon, C.A. (2017). Social workers’ perceptions of training preparedness and social justice norms on workplace empowerment. Journal of Social Service Research, 43(2), 181-192.doi:10.1080/01488376.2016.1226228

Schuler, B.R., Bessaha, M.L., & Moon, C.A. (2016). Addressing secondary traumatic stress in the human services: A comparison of public and private sectors. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership, & Governance, 40(2), 94-106. doi: 10.1080/23303131.2015.1124060

Bessaha, M. L. ,(2015). Factor structure of the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K6) among emerging adults. Research on Social Work Practice.  doi: 10.1177/1049731515594425

Bright, C.L., Young, D., Bessaha, M. L., & Falls, B. (2015). Perceptions and outcomes following teen court involvement.  Social Work Research, 39(3), 135-146. doi: 10.1093/swr/svv018

Klein, D. N. & Bessaha, M. L., (2009). Depressive and self-defeating personality disorders. In T. Millon, P.M. Blaney, & R.D. Davis (Eds.), Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology (pp. 738-751). New York, NY: Oxford University Press



Bessaha, M.L.,
Fedina, L., & Backes, B. (2017, November). Factors associated with sexual assault police reporting and victim service utilization among college-enrolled emerging adults. Symposium at the American Society of Criminology Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

Bessaha, M.L. & Ko, J. (2017, November). Behavioral health among emerging adults: College enrollment status, barriers to seeking services, and service utilization. Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, 8th Biennial Conference, Washington, D.C. 

Bessaha, M.L. & Fedina, L. (2017, November). Sociocultural predictors of psychological help-seeking behaviors among emerging adult immigrants: A systematic review.  Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, 8th Biennial Conference, Washington, D.C.

Bessaha, M.L., Shumway, M., Smith, M., Bright, C. L., & Unick, G. J. (2017, January). Predictors of hospital length and cost of stay in a national sample of adult patients with psychotic disorders. Presented at the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), 21st Annual Conference: Ensure Healthy Development for all Youth, New Orleans, LA. 

Bessaha, M. L., (2016, June).  From digital citizenship to digital leadership: Preparing future college student leaders. Workshop at the CUNY Special Programs Student Leadership Academy: Developing Leaders for a Changing World, Callicoon, NY.

Bessaha, M. L., Bright, C., & Unick, G. J. (2016, January). Predictors of length of hospital stay using a national sample of emerging adult patients with psychotic disorders. Presentation at the Society of Social Work and Research (SSWR), 20th Annual Conference: Grand Challenges for Social work, Washington, D.C.

Bessaha, M. L., Solis, C., Zummo, J., & Alford, S. (2015, April). Paradigms that build and sustain effective SEEK/CD student leadership. Workshop at the Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs in Higher Education 13th Biennial Conference: Bringing the Future into Focus the Shifting Paradigms of Higher Education, Tarrytown, NY.

Bessaha, M. L., Belcher, J., Himelhoch, S., Kreyenbuhl, J., & Unick, G. J. (2014, January). Barriers, attitudes, and capacity for mobile technology adoption in a community ACT provider. Presented at the Society of Social Work Research (SSWR), 19th Annual Conference: The Social and Behavioral Importance of Increased Longevity, New Orleans, LA.