Skip to content

College of Humanities & Sciences

Psychology Department

Albert Farrell, Ph.D.

farrell [View Image]

Commonwealth Professor
Clinical Psychology
810 W Franklin, rm 201
afarrell@vcu.edu
(804) 828-8796

Professor (tenured)
Clinical Psychology
Director, VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Virginia
PhD (1980), Purdue University

APA Fellow (Divisions 5, 12, & 53)
Diplomate and Charter Member, American Board of Assessment Psychology


Research Interests

My research focuses on (a) the development of problem behaviors during adolescence, particularly aggression; (b) the impact of exposure to community violence and peer victimization on adolescents’ development; and (c) the identification of protective factors that promote the positive development of youth in high-risk environments (e.g., those living in communities with high rates of poverty and violence). Since 1992, I have been involved in collaborative efforts with community agencies to develop effective evidence-based violence prevention programs for early adolescents. These interests have led to a series of qualitative and quantitative studies designed to identify factors that promote urban adolescents' use of effective nonviolent responses to problem situations. My work has been interdisciplinary and has been funded by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and National Institute of Justice. In 2005 I founded the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development – one of five National Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


I have strong interests in research methodology and the application of statistical methods, particularly as they apply to longitudinal research and prevention science. I am committed to training graduate students to become clinical researchers. Many of my students complete research projects using one of the many large, longitudinal datasets collected through projects completed by the Institute. I am not taking on any new graduate students.

Select Publications

The Multisite Violence Prevention Project. (2009). The ecological effects of universal and selective violence prevention programs for middle school students: A randomized trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77, 526-542. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014395
Farrell, A. D., Mays, S, Bettencourt, A., Erwin, E. H., Vulin-Reynolds, M., & Allison, K. W. (2010). Environmental influences on fighting versus nonviolent behavior in peer situations: A qualitative study with urban African American Adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 46, 19-35. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-010-9331-z
Farrell, A. D., Goncy, E. A., Sullivan, T. N., & Thompson, E. (2018). Victimization, aggression, and other problem behaviors: Trajectories of change within and across middle school grades. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 28, 438-455. https://doi.org/10.1111/jora.12346
Farrell, A. D., Sullivan, T. N., Sutherland, K. S., Corona, R., & Masho, S. (2018). Evaluation of the Olweus Bully Prevention Program in an urban school system in the USA. Prevention Science, 19, 833-847. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-018-0923-4
Farrell, A. D., Thompson, E. L., Curran, P. J., & Sullivan T. N. (2020). Bidirectional relations between witnessing violence, victimization, life events, and physical aggression among adolescents in urban schools. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 1309-1327. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-020-01204-2

Recent Courses

  • Research Methods in Clinical Psychology, graduate level

Recent Grants

Principal Investigator, "VCU ACE: Evaluation of a comprehensive approach to youth violence prevention." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2010-2015, $6,500,000.

Co-Investigator (PI: Langberg). Longitudinal evaluation of the impact of sleep problems on the academic and social functioning of adolescents with and without ADHD. Institute of Educational Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, 2016–2020, $1,399,988.

Co-Investigator (PI: Sullivan). Evaluation of a comprehensive community-level approach to youth violence prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016–2021, $5,957,090.

Principal Investigator. Exposure to violence and physical aggression in early adolescence. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2017–2022, $677,299.

Co-Investigator (PI: McDonald). The Impact of human-animal interaction on adjustment of children exposed to adverse family environments. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2018–2020, $429,067.

Co-Investigator (PI: Mehari). Participatory action research to inform a social-ecological model of gun-related attitudes, behaviors, and practices. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020–2023, $1,868,915.

Co-Investigator (PI: Thomson). Preventing retaliatory gun violence in violently injured adults: A RCT of a hospital-based intervention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020–2023, $1,949,477.

Co-Investigator (PI: Thomson). Preventing Firearm Violence in Youth: A hospital-based prevention strategy. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2021– 024, $2,062,482.

Co- Investigator (PI: Sullivan). VCU Healthy Communities for Youth: Evaluation of violence prevention strategies to prevent and reduce community levels of youth violence. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021–2026, $5,994,301.

Primary Mentor (Student: Kelly O’Connor). A longitudinal analysis of factors that reduce the risk of problem behaviors among urban middle school students. Predoctoral national research service award funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2018–2020, $108,072.

Research Mentor (PI: Nicholas Thomson). Evaluating outcomes for youth receiving hospital-based violence prevention with and without a community-level initiative. Research scientist development award funded by Center for Disease Control and Prevention, K01 CE003160, 2019–2021, $250,000

Primary Mentor (Student: Sarah Pittman). Witnessing Community Violence and its Consequences: Changes Across Middle School. Predoctoral national research service award funded by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2021–2023, $110,008.

Awards

  • Best Article of the Year Award, American Psychological Association, Division 53 (1999)
  • Distinguished Scholar Award, College of Humanities and Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University (2003)
  • Nan Tobler Award for Review of the Prevention Science Literature from the Society for Prevention Research (2012)
  • University Award of Excellence, Virginia Commonwealth University (2013)
  • Currents of Change Award for Outstanding University-Community Partnerships, VCU Council for Community Engagement, awarded to Clark Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development (2014)
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (2015)
View graphic versionView graphic version