June 2020 Researcher’s Window: Dr. Desiree Baolian Qin

Taking a closer look at research and experiences of SSHD members

~Researcher’s Window~

This month we are getting better acquainted with the research of Desiree Baolian Qin, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University.

1. What drew you to do work in human development?

I grew up in a small village in Northern China and then moved to the provincial capital and completed my MA degree in English Linguistics there before coming to the US to pursue graduate degrees in education and human development. I first became interested in human development when I was teaching high school students who failed their college entrance exam ( “gao kao”) and noticed that they appeared very depressed in class. That was in the 1990s, and psychology was a very new discipline in China. Very few universities offered psychology or human development studies. After I came to the US, I majored in School Psychology at University of Massachusetts Boston and then got my degree in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard Grad School of Education. In graduate school, I worked for my mentors, Marcelo Suarez-Orozco and Carola Suarez-Orozco’s project, the Longitudinal Immigrant Student Adaptation Project. I think my personal experiences and my research experiences in graduate school working closely with recently arrived immigrant families and children both contribute to my current research interests on culture, parenting and adolescent development.

2. Did you have a mentor or researcher who had substantial influence on your path or on your work?

I had two great mentors in grad school, Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, an anthropologist, and Carola Suarez-Orozco, a cultural psychologist. This interdisciplinary training gives me a broader perspective in culture and various ecological contexts that influence human development, which is central to my work.

3.  You have a range of important work, select 1-2 findings that you feel are key contributions to human development and describe those in brief.

When I started my research on Asian American students, most research focused on their model minority status and superior educational achievement. My work on psychosocial challenges experienced by Asian American adolescents highlighted a new pattern in child development, an achievement/adjustment paradox, i.e., while Asian American students tend to have higher educational outcomes as compared to students of other ethnic-racial backgrounds, they also tend to report lower levels of mental health outcomes. In my mixed-method research project, at a prestigious high school in a Northeastern US metropolis, I found tremendous levels of pressure, stress, and struggles experienced by students and their families, Asians and non-Asians alike. My work shifts the model of educational and psychosocial developmental outcomes go hand in hand in children’s developmental trajectories and provides both evidence and explanation for this achievement/adjustment paradox when it does occur.Similarly, earlier research on Asian American families tended to focus on the contributions they have made to their children’s exceptional educational outcomes. My work highlighted the challenges experienced by immigrant parents and their children behind the façade of perfect Asian American families. My findings, drawing on mostly qualitative longitudinal data, uncovered important and understudied issues and struggle in parent-child relations resulting from developmental, immigration-related, and cultural reasons in Asian American families, e.g., emotional alienation, parent-child conflicts, communication challenges. My findings also point to negative effects of “tiger parenting”. Through the use of rigorous qualitative data from longitudinal, in-depth interviews, my findings have highlighted many nuanced, complex family processes overlooked in quantitative work on immigrant and minority families.Our most recent project focuses on academic and psychosocial adaptation of Chinese undergraduate students.

4.  Your one wish for the study of human development

That we would pay more attention to the central role of culture and not automatically apply models and measures developed in the US or other Western countries onto studies of other populations around the globe. 

5.  A mentoring statement or quote you find most meaningful or life-changing. 

“I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else. This is not just a grab-bag candy game.” ~  Toni Morrison

About the researcher

Dr. Desiree Baolian Qin is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. After completing her doctorate degree at Harvard Graduate School of Education, she conducted postdoctoral research at New York University and Teachers College. Her research, funded by the William T Grant Foundation and the Spencer Foundation, focuses on understanding how immigration, culture, gender, and ecological contexts, especially family, impact adolescent and emerging adult development. Drawing on mostly qualitative, longitudinal data, Dr. Qin’s research has highlighted many nuanced, complex family processes that have been overlooked in quantitative work on immigrant families, especially struggle in parent-child relations, e.g., emotional alienation, parent-child conflicts, communication challenges, and parent-child separation. Her findings also point to negative effects of “tiger parenting” in child/adolescent development. Dr. Qin’s most recent project examines academic and psychosocial adaptation challenges of Chinese international students. She enjoys meditation, traveling with her family, and reading and writing (in Chinese and English) about wellbeing and healing. 

