Dellasega, Cheryl 1953–

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Dellasega, Cheryl 1953–

PERSONAL: Born December 12, 1953, in Patuxent River, MD; daughter of James Robert and Lillian Margaret (Diehl) Miller; married Paul Dellasega, August, 1984; children: Matthew, Ellen, Joe. Education: Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, PA, R.N. diploma, 1974; Millersville University, B.S., 1981; University of Delaware, M.S., G.N.P., 1982; Temple University, Ph.D., 1988.

ADDRESSES: Home—8 Boxwood Dr., Hershey, PA 17033. Office—H134 Humanities, Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, PA 17033. E-mail[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected].

CAREER: Nurse and author. Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, staff nurse, 1974–75; Medox Nursing Pool, Philadelphia, PA, staff nurse, 1975–76; Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, PA, CCU staff nurse, 1976; Muhlenburg Hospital, South Plainfield, NJ, CCU staff nurse, 1977; Centre Community Home Health Agency, Bellefonte, PA, visiting nurse and team coordinator, 1977–78; St. Joseph's Hospital and Health Care Center, Lancaster, infirmary charge nurse, 1978–80; Lancaster General Hospital, recovery room staff nurse, 1980–81; Susquehanna Nursing Services, Harrisburg, PA, nurse practitioner, 1985; Rehab Hospital for Special Services, Bellefonte, PA, nurse practitioner, 1987; South Huntingdon County Family Health Center, Orbisonia, PA, nurse practitioner in rural primary care, 1988; geriatric nurse practitioner for Dr. Betsy Eggler, Reedsville, PA, 1989; geriatric nurse practitioner for Dr. Jon Evans, State College, PA, 1992–93; Geisinger Medical Group, State College, geriatric nurse practitioner, 1994–96. Lancaster General Hospital, clinical instructor, school of nursing, 1982; Millersville University, Millersville, PA, instructor, 1982–84; Messiah College, Grantham, PA, instructor, 1984–85; Pennsylvania State University School of Nursing, instructor, 1986–88, assistant professor, 1988–95, associate professor of humanities, 1998–. Visiting scholar, John Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, New York University, 1997; visiting professor, Halshogskolan, Jonkoping, Sweden, 1992, 1997.

MEMBER: American Nursing Association, American Public Health Association, National League of Nursing, American Society on Aging, American Association of University Women, Gerontological Society of America, Pennsylvania Nurses Association, Pennsylvania Long Term Care Council, Sigma Theta Tau, Phi Delta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: Faculty Fellowship, Institute of Aging, Temple University, 1987; Outstanding Alumni Award, Millersville University, 1992; Penn State University Outreach Award, 2004, for work with women and girls; GSA postdoctoral fellowship.


Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years, Perseus (Cambridge, MA), 2001.

(With Charisse Nixon) Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2003.

Mean Girls Grown Up: Adult Women Who Are Still Queen Bees, Middle Bees, and Afraid-to-Bees, John Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 2005.

The Starving Family: Caregiving Mothers and Fathers Share Their Eating Disorder Wisdom, Champion Press (Fredonia, WI), 2005.

Artolescence: Ten Art-based Activities for Adolescent Girls to Overcome Relational Aggression, Champion Press (Belgium, WI), 2005.

The Girl's Friendship Journal, Champion Press (Belgium, WI), 2006.

Contributor of articles to professional journals and periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS: Cheryl Dellasega is a nurse and counselor who specializes in issues that confront women and girls, mothers and daughters, and the family members who support and care for them. Among the topics she covers in her books are relational aggression, or female bullying; eating disorders and body image disorders; the Ophelia Syndrome and adolescent emotional disturbances; and depression and other problems in women and teens. She operates Club Ophelia and Camp Ophelia, a Web site and after-school program respectively, for girls and young women who are experiencing interpersonal conflict, peer pressure, bullying, and other social difficulties. These programs "have helped hundreds of teens learn healthy relationship skills through an arts-based curriculum and mentoring," Dellasega stated on her home page. She is also concerned with making sure that girls who find themselves playing the role of bully or victim in their childhood and teen years do not carry those destructive roles forward into their adult lives.

Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years contains the stories of several mothers of troubled teenage girls who helped their daughters overcome, or at least cope with, a variety of emotional and social problems. Included are stories of mothers and daughters facing depression, criminal activity, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders, and other troubles. The participants offer practical suggestions and techniques for confronting and overcoming these difficulties, as well as advice on how families can live with them when their best efforts fail to solve the problem. A reviewer for Daughters called Surviving Ophelia an "honest book," while a Publishers Weekly contributor noted that "there are lessons here that will help every mother dealing with an adolescent daughter."

Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying offers twelve tested strategies and techniques for facing and overcoming relational aggression, or female bullying. Dellasega includes a number of true stories of the effects of bullying, which are "heart-wrenching and call for intervention," observed a Psychology Today reviewer. Among Dellasega's suggestions are acquiring preventive skills, developing coping mechanisms, involving fathers in issues of bullying, seeking the support of community organizations in confronting bullying and bullies, and promoting anti-bullying behavior. With a goal of strengthening the personalities and resolve of young women facing bullying, Dellasega strives to also create a level of social change that discourages bullying and instead calls for "confident kindness."

Recognizing that bullying and abusive behavior among girls is not always effectively controlled, Dellasega acknowledges that it also does not always go away when bullies and bullying victims reach adulthood. In Mean Girls Grown Up: Adult Women Who Are Still Queen Bees, Middle Bees, and Afraid-to-Bees Dellasega breaks the participants into three categories: queen bees, or the aggressors; middle bees, or those who enable the aggressors; and afraid-to-bees, those who experience the bullying. She addresses how aggressive and bullying behavior might manifest itself in adults in the workplace, church, school, the family, and organizations. She includes a number of anecdotes that illustrate the very real damage that such unchecked behavior can cause, including sabotage by colleagues, professional damage inflicted by aggressive supervisors, and relationship damage caused by overly critical mothers-in-law. Among her suggestions for dealing with the problem are the cultivation of self-awareness, positive and nonthreatening confrontation, and establishing more satisfying relationships with other women in other contexts.

Dellasega once again collects the wisdom of those who have faced their children's troubles head-on in The Starving Family: Caregiving Mothers and Fathers Share Their Eating Disorder Wisdom. She presents observations, suggestions, and strategies from the parents of young women suffering from anorexia, bulimia, and a variety of other eating disorders. Dellasega also offers material on boys and eating disorders, "which alone is worth the investment in this important and innovative contribution to the field," commented Dale Ferris in Library Journal. Based on a number of anonymous case studies, the stories present information on topics such as discovering the disorder, the effects of the disorder on siblings and parents, finding professional help, dealing with insurance companies, and the expected results after treatment. "What sets the work apart, though, is its emphasizing the need to integrate parents into the treatment process," Ferris concluded.



Daughters, May-June, 2002, "When Girls Get in Trouble," review of Surviving Ophelia: Mothers Share Their Wisdom in Navigating the Tumultuous Teenage Years, p. 3.

Education Week, October 15, 2003, review of Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying, p. 38.

Entrepreneur, August, 2004, Aliza Pilar Sherman, "Under Attack? Think Another Woman Is Out to Get You? Here's How to Watch Your Back," p. 36.

Library Journal, August, 2003, Antoinette Brinkman, review of Girl Wars, p. 120; February 1, 2005, Dale Farris, review of The Starving Family: Caregiving Mothers and Fathers Share Their Eating Disorder Wisdom, p. 103; October 1, 2005, Kay Brodie, review of Mean Girls Grown Up: Adult Women Who Are Still Queen Bees, Middle Bees, and Afraid-to-Bees, p. 96.

Psychology Today, September-October, 2003, review of Girl Wars, p. 82.

Publishers Weekly, September 10, 2001, review of Surviving Ophelia, p. 77; July 18, 2005, review of Mean Girls Grown Up, p. 197.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2003, review of Surviving Ophelia, p. 136.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), December 15, 2002, review of Surviving Ophelia, p. 6.

Voice of Youth Advocates, December, 2004, Charisse Nixon, review of Girl Wars, p. 425.


Cheryl Dellasega Home Page, (January 15, 2006).

Club Ophelia Web site, (January 15, 2006).

Penn State Outreach Magazine Web site, (February 8, 2006), Melissa W. Kaye, "Academia Meets Artistic Ability," profile of Cheryl Dellasega.

Relational Aggression Web site, (January 15, 2006).