Conducting Research with Schools and Communities in the U.S. and Around the World to Facilitate Positive Adjustment in Youth and Families
I received my PhD in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine in 1989, where I worked with environmental, developmental, health, and clinical psychologists, and was funded on an NIMH training grant focused on “Environmental demands, development, and health,” foreshadowing my current work. My doctoral education was complemented by postdoctoral training in Prevention Science at Arizona State University in Tempe prior to arriving at VCU in 1992.
My research centers on the broad theme of risk and resilience, with much of my work specifically examining substance use in early, middle, or late adolescence as an outcome. I am interested in the effects of cumulative risk – the piling up of sociodemographic, psychosocial, and environmental stressors – and adjustment across a broad array of domains including academic, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and physiological functioning. Currently I co-lead three projects: Project CARE – a study of risk and resilience in South African youth (located in Durban, South Africa); Project HEART – Health and Resilience in Teens – focused on low-income African American adolescents and their mothers in Richmond; and the Myanmar Youth Health Study – a study of risk and protective factors for teen substance use in Myanmar. Among protective factors, I have a particular interest in the role of the family in mitigating risk. I am committed to interdisciplinary, cross-cultural research, as well as to training the next generation of scholars to continue to do research that matters.
Office phone: (804) 828-8089