Edited and launched by Deborah J. Johnson & Yoko Yamamoto, SSHD Publicity Committee

Visit our website for more information! www.sshdonline.org

SSHD Statement on Current Events

Dear SSHD members: 

America is currently undergoing profound grief, anger and reflection. This state of despair and the accompanying protests happening around the country follow from the unjust death, once again, of a black American man at the hands of authorities. The nation-wide protests are an attempt to initiate change at the larger systemic level. These actions affect everyone, and all of our voices and efforts are needed to move history and build a just nation. The legacy of racial discrimination and growing patterns of inequality across multiple social groups are also reflected in the disproportionate effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on people of color and other vulnerable populations. They are also apparent in the lack of a unified, national strategy to address the multi-level challenges that accompany this pandemic. The Society for the Study of Human Development (SSHD) promotes developmental research, education, and public policy that emphasizes the links between individuals, families and the larger social structures in which they live. The developmental science that SSHD promotes is meant to maximize individual and community well-being across the lifespan/life course. Systemic problems, such as police brutality and the differential burden of the COVID-19 epidemic in vulnerable groups, call for systemic solutions, and we would encourage members of the SSHD community and the broader research, education, and public policy communities to work towards creating opportunities that will ensure that black lives matter at all ages. For only when black lives matter will all lives matter. We advocate the application of developmental science as a means to emerge from this sorrowful time as a more democratic and equitable society, one where everyone can breathe freely.

To this end, SSHD is undertaking the following initiatives. 

1.    Our flagship journal Research in Human Development will continue to publish special issues on developmental research focused on underserved minorities.  

2.    The SSHD Steering Committee will vote on making the Diversity Science Initiative a standing committee of the Society. 

3.    Applied activities and future conferences will incorporate community outreach and address matters of diversity, equity, and inclusion via speakers or collaborative sessions with local agencies/communities.

4.    SSHD will support and initiate developmental research that advances issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We welcome your suggestions for ways SSHD members and committees can make an impact on this issue. Please contact sshd.contact@gmail.com

We welcome comments and suggestions. 

The Steering Committee

Society for the Study of Human Development 

Results of Diversity Initiative Survey

In November 2019, the SSHD membership was polled on their views regarding a new diversity science initiative. As a result of the feedback, the Diversity Science Initiative Committee was convened. A summary of the survey results is presented below.

Demographics of the Survey Respondants

Total responses = 67

Percent members of SSHD = 85% (N=57); lapsed members = 9% (N=6); skipped question = 6% (N=4)

Percent female = 70% (N=47); percent male = 24% (N=16); skipped question = 6% (N=9)

Percent American Indian or Alaska Native = 2% (N=1); Asian or Asian American = 10% (N=7); Hispanic / Latinx = 8% (N=5); White = 75% (N=50); Other race = 2% (N=1). There were no Black or African American or Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander respondents to this survey.

Diversity Science Feedback

Interest in Diversity Science Initiative
 FrequencyPercentValid PercentCumulative Percent
Missing 2131.3  

With regard to various proposed Diversity Science Initiative activities, the following were endorsed:

  • Discussions = 33% (N=22)
  • Collaborations = 36% (N=24)
  • Publications = 31% (N=21)
  • Networking at conference = 39% (N=26)
  • Networking virtually = 24% (N=16)
  • Other = 2% (N=1) [“Research and career development”]

April 2020 Researcher’s Window: Dr. Ciara Smalls Glover

Taking a closer look at research and experiences of SSHD members

~Researcher’s Window~

This month we are getting better acquainted with the research of Ciara Smalls Glover, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Georgia State University.

1.  What drew you to do work in human development?

My mother was a passionate public school educator in a neighborhood high in economic need. I saw families of all economic, ethnic, family structure, and geographic backgrounds succeed despite the odds and became fascinated with how families contribute to the development of healthy children. My observations were also based on my own upbringing. I wanted to know if there were specific mechanisms that were increasing the likelihood of positive development.

2.  Did you have a mentor or a researcher who had substantial influence in your path or work? Is there a significant moment or story that capsulizes the nature of that influence on your scholarship or professional journey?

