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Tova Walsh

Assistant Professor

MSW, Ph.D., Social Work and Psychology, University of Michigan B.A., Sociology and Politics, Brandeis University

Early parenthood and parent-child relationships; fatherhood and men's health; women veterans, family reintegration, and health; family violence; preventive interventions.


Tova Walsh is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work and a faculty affiliate of the Institute for Digital Innovation in Social Work at Rutgers.  Her research focuses on understanding and improving health and wellbeing in multi-stressed families, with an emphasis on pregnancy and early parenting in contexts of risk. She examines the parenting support needs of underserved groups including new fathers and military-connected parents, and collaborates to develop and test parenting interventions to meet their needs. In her intervention work, she seeks to capitalize on existing technology or create new technology to more effectively reach the target population and address their specific needs.

In her current research, Walsh aims to identify effective strategies to support emerging competencies in early parenthood and promote nurturing parent-child relationships among parents who face barriers to initiating or maintaining positive involvement with their children. In one line of current research, Walsh is examining the prenatal experiences, psychological processes, and support needs of expectant fathers, with the aim of informing efforts to promote healthy pregnancies and positive partnering and parenting. In another line of research, she aims to better understand the special challenges of parenting across the deployment cycle for military families with young children, with the goal of informing the provision of support to military service members, veterans and their families. Walsh's research draws on her experience working in low-income communities as a home visitor to families with children ages 0 to three. This work inspires her continuing interest in efforts to prevent domestic violence and child maltreatment, and build protective factors that help buffer children and families from adverse experiences and stressful circumstances.

Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Doris Duke Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and National Institutes of Health.

Selected Recent Publications: 

Walsh, T.B., Tolman, R.M., Singh, V., Davis, M.M., & Davis, R.N. (In press). Expectant fathers’ presence at prenatal ultrasounds: An opportunity for social work engagement. Social Work Research.

Walsh, T.B. (In press). Military moms: Deployment and reintegration challenges to motherhood. In Muzik, M., & Rosenblum, K.L., Eds., Motherhood in the face of trauma: Pathways of healing and growth. Prevention of child maltreatment. Springer: New York, NY.

Lee, S.J., Walsh, T.B. & Lee, J.C. (In press). Using mobile applications to enhance social work practice. In Goldkind, L. & Freddolino, P., Eds., Digital social work: Cases across fields of practice. Lyceum Books: New York, NY.

Tolman, R. M., Walsh, T.B., & Edleson, J.L. (In press). Engaging men in violence prevention. In Renzetti, C.M., Edleson, J.L., & Bergen, R.K., Eds., Sourcebook on Violence Against Women, Third Edition.  Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA.

Tolman, R. M., Walsh, T.B., & Nieves, B. (In press). Engaging men and boys in preventing gender- based violence. In Renzetti, C.M., Follingstad, D.R., & Coker, A.L., Eds., Preventing Intimate Partner Violence: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Policy Press: UK.

Walsh, T.B., (2017). Mothers and deployment: Understanding the experiences and support needs of deploying mothers of children birth to five. Journal of Family Social Work 20(2), 84-105.

Dayton, C.J., Buczkowski, R., Muzik, M., Goletz, J., Hicks, L.M., Walsh, T.B., & Bocknek, E. (2016). Expectant fathers’ beliefs and expectations about parenting as they prepare to parent a new infant. Social Work Research 40(4), 225-236.

Walsh, T.B., Edleson, J., & Tolman, R. M. (2016). Children exposed to domestic violence: Prevention approaches. In Alexander, S., Alexander, R. & Guterman, N., Eds., Prevention of child maltreatment. G.W. Medical Publishing: Saint Louis, Missouri.

Carlson, J., Casey, E., Edleson, J.L., Tolman, R.M., Walsh, T.B., & Kimball, E. (2015).Strategies to engage men and boys in prevention of violence against women: A global organizational perspective.  Violence Against Women 21(11), 1406-1425.

Dayton, C.J., Walsh, T.B., Oh, W., & Volling, B. (2015). Hush now baby: Mothers’ and fathers’ strategies for soothing their infants and associated parenting outcomes. Journal of Pediatric Health Care 29(2), 145-155. 

Lee, S.J. & Walsh, T.B. (2015). Using technology in social work practice: The mDad (Mobile Device Assisted Dad) case study. Advances in Social Work 16(1), 107-124.

Walsh, T.B., McCourt, S.N., Rostad, W., Byers, K., & Ocasio, K. (2015). Promoting protective factors and strengthening resilience. In Daro, D., Donnelly, A.C., Huang, L.A., & Powell, B., Eds., Advances in child abuse prevention knowledge – The perspective of new leadership (pp.203-224). Springer International Publishing: Zug, Switzerland.

Dayton, C., Walsh, T.B., Erwin, M.S., Muzik, M,, & Rosenblum, K.L. (2014). Strong, safe & secure: Negotiating early fathering and military service across the deployment cycle. Infant Mental Health Journal 35(5), 509-520.

Lanier, P., Maguire-Jack, K., Walsh, T.B., Huebel, G., & Drake, B. (2014). Race and ethnic differences in early childhood maltreatment in the United States. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 35(7), 419-426.

Walsh, T.B., Dayton, C.J., Erwin, M., Busuito, A. & Rosenblum, K.L. (2014).  Fathering after military deployment: Parenting challenges and goals of fathers of young children. Health and Social Work 39(1), 35-44.

Walsh, T.B., Tolman, R.M., Palladino, C.L., Davis, R.N., Romero, V., & Singh, V. (2014). Moving up the ‘magic moment’: Fathers’ experience of prenatal ultrasound. Fathering 12(1), 18-37.

Casey, E. R., Carlson, J., Fraguela-Rios, C., Kimball, E., Neugut, T.B., Tolman, R.M., & Edleson, J.L. (2013). Context, challenges, and tensions in global efforts to engage men in the prevention of violence against women:  An ecological analysis. Men and Masculinities 16(2), 228-251.

Kimball, E., Edleson, J.L., Neugut, T.B., Tolman, R.M., & Carlson, J. (2013). Global efforts to engage men in preventing violence against women: An international survey. Violence Against Women 19(7), 924-939.

Lee, S.J., Neugut, T.B., Rosenblum, K.L., Tolman, R.M., Travis, W.J., & Walker, M.H. (2013). Sources of parenting support in early fatherhood: Perspectives of United States Air Force members. Children and Youth Services Review 35, 908-915.

Neugut, T.B. & Miller, L.E. (2011). Intervention with young children exposed to intimate partner violence: A clinical case study of participants in the Preschool Kids’ Club and Moms’ Empowerment Program. In Graham-Bermann, S. & Levendosky, A., Eds., A developmental approach to understanding the effects of intimate partner violence across childhood.  APA Press: Washington, DC.

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