People

Malitta Engstrom, PhD

  • Associate Professor

3701 Locust Walk, Caster Building, D-16
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6214
  • office: 215.573.6454
  • fax: 215.573.2099

Research Interests

Problematic substance use and intersections with criminal justice system involvement, victimization, HIV, and mental health, particularly in relation to women across the life course and families

Informing, developing, and testing interventions to address co-occurring concerns

Enhancing the value of scientific findings for use in practice

Multigenerational social work practice with families

Malitta Engstrom is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice. Her research focuses on problematic substance use and intersections with criminal justice involvement, victimization, HIV, and mental health, particularly in relation to women across the life course and families; informing, developing, and testing interventions to address these intersecting concerns; and enhancing the value of scientific findings for use in practice. Her scholarship aims to advance understanding of complex relationships between substance use, criminal justice involvement, and co-occurring concerns and to strengthen available services for individuals, partners, and families. Dr. Engstrom’s research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Penn Center for AIDS research, and other sources.

In addition to her empirical work, Dr. Engstrom’s scholarship includes the development of multisystemic conceptual frameworks to inform clinical research, education, and practice in interconnected fields, including substance use, family processes, and physical and mental health. Her work in this area includes contributions to edited books that are used around the globe, Normal Family Processes, 4th edition (edited by Froma Walsh) and Handbook of Health Social Work (edited by Sarah Gehlert and Teri Arthur Browne).

Dr. Engstrom has taught social work practice courses for nearly 15 years, including courses that focus on foundation practice, substance use practice, and practice with families experiencing physical and mental health concerns. She received the Excellence in Teaching Award for Standing Faculty in the School of Social Policy & Practice in 2014 and 2015. Her teaching and scholarship are informed by numerous years of practice experience with individuals, couples, families, and groups and by her experience as a clinical supervisor and field instructor.

Before joining the SP2 faculty, Dr. Engstrom held appointments at the University of Chicago and Columbia University. She received her PhD in social work with distinction from the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where, as an NIMH National Research Service Awardee, she focused on mental health services research. Dr. Engstrom also holds a master’s degree in social work from the Columbia University School of Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She received her undergraduate degree from Brown University with an AB in educational studies (with honors) and in women’s studies.

Selected Publications

Wimberly, A., & Engstrom, M. (Accepted). Stress, substance use, and yoga in the context of community reentry following incarceration. Journal of Correctional Health Care.

Engstrom, M., Wimberly, A., & Franke, N. (2017). Mass incarceration: What’s at stake and what to do. In J. L. Jackson, Jr. (Ed.), Social policy and social justice (pp. 20-41). Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Engstrom, M., Winham, K. M., & Gilbert, L. (2016). Types and characteristics of childhood sexual abuse: How do they matter in HIV sexual risk behaviors among women in methadone treatment in New York City? Substance Use & Misuse, 51(3), 277-294.

Golder, S., Engstrom, M., Hall, M. T., Higgins, G., & Logan, T. K. (2015). Psychological distress among victimized women on probation and parole: A latent class analysis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(4), 382-391.

Winham, K. M., Engstrom, M., Golder, S., Renn, T., Higgins, G. E., & Logan, T. K. (2015). Childhood victimization, attachment, psychological distress and substance use among women on probation and parole. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85(2), 145-158.

Golder, S., Hall, M. T., Engstrom, M., Higgins, G. E., & Logan, T. K. (2014). Correlates of recent drug use among victimized women on probation and parole. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(4), 1105-1116.

Canada, K. E., Engstrom, M., & Jang, E. (2014). Psychosocial and re-incarceration risks among older adults in mental health courts. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 22(8), 845-849.

Engstrom, M., El-Bassel, N., & Gilbert, L. (2012). Childhood sexual abuse characteristics, intimate partner violence exposure, and psychological distress among women in methadone treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43(3), 366-376.

Engstrom, M. (2012). Family processes in kinship care. In F. Walsh (Ed.), Normal family processes: Growing diversity and complexity (4th ed., pp. 196-221). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Engstrom, M. (2012). Physical and mental health: Interactions, assessment, and interventions. In S. Gehlert and T. Arthur Browne (Eds.), Handbook of health social work (2nd edition, pp. 164-218). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Engstrom, M., Mahoney, C. A., & Marsh, J. C. (2012). Substance use problems in health social work practice. In S. Gehlert and T. Arthur Browne (Eds.), Handbook of health social work (2nd edition, pp. 426-467). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Engstrom, M., Shibusawa, T., El-Bassel, N., & Gilbert, L. (2011). Age and HIV sexual risk among women in methadone treatment. AIDS and Behavior, 15(1), 103-113.

Lee, H. S., Engstrom, M., & Petersen, S. R. (2011). Harm reduction and 12 steps: Complementary, oppositional, or something in-between? Substance Use & Misuse, 46(9), 1151-1161.

Engstrom, M. (2008). Involving caregiving grandmothers in family interventions when mothers with substance use problems are incarcerated. Family Process, 47(3), 357-371.

Engstrom, M., El-Bassel, N., Go, H., & Gilbert, L. (2008). Childhood sexual abuse and intimate partner violence among women in methadone treatment: A direct or mediated relationship? Journal of Family Violence, 23(7), 605-617.

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