There are two groups really. The first is the dedicated mentors that I have worked with from Morgan State University (Terra Reid, Warren Rhodes, Carrol Perrino, Robert Smith), University of Michigan (Robert Sellers, Stephanie Rowley, Tabbye Chavous, Chris Peterson), and UNC-Chapel Hill (Vonnie McLoyd). My mentors taught me the importance of examining racial-ethnic identity, family socialization, discrimination, and coping. Equally as important, as I age, is that many of them modeled how to address race and/or gender-related adversity in the academy. In addition, my colleagues are amazing models in their roles as professional counselors, administrators, and scholars in the field. They continue to remind me that there are many avenues to strengthening communities of color.The second are the talented graduate and undergraduate students with whom I have the privilege of working. Most of my undergraduate team has volunteered their time while balancing full academic loads, family obligations, and employment. I admire their tenacity to pursue research, usually as the first in their families to do so.  It is rewarding to play a role in their development and to celebrate as they receive awards and honors for their research projects in our lab. The community of students that I mentor and collaborate with, has also inspired the line of research dedicated to understanding factors (e.g., identity, familial, institutional) that bolster academic persistence for students exposed to adversity. 

3.  You have a range of important work, select 1-2 findings that you feel are key contributions to human development and describe those in brief.  What might be the cultural, inclusion or global significance of your work? 

One main line of work examines family climate as a context for messages about race/ethnicity. Latent profiles allow me to examine patterns of family socialization and relational quality. In this way, the approach identifies the role of family socialization in multifaceted contexts and how those patterns are associated with mental health and academic success.Another line of work examines risk and protective factors on STEM persistence and overall health of adversity-exposed college students. My research uses a strengths-based approach to examine the roles of culturally-relevant family messages, and an examination of adversity- structural and interpersonal- that are associated with student retention. The experience of students fleeing their home country or those adjusting to group stigmatization and intergroup discrimination in the US are included in adversity-exposure. Students also report being impacted by structural inequalities in the United States. My work identifies the key mechanisms that aid in buffering those experiences at the individual, collective and institutional levels. 

4.  Your one wish for the study of human development 

My one wish would be that we continue to appreciate the complexity of development across populations. Further, I wish that our appreciation would result in dissemination to broader audiences that include those from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. I recently reported the strategies that were most effective for recruiting an under-voiced community, non-college attending young adults (forthcoming in Emerging Adulthood: Sexuality in Emerging Adulthood [Morgan and van Dulmen Eds, Oxford series). That work serves as a reminder to me that there are under-voiced communities whose development we need to better understand. Doing this work will benefit the field as we refine theories, develop tailored interventions, and inform public policies that are transformative.

5.  A mentoring statement or quote you find most meaningful or life-changing. 

"It is not the critic who counts… The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…"--Theodore Roosevelt

About the researcher

Dr. Ciara Smalls Glover is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and has affiliations with the Partnership for Urban Health Research, the Department of African American Studies, Resilient Youth, and Transcultural Violence and Conflict. She is on the editorial board at Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Her program of research examines family dynamics and cultural strengths that mitigate interpersonal and institutional adversity. Dr. Glover uses a strengths-based approach to identify factors that buffer emotional, academic, and physical health declines. An emerging line of work applies this strengths-based approach to STEM persistence at economically and ethnically diverse institutions. She earned her B.S. at Morgan State University, her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and her postdoctoral studies at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Edited and launched by Deborah J. Johnson & Yoko Yamamoto

SSHD Publicity Committee

March 2020 Researcher’s Window: Dr. Yoko Yamamoto

Taking closer look at research and experiences of SSHD members

Researcher’s Window

This month we are getting better acquainted with the research of Yoko Yamamoto, a faculty member of the Department of Education at Brown University and a steering committee member of the Society for the Study of Human Development.

  1. What drew you to do work in human development?

My strong interest in researching socialization and education grew from my experiences of being exposed to cross-national educational environments as well as beliefs and practices centered on diversity as I grew up. Attending pre-primary schools in Japan and England made me keenly aware of variations in school environments, expectations, and approaches to learning between the two countries. During my primary school years in Japan, I enjoyed playing and chatting with other children from various socioeconomic backgrounds while walking to a local school each day (walking with all neighborhood children as a group was required at the school I attended!). I learned about diverse beliefs, unique socialization experiences, and different family expectations through my peers’ stories. Learning about various local practices and differences in dialects by living in both rural and urban areas in Japan and working at a daycare serving children in buraku, a historically oppressed community, during a practicum made me question the homogeneity and egalitarianism highlighted in the Japanese educational system and society. These experiences, along with many others, built the foundations of my passion to examine families and education, especially learning-related socialization in varying sociocultural contexts.

