My research interests broadly focus on the role of parents and families in promoting, maintaining or protecting children from involvement in unhealthy and high-risk behaviors. One line of research seeks to examine how family functioning influences child, adolescent and young adult outcomes (both risky or resilient behaviors).
I am also interested in family contexts and cross-cultural similarities and differences in child and adolescent outcomes. For example, I have examined the role of family structure in the early onset of sexual behavior in adolescent girls in a city in Ghana. The results showed that girls living with others (extended family members) significantly delayed sexual onset compared to those living with their parents or stepparents. These results were contrary to what one may expect but at the same time, it was not odd. One reason is that, in many non-western societies, the extended family system plays a significant role in raising children in the absence of and/or complementing the protective role two parent homes provide for children, as found in family research in western societies.
If you are or might be interested in these or related areas of research, stop by my office for a chat or send an email. Student engagement in research could include participation in current projects, writing opportunities, designing and conducting original research projects under my supervision and mentorship.
Examples of student-led studies include:
- Parenting During Childhood on Adolescent Social Engagement
- Parental Lies and Insecurity in Young Adulthood: The Role of Social Cognitive Bias in Anxious Friendship Attachment
- The Role of Behavioral Flexibility in the Relation Between Adverse Childhood Experiences and Intimate Speaker-Listener
- Useful Premarital Counseling Topics among Ghanaian Couples
- Mental Health Stigma Across the United States and India
- Acculturative Stress and Depression Among Chinese International Students
- Mental Health Services on College Campus