Jan Nissly

Clinical Assistant Professor

Jan Nissly's work is focused on disaster, stress and trauma, coping and workforce issues.

Media Contact
Jan Nissly
Email:  nissly@usc.edu
Phone:  +1 213.740.2711
Rank:  Clinical Teaching
Department:  Adult Mental Health and Wellness
Assignment:  VAC

Jan Nissly

Clinical Assistant Professor

Jan Nissly's work is focused on disaster, stress and trauma, coping and workforce issues.

Media Contact


Jan A. Nissly joined the faculty in 2010 and serves as the first full-time researcher in the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families (CIR). A former social work practitioner, Nissly possesses 20 years of experience in the fields of mental health and veteran's issues. Specializing in crisis intervention and stress response, she practiced in acute psychiatry, post-traumatic stress disorder treatment, emergency response and homeless services within the Department of Veterans Affairs and in two civilian hospital trauma units. She also served for five years as a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services team, providing stress responses services after community and aviation disasters. With particular interests in disaster, stress and trauma, coping, and workforce issues, she has published and presented in a variety of areas, including occupational stress and worker well-being, mental health screening, and stress-related intervention. Her publications appear in several peer-reviewed journals including Social Service Review, Children and Youth Services Review, Administration in Social Work, and Community Mental Health Journal. Nissly's current research interests focus on preparing practitioners to meet the needs of returning service members and their families, provision of supports and services to families of deployed and returning service members, and on innovative approaches to identifying and engaging at-risk veterans into community services. She has served as an investigator on eight sponsored projects and is currently leading the evaluation of a large-scale mental health workforce training intervention designed to prepare mental health workers to meet the psychosocial needs of returning service members, veterans and their families.


University of Southern California

Ph.D. 2004

Widener University

M.S.W. 1993

Pennsylvania State University

B.S. 1989

Area of Expertise

  • Employee Well-being
  • Workforce Development
  • Adult Mental Health
  • Stress and Trauma
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Military Social Work
  • Program Evaluation

Industry Experience

  • Social Services
  • Education/Learning
  • Research
  • Writing and Editing


  • National Association of Social Workers
  • Council on Social Work Education
  • Society for Social Work and Research

Articles & Publications

Intervening in Response to Job Stress | Employee Assistance Quarterly

2008 Job stress is ubiquitous and can give rise to a host of problems that result in decreased productivity and increased costs to the work organization, as well as health, mental health, and interpersonal problems among the affected workers. EAP practitioners are increasingly assisting workers who seek services as a result of job stress. This paper is designed to provide current, practical information for practitioners to assist with intervening in response to job stress issues among their clients. Theoretical underpinnings related to job stress etiology and intervention are briefly summarized, findings from recent studies evaluating individual-level interventions for job stress are highlighted, and specific recommendations are made regarding intervention.


Why Do They Leave? Modeling Child Welfare Workers' Turnover Intentions | Children and Youth Services Review

2006 The high rates of turnover in the child welfare field have grave implications for service provision to vulnerable populations. Using mixed methods with SEM and constant comparative content analyses, the study tested a theoretical model of intention to leave among child welfare workers. The theoretical model was found to fit the data well, indicating that diversity, together with a stressful, unjust, exclusionary and non-supportive organizational climate, negatively influence individual well-being, job satisfaction and organizational commitment, resulting in intention to leave the job. Study findings hold implications for supervisory recruitment and training, structural and procedural systems reform, and future research.


Stress, Social Support, and Workers' Intentions to Leave Their Jobs in Public Child Welfare | Journal of Administration in Social Work

2005 The present study examined the relationships among stress, social support, and intention to leave in 418 public child welfare workers. Workers with higher levels of stress were more likely to think about leaving, while those receiving greater social support were less likely. Social support did not buffer the effects of organizational stress, but had some effect in buffering the effects of work-family conflict. Implications for agency administration and future research are discussed.


Antecedents to Retention and Turnover among Child Welfare, Social Work, and Other Human Service Employees: What Can We Learn from Past Research? A Review and Metanalysis | Social Service Review

2001 This study involves a metanalysis of 25 articles concerning the relationship between demographic variables, personal perceptions, and organizational conditions and either turnover or intention to leave. It finds that burnout, job dissatisfaction, availability of employment alternatives, low organizational and professional commitment, stress, and lack of social support are the strongest predictors of turnover or intention to leave. Since the major predictors of leaving are not personal or related to the balance between work and family but are organizational or job‐based, there might be a great deal that both managers and policy makers can do to prevent turnover.