2.        Did you have any mentor or a researcher who had substantial influence in your path or work?

I have been extremely fortunate to have met many incredible scholars and mentors who had a substantial impact on my life as a scholar and a person. If I had not met my adviser and mentor in my Ph.D. program, Dr. Susan D. Holloway, my path could have been different. It was Susan’s cross-cultural research on parenting that inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. in human development. When I joined a doctoral program in 2000, socioeconomic status was still considered a sensitive topic to examine in Japan. Susan encouraged me to pursue my passion to integrate sociological theories and approaches (I received an M.A. in sociology) into developmental studies and examine diverse family socialization within cultures. Coming to the U.S. and pursuing a Ph.D. without any family members could have been more challenging, if I had not had a supportive and caring mentor like Susan. I was also fortunate to have Dr. Mary C. Brinton, a sociologist at Harvard University, who specializes in gender and education in Japan, as my mentor near the end of my doctoral candidacy. We collaborated and worked on a research project examining cultural capital and educational processes depending on socioeconomic status and gender in Japan. Mary repeatedly talked about the importance of developing theories to generate richer knowledge in addition to conducting rigorous research. Dr. Jin Li, who was a mentor for my postdoctoral training, brought me to the world of researching Asian Americans and immigrants extending my previous research focused solely on Japan. Being involved in a longitudinal project on Chinese immigrant families expanded my interest in examining immigration, race, and ethnicity in family socialization. Immersion in this research and conversations with Jin also allowed me to identify similarities and differences within Asian populations. This cultivated my desire to understand cultural origins, institutional arrangements, and immigrant issues that interactively influence parenting beliefs, practices, and subsequent children’s developmental and educational experiences.

3.     You have a range of important work, select findings that you feel are key contributions to human development and describe those in brief. 

In my research on Japanese families, I found significant socioeconomic differences in parents’ educational expectations and ways of supporting their children’s learning from preschool years. My qualitative findings demonstrated various ways through which parents from different socioeconomic backgrounds support their children’s education by using their knowledge and available resources while constructing and reconstructing their ideas based on past and current experiences and interactions with children and others. These findings extend insights from previous cross-cultural studies that tended to highlight culturally shared norms and practices in Japan. Interestingly, my most recent research that examined first-grade children’s beliefs about school learning in relation to SES and culture demonstrated no socioeconomic differences in their perceptions of school learning (e.g., purposes and benefits of school learning) within Japan unlike in the U.S. (Yamamoto, 2020). As children’s beliefs related to learning has been found to become a foundation for their later learning motivation, it is critical to examine institutional arrangements (e.g., teaching practices and classroom arrangements) and cultural values in their possibilities of reducing socioeconomic gaps.

Perhaps, my most influential work so far is a theoretical paper that provided conceptual models explaining different degrees of parents’ educational expectations and associations between parental expectations and children’s academic performance depending on racial and socioeconomic groups. By conducting extensive reviews of research and examining sociocultural contexts of various racial/ethnic groups, we proposed moderating and mediating models that explain weak associations between parental expectations and children’s academic performance among racial/ethnic minority groups. Moving beyond ethnic and racial categories, these models provided a nuanced view of interpersonal and intrapsychic processes by which parents in various racial and ethnic groups construct their ideas and respond to immediate contexts (Yamamoto & Holloway, 2010).

4.        Your one wish for the study of human development

I hope to see more multiculturalism in studies of human development. Cross-cultural studies in human development have helped us understand variations in socialization and development across cultures. Cross-national and cross-disciplinary collaborations have increased. We have paid increasing attention to global contexts, inequalities, and justice in human development. But I think that important research and theories conducted by researchers in non-English speaking countries are still buried in their own countries and have been rarely appreciated in English-speaking academia. I have met many inspiring and admiring researchers who conduct unique research using indigenous perspectives and theories developed from their countries or communities. I hope to see more ways through which scholars can exchange their research, ideas, and discussions. I believe that such processes are necessary to truly advance our understanding of human development within and across contexts.

5.        A mentoring statement or quote you find most meaningful.

It is important to contribute to communities and societies by bringing “warm knowledge” and not “cold knowledge.” And researchers need heart in addition to brain to do so.

This is a quote from Dr. Kokichi Shimizu, my collaborator and a Japanese sociologist who has conducted effortful community-based research on schools serving low-income minority students in Japan. He talked about the importance of bringing knowledge and research findings that could help, support, and empower people in the communities rather than knowledge that will separate people or create distance from those people.

