Esther Malm

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 influence bullying behaviors, peer victimization and bystander behaviors, and consequent effects on various aspects of life.  

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 is 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 /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.

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