DR. MARSHA KLINE PRUETT, Ph.D., M.S.L. ( 4 1 3 ) 5 8 5 - 7 9 9 7

About Dr. Kline Pruett



In 2006 Dr. Kline Pruett accepted an endowed Chair at Smith College. Her research continues as the Maconda Brown O'Connor Professor at Smith's School for Social Work. Previously, Dr. Kline Pruett was Associate Professor in the Law and Psychiatry Division at the Yale University School of Medicine and the Yale Child Study Center. She is best known for the development, implementation, and evaluation of preventive interventions in schools and courts. Her writings include numerous scholarly articles, chapters, and a co-authored book, Your Divorce Advisor: An Attorney and Psychologist Lead You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (2001 by Simon and Schuster). Dr. Kline Pruett’s research interests revolve around family issues specific to family and juvenile law. The unifying theme across the research is the promotion of healthy family development during life transitions, particularly those transitions related to adverse events or circumstances.

Among other topics, she has created and evaluated a model continuum of effective and cost-efficient co-parenting services in the Connecticut courts to assist in the preservation of each family’s long-term well-being through the development of developmentally appropriate parenting plans. More specifically, the program aimed to reduce the economic and psychological costs of divorce and child custody decisions for parents involved in the legal process, and improve child adjustment and social emotional functioning, parent relationships, and paternal involvement during and after separation/ divorce. Findings from the study point to new information about father involvement and parenting plans for very young children. The project produced some of the only data in the country about young children (infants through six years) and overnights after divorce. While policy makers have always focused on the age at which infants and toddlers handle overnights, Dr. Kline Pruett’s data indicate the importance of child gender and schedule consistency, more than age. These findings are providing new connections of great interest to psychologists, lawyers, and policy makers at the edge of the psychology-law interface. As a result of this project, Dr. Kline Pruett was awarded the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts Stanley Cohen Award for Distinguished Research. These results have been used to inform judges and attorneys throughout North America.

Currently, Dr. Kline Pruett is part of an intervention and evaluation team for the California Supporting Fatherhood Involvement (SFI) Initiative, a pilot program aimed at promoting father involvement in Family Resource Centers to reduce incidence of child abuse and neglect. The project is producing timely new data about how to involve men, including Hispanic and Spanish-speaking men, early in their children’s lives, and how to best work with couples to maintain the fathers’ involvement and promote the children’s development. The SFI curricula are providing a comparison between father only and couples’ interventions, and results are pointing to new ways of enhancing father friendliness of social service organizations more broadly.

In addition, Dr. Kline Pruett is evaluating a new Intake Screen instrument that is being implemented by Family Services of the Connecticut Support Services Division, Judicial Branch.

Dr. Kline Pruett disseminates her scholarly work through clinical consultations, media consultations, and speaking engagements across North America and abroad.


Curriculum Vitae (pdf) Download


Dr. Kline Pruett has maintained a clinical practice in Connecticut since 1990, where she has treated individual adults and children, couples, and families. She has certificates in mediation and in family therapy. Dr. Kline Pruett has recently narrowed her practice to work with individuals, couples and families who are in the process of divorcing, remarrying, or figuring out how to co-parent during these life transitions. Her experience includes couples counseling and consultation, father involvement consultation, mediation, child custody evaluation, parent coordination, and collaborative divorce. Dr. Kline Pruett is especially interested in working with couples interested in divorcing cooperatively for the benefit of their children.

For more information, contact Dr. Kline Pruett at her office (413) 585-7997 or through email at mpruett@email.smith.edu.