About the researcher

Yoko Yamamoto is a faculty member at the Department of Education at Brown University. She has also been an invited summer scholar at the Department of Human Sciences in Osaka University, Japan since 2013. She has examined parental socialization and children’s educational processes in diverse sociocultural contexts. Integrating theories and research in developmental psychology, education, and sociology, she is especially interested in understanding how families from diverse backgrounds, especially concerning socioeconomic status, culture, and minority/immigrant status, support their children’s development and education. She received B.A. in child development and M.A. in sociology at Kobe College in Japan and Ph.D. in human development and education from University of California, Berkeley.  Yoko was a 2012 Abe fellow and a recipient of the Mayekawa Foundation grant in 2017 and 2018. 

Edited and launched by Deborah J. Johnson & Yoko Yamamoto

SSHD Publicity Committee

January 2020 Researcher’s Window: Dr. Barbara Thelamour

Taking closer look at research and experiences of SSHD members

Researcher’s Window

This month we are getting better acquainted with the research of Barbara Thelamour, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College.

1. What drew you to do work in human development?

Before I thought about it as a “research interest,” I often found myself thinking about Black immigrant young people and how they fit in the world as Black and relatively foreign. My foundation in educational psychology has focused my interest in the realm of schools, and human development has expanded my research through its multidisciplinary nature and emphasis on contextual factors. This field offers a lens for me to deeply engage with my research questions pertaining to immigration, culture, identity, and school outcomes. I am afforded a flexibility in my human development research that is rewarding to me.

2. Did you have any mentor or a researcher who had substantial influence in your path or work? Is there a significant moment or story that capsulizes the nature of that influence on your scholarship or professional journey?

There have been several mentors who have helped to shape my scholarship and professional journey. Since graduate school, Deborah Johnson has been the consummate mentor who has helped me to navigate my educational psychology and human development interests. Gail Ferguson’s tridimensional acculturation framework has been critical in my thinking about Black immigrant adjustment. Sue Chuang, through her On New Shores conference has helped me to see the practical implications of my research on immigration.

3. You have a range of important work, select 1-2 findings that you feel are key contributions to human development and describe those in brief.  What might be the cultural, inclusion or global significance of your work?

I’ve been most engaged in research focusing on the ethnic diversity within the American Black population, most recently in college students. From our dataset of 345 Black college students attending school in the United States, we found that Black students have an affinity for friendships with their same ethnic peers (e.g., Caribbean students preferring friendships with other Caribbean students over African and African American peers). Those friendships were found to mediate the negative relationship between racial identity and campus connectedness, particularly in predominately white institutions. This research on college students can support institutions of higher education to recognize and support the increasing ethnic diversity on their campuses. Beyond colleges and universities, research taking immigration into account continues to push against the notion that Blackness as it exists in the U.S. as monolithic.

4. If you had just one wish for the study of human development, what would it be? How would it advance the field?

That human development continues to be outward facing in its emphasis on using our findings to educate the public and provide services to those who seek them. There are policy and law enforcement decisions that counter robust findings in human development and are actually endangering lives. I see our field as being a voice of reason and support beyond academia to create and sustain effective and, perhaps, life-saving change.

5. A mentoring statement or quote you find most meaningful or life-changing.

Not specific to mentoring, but has shaped my interactions nonetheless—

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

About the researcher

Barbara Thelamour is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, PA. Her research is grounded in human development and educational and multicultural areas of psychology. Her research in these related areas focuses on the identity development of Black immigrant adolescents and emerging adults, particularly in relation to Black American culture as the receiving culture. In the second line of research, the emphasis is on the interplay between identity and educational experiences and outcomes of immigrants and other students of color. Across these research endeavors, she has highlighted how relationships with others, particularly parents and peers, and school environments facilitate or hinder these identity, acculturation, and learning processes. 

Edited and launched by Deborah J. Johnson & Yoko Yamamoto

SSHD Publicity Committee

Webinar Recording Available: Time Perspective from Adolescence through Adulthood

The free webinar Time Perspective from Adolescence Through Adulthood is available for viewing and posted in the archive.

Time is as essential as the air we breathe, yet research on time perspective—how we think and feel about the past, present, and future—has yet to examine the construct from adolescence to adulthood. In this webinar based on reports on a Special Issue of Research in Human Development, the speakers introduce time perspective as a multidimensional, developmental, and modifiable construct. Then, four studies on the topic including adolescents, young adults, middle-aged adults, and older adults are presented. This research incorporates diverse participants and age-specific outcomes. Collectively, this work sets the stage for the next era of research on time perspective.

