Stella Resko

Stella Resko

Associate Professor and C.A.D.A.S. Coordinator

(313) 577-4445

Stella Resko


Stella M. Resko joined the faculty of Wayne State University in 2009 at the Merrill-Palmer Skillman Institute and the School of Social Work. She received her Ph.D. in Social Work in 2007 from the Ohio State University and completed a two year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan Addiction Research Center (T32 award funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism 2007-2009). During her post-doctoral training, Dr. Resko worked on interdisciplinary research teams for two randomized trials designed to develop and test the effectiveness of brief interventions addressing substance use and violence perpetration among adolescents. In addition, Dr. Resko has previously worked at a community-based drug and alcohol treatment program on several national multi-site studies that were part of the NIDA Clinical Trials Network. Her current research interests focus on substance abuse treatment and prevention, violence (i.e. youth violence, adolescent dating violence, and intimate partner/domestic violence) and sexual risk taking behaviors among adolescents and adult women. Specifically, she is interested in how different risk behaviors (e.g. substance use, violence, and sexual risk taking) are interrelated and how substance use (e.g. alcohol) contributes to adverse health outcomes including sexual risk taking and violent behaviors. Guided by a socio-ecologic framework, Dr. Resko is particularly interested in urban, low income communities as well as the role of neighborhood and community level influences (e.g. poverty, crime, alcohol outlet density) on risk taking behaviors.

Click here to view Curriculum Vitae

Degrees and Certifications

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Michigan Addiction Research Center
  • Ph.D., Social Work, Ohio State University
  • M.S.W., Ohio State University
  • B.S.S.W., Ohio State University

Teaching Interests

  • Social research
  • Social welfare policy

Areas of Expertise


  • Community-based intervention and prevention research
  • Advanced quantitative methods (e.g. latent variable and multilevel models)


  • Adolescents
  • Women
  • Families


  • Substance abuse prevention and treatment
  • Youth violence
  • Adolescent dating violence and intimate partner violence
  • Sexual risk taking behaviors
  • Motivational interviewing and brief interventions

Research Project

Public Attitudes and Perceptions of Substance Use among Urban Adolescents

Dr. Resko received assistance from Wayne State University's Center for Urban Studies to conduct a statewide survey of public perceptions and attitudes toward alcohol and marijuana use among adolescents. For this study she adapted a vignette technique to examine public attitudes and perceptions of alcohol and marijuana use among adolescents. Adult participants were asked a series of questions addressing their perception of problem severity, belief in treatment efficacy, and support for alcohol and marijuana use treatment and prevention efforts. Adolescents rarely enter into substance abuse treatment independently and this study addresses existing knowledge gaps on how adults evaluate the severity and treatment options associated with adolescent substance use problems.

The Emotional Impact of Conducting Quantitative and Qualitative Research on Trauma

The purpose of this study is to conduct semi-structured qualitative interviews that examine the emotional challenges of conducting trauma research. Specifically, this study is examining research team members (e.g. interviewers, research assistants, and study clinicians) experiences working directly with participants, self-care and coping strategies to deal with the emotionally charged content, and the impact of the studies quantitative, qualitative, or mixed-method orientation on their experiences. Insights from this study may potentially benefit other researchers and students studying trauma and other emotionally sensitive topics.

Substance Use Among Adolescents Involved in the Child Welfare System

Using the National Survey on Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW) I and II data, Dr. Resko is currently examining substance use patterns and correlates among adolescents involved in the child welfare system. Her recent work has examined solitary substance use among adolescents involved in the child welfare system and the role of depression, PTSD, and social relationships.

Understanding the Context and Motivations for Substance Use and Violence Among Urban Adolescents

In collaboration with colleagues from the University of Michigan (Dr. Maureen Walton from Psychiatry and Dr. Rebecca Cunningham from Emergency Medicine and Public Health), Dr. Resko is examining the social context and motivations related to substance use (e.g., alcohol, marijuana and other drugs) and violence (e.g., youth violence/fighting, weapon carrying and dating violence) among urban adolescents. Data for this project were collected as part of a larger randomized controlled trial of a brief intervention addressing substance use and violence among adolescents seeking treatment in the Emergency Department (SafERteens).

For further details on other research, see Center for Social Work Research:

Office Location

5447 Woodward Ave, #073

Courses Taught

SW 4810 Research Methods, Data Analysis, and Practice Evaluation II

SW 9300 Applied Regression Analysis and Generalized Linear Models

Grand Challenges Project

Protecting Youth from Substance Misuse
Resko and Assistant Professor Suzanne Brown provide content expertise and consult on methods and measures for The Partnership for Sucess, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administartion grant through which high-need countries are targeted for prevention coalition development and evidence-based practices to reduce underage drinking and prescription use. Elizabeth Agius, manager of community partnerships, provides the evaluation, technical assistance and data collection assistance for the Partnership. Students assist with project management, data, and literature searches. Learn more

Helping Older Foster Youth Achieve Permanency
With funding from Southfield, Michigan-based Spaulding for Children, Resko, Associate Professor Debra Patterson and University of Washington Assistant Professor Angelique Day are collaborating on a state-of-the-art training program for these parents with ChildTrauma Academy, The Center for Adoption Support and Education, and the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Resko, Patterson and Day have been asked to identify the knowledge, skills and attitudes that resource parents need when caring for adolescents with severe behavioral health challenges. These competencies will be used to develop the curriculum for the training, the goal of which is to reduce foster parent turnover and increase the number of adoptive homes that are prepared to receive and provide permanency and stability to older foster youth. Learn more

Technology-based Treatments for Alcohol Use Disorders
Resko and Assistant Professors Suzanne Brown and Jamey Lister are part of a team studying the considerable opportunities for leveraging technology in the delivery of evidence-based intervention and prevention services to address alcohol misuse. With colleagues from Wayne State’s Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development and the University of Michigan, they are promoting information and communication technologies that include web-based tools, interventions on mobile devices, online counseling and support groups, gaming, and text messaging support, as well as computerized feedback on alcohol use during therapist-delivered interventions. Their work was presented in a special issue of the Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions focused on the alcohol misuse Grand Challenge. Learn more

Improving Help-Seeking Experiences
In 2012, Resko, Associate Professor Debra Patterson and the International Association of Forensic Nursing were awarded nearly $1.5 million by the National Institute of Justice to develop, administer and evaluate a blended online national training for sexual assault forensic examiner (SAFE) programs, which include specialized medical care and medical forensic exams by trained nurses and crisis intervention by skilled advocates, across the United States.

Most recently, Resko and Patterson are collaborating with Turning Point of Macomb County to evaluate the effectiveness of using mobile technology to meet the acute needs of survivors and studying help-seeking needs specific to Latinas with Southwest Detroit’s LA VIDA Partnership. For this community participatory research project, which has received $350,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women, Patterson and Resko will examine the formal and informal supports and strategies Latina survivors use to cope and evaluate whether LA VIDA’s culturally specific services meet their needs. Learn more

150 years in the heart of Detroit