Zena R. MelloSan Francisco State University; Frank C. WorrellUniversity of California, Berkeley; Julia MoonSan Francisco State University; Samuel LeonardUniversity of Memphis; Sarah BarberGeorgia State University

Jennifer Urban Brown, Montclaire State University

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Those who are interested in reading the complete published articles can find them in the upcoming issue of Research in Human Development, 16(2).

September 2019 Researcher’s Window: Dr. Alan Meca

Taking closer look at research and experiences of SSHD members

This month we are getting better acquainted with the research of Alan Meca, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Old Dominion University.

1.         What drew you to do work in human development? 
As the child of immigrant parents, education has always been emphasized as a doorway by which I can succeed. Indeed, as is often the case, having had limited opportunities, my parents emphasized the importance of education resulting in constant pressure to succeed. This is probably the reason why growing up, I have always had an interest in trying to answer the big questions (e.g., Who are we? Why are we here?). 

Although engineering and physics were my original focus, as I excelled in my high school studies, I noticed some others did not. During my introduction to psychology, I began asking the question “why?” regarding the individual differences behind motivation, personality, and drive. Subsequently, I knew I wanted to play a role in helping youth succeed and thrive. At Florida International University, this focus was solidified into an interest focused on human development.  I then became involved with Dr. William Kurtines at the Miami Youth Development Project (YDP), an outreach research-based intervention that aims at empowering adolescents in voluntary alternative high schools, where these interests were furthered.

Under Dr. Kurtines’ mentorship, I learned about relational metatheory, developmental systems, and positive youth development.  As one who portrays development as complicated, contextualized, and multifaceted, I became more and more enthralled with the underlying conceptualization of humanity. My parents had limited opportunities to engage in their own identity process, what Marcia (1966) would refer to as foreclosed, and my brother struggled with figuring out his identity.  This led to my own fascination with the topic of identity.

2.        Did you have any mentor or a researcher who had substantial influence in your path or work? Is there a significant moment or story that capsulizes the nature of that influence on your scholarship or professional journey? 

I have been fortunate, in my career, to have had a number of important mentors who have played a substantial role in my life. Mrs. Dianne Holmes, my High School psychology teacher was one of the first teachers that not only recognized my potential but allowed me to be myself and introduced me to a whole new field of science. Dr. Kyle Eichas, then a doctoral student gave me the opportunity to work in the Miami YDP and was my direct supervisor under Dr. Kurtines. Dr. Eichas not only exposed me to developmental science and identity theory but he spent a substantive amount of time mentoring me in statistics and how to work with AMOS and Mplus. Concurrently, as I noted previously, Dr. Kurtines played a central role in introducing me to developmental science; first as my instructor in Theories of Personality and Psychology of Adolescence, and then as my research mentor, modeling what an academic should look like. Dr. Dionne P. Stephens also served as an important role model by being a constant advocate for me, and also by exposing me to methodological and theoretical orientations that expanded my early training. She also modelled success as a person of color (POC) in academia. Finally, I do not think I would be where I am today if not for the generosity of Dr. Seth J. Schwartz who gave me opportunities to work and publish utilizing his various datasets, and also greatly facilitated the development of my statistical, methodological, and professional development.

3.        You have a range of important work, select 1-2 findings that you feel are key contributions to human development and describe those in brief.  What might be the cultural, inclusion or global significance of your work?

Although my research has focused on identity development across various domains, the majority of my research has focused cultural identity, acculturation, and sociocultural stressors that contribute to mental health among Latinx populations, and more broadly, among ethnic/racial minorities. Exemplifying this work, my colleagues and I recently published in Emerging Adulthood a manuscript focused on identifying individual differences in the relationship between ethnic identity and US identity-belonging with well-being within a daily diary conducted with Hispanic emerging adults. Our findings not only identified day-to-day variability in ethnic and US identity developmental processes, which had not previously been investigated, but also identified significant variance in the strength of the within-person association – indicating that for some, ethnic and US identity was negatively associated with well-being. 

In another study published in American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, utilizing a sample of recently immigrated Hispanic adolescents, we examined the unique effects of acculturation (i.e., heritage and US identification and practices) and sociocultural stress (i.e., discrimination, bicultural stress, and negative context of reception) on alcohol initiation and whether sociocultural stress moderates the effects of cultural practices and identifications on alcohol initiation. This study was also innovative given the joint examination of the unique effects of acculturation and sociocultural stress, the decomposition of sociocultural stress into its component parts, and the exploration of the role of sociocultural stress as a moderator of the relationship between acculturative processes and alcohol initiation. As a whole, this study emphasized the need to take on a more nuance understanding of how acculturation-related factors contribute to psychosocial functioning.

a. Your current project and/or key projects

Although the bulk of my research has focused on cultural identity, my research has broadly focused on identity development and the links between identity and psychosocial functioning and health risk behaviors. Most recently, this focus has extended to the topic of parental identity and how parents establishing a sense of self and identity rooted in ones’ role as a parent. As a first step, we have an ongoing cross-sectional study with parents and expectant parents focused on parental identity processes, general adaptation, and parenting stress. If you are a parent or an expectant parent, and wish to participate, please click here: https://odu.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_4Sm4aHUr6yPJiol

b. Contributions of your projects/research to the study of human development

As noted above, the broader goal of this project is to understand how parents come to view themselves as parents and integrate parenthood into their existing sense of self. Identity serves as a foundation for meaningful interactions and motivation for identity relevant behaviors. Indeed, behavior and performance aligned with ones’ identity serves to verify existing identity commitments whereas divergence between behavior and one’s identity triggers negative emotions that result in either behavioral modification of the relinquishing of one’s existing identity commitment. As such, parenting identity represents the internalized ideals about how parents ought to parent and direct the adoption and engagement in parental behaviors. Thus, it is likely that individuals’ who are able to establish a positive identity during the transition into parenthood, within a timely manner, will be most apt for taking on the role of a caregiver.

4.        Your one wish for the study of human development 

a.        If you had just one wish for the study of human development, what would it be?

I would wish that developmental science as a field move to the forefront of the discipline marked by equity, diversity, and justice. A key tenant of developmental science rests on the importance of diversity, and although the field of developmental science has made great strides, research is all too often largely constrained to Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) populations or conducted by individuals from these groups. 

b.        How would it advance the field? 

Our understanding of human development will always be limited if there is a lack of diversity in either our researchers or our participants. A lack of diversity among our researchers limits the questions that are asked and the methods that are utilized. At the same time, a lack of diversity of our participants limits the answers we get.

5.        A mentoring statement or quote you find most meaningful or life changing

“You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years, and get pats on the back as you pass, but your final reward will be heartache and tears, if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.” From The Man in the Glass by Peter Dale Wimbrow Sr. 

About the researcher

Alan Meca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, VA. He received his Ph.D. in Developmental Science from Florida International University in 2014 under the mentorship of Dr. Dionne P. Stephens and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Miami under Dr. Seth J. Schwartz. Broadly, his expertise is in identity development, longitudinal methods, positive youth development, and knowledge of immigrant and Latinx youth and families. More specifically, his research agenda has focused on identity development and cultural stressors and their effects on health risk behaviors, mental health, and educational achievement. In pursuit of this research agenda, he has published over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts focused on personal, ethnic/racial, and national identity and on the cultural dynamics among Latinx families. In addition to understanding the role identity plays in youth’s lives, he has also participated in the development and validation of one of the few personal identity-focused interventions (Meca et al., 2015; Eichas, Meca et al., 2017). Currently, his research agenda is focused on refining measures of cultural identity and understanding the processes that govern how ethnic/racial minority navigate their cultural environment (e.g., code-switching, cultural-frame switching).

Edited and launched by Deborah J. Johnson & Yoko Yamamoto

SSHD Publicity Committee

Visit our website for more information! www.sshdonline.org

Webinar Recording Available: “Being Human in Hard Times: Disturbing Trends and Signs of Hope”

The Webinar recording for Being Human in Hard Times: Disturbing Trends and Signs of Hope can now be accessed at this link.

Recent years seem to have been accompanied by great uncertainty and precarity in the United States and around the world: whether political strife within and between nations, volatility of economic markets, sexual harassment and assault, actions related to immigration and immigrant families, or violations of human rights, to name just a few issues. With the ripple effects of these events across the globe, our big world has at times never felt so small. And yet, perhaps in the larger arc of human history, change is simply a universal theme – as each generation or society faces, or feels, the unique circumstances of a time. For this reason, we have invited scholars to take a fresh look at some of the essential but underexplored aspects of human experience. We have asked authors to be visionary – to reflect on why the phenomenon they chose is crucial today, how it matters for development across the life span, how it comes about and what consequences it brings, and how it might be better theorized, measured, and analyzed to advance knowledge and its application. 

Megan M. McClelland, Oregon State University 
Monika Ardelt, University of Florida 
Giacomo Bono, California State University, Dominguez Hills 
Chris Napolitano, University of Illinois 
Eranda Jayawickreme, Wake Forest University 
Michael Cunningham, Tulane University 
Roberto G. Gonzales, Harvard Graduate School of Education 
Salwa Massad, World Health Organization 

Jennifer Urban Brown, Montclair State University

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

June 2018 Researchers Window: Dr. Toni Antonucci

Taking closer look at research and experiences of SSHD members

Researcher’s Window

This month we are getting better acquainted with the research of Toni Antonucci, Program Director and Research Professor in the Life Course Development Program of the Institute for Social Research, and the Elizabeth M. Douvan Collegiate Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan.

  1. What drew you to do work in human development?

I was always intrigued as a young person when people said 'psychologically speaking' even when I was too young to know what it really meant.  In the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school, I took a non-matriculated course in psychology at a local college.  Fortunately, I grew up in Brooklyn (NY) so that any university was only a train ride away.  After that course, I was definitely hooked. Early on, I became interested in a new field called 'life span developmental psychology'.  I did my masters' thesis on older men, so it seemed natural to do my dissertation on infants.  I thought that would show real commitment to life span human development.

  1. Did you have any mentor or a researcherwho had substantial influence in your path or work? Is there a significant moment or story that capsulizes the nature of that influence on your scholarship or professional journey?

In graduate school I had two mentors, Robert Kastenbaum and Carolyn Shantz.  One was a pioneer in the field of aging, the other a classic Piagetian.  They were both important and very positive influences on me.  Kastenbaum was a brilliant and unusual scholar who took a winding path to academia.  Shantz was among the few successful female academics and willingly took me on as a Ph.D. student even though my topic area, infancy, wasn't really her field.  Turns out I was her first Ph.D. student.  We both learned a lot.

Regarding moments in my professional journey.  Bob included Death and Dying in his research portfolio - and once was featured in The Enquirer.  He laughed it off and never thought much about it.  That taught me, not to sweat the small stuff….and years later when I was quoted in the Enquirer (a fact one of my mother’s neighbors pointed out), I did the same thing.

Carolyn helped me through some trying times - especially in how to navigate in the male world of academia.

  1. You have a range of important work, select 1-2 findings that you feel are key contributions to human development and describe those in brief. 

One of my favorite papers is our first paper on the Convoy Model with Robert Kahn. In reflecting on it, I benefitted from Bob’s background in social and organizational psychology and I believe he felt the same about my background in lifespan developmental psychology. The Convoy Model benefits from both perspectives and, in my opinion, is better for it.

Another paper that I am fond of is a paper with Kristine Ajrouch and Mary Janevic examining the association between Social Relations and Health.  There is a well-known finding in the field that people with higher socioeconomic status have better health. Using wave 1 data from our Detroit area study, we were able to demonstrate that middle-aged men who were not highly educated (a proxy for socioeconomic status) but had children with whom they could confide were as healthy as highly educated men of the same age.

a. Your current project and/or key projects?

We now have a third wave of the Detroit area Social Relations, Age and Health (SRS) SRS which is a community based, life-span study of people from 8 to 93, and additional waves about to be collected of specific subgroups being collected now and in the near future.

We are proposing another wave on the original complete sample with the addition of a new parallel sample.  We are expanding our research to include cognitive functioning so that we can examine how social relations both cross-sectionally and longitudinally are associated with AD risk and resilience.  This is a new direction for me and I am very excited about.

We are also just completing an examination of race and ethnic differences in Forgiveness, Humility and Health which has yielded some intriguing findings.

b. Contributions of your projects/research to the study of human development.

It is my hope that my work contributes to our understanding of social relations and how social relations influence other aspects of life. The finding I noted above about how low educated middle-aged men who can confide in their child have the same level of health as higher educated peers is a case in point.

  1. Your one wish for the study of human development

a. If you had just one wish for the study of human development, what would it be?

For the one wish volume I wished for respectful interdisciplinary team science.

I still believe this is important but given recent events I would also add a wish that human development perspectives be recognized as fundamental across the life span and that there be norms of reasonable, kind and caring behavior.

b. How would it advance the field? 

As we care for others, we care for ourselves.  This makes us better people and creates a better world.

  1. A mentoring statement or quote you find most meaningful or life-changing.

Seek advice from those close and far and always try to include people you know disagree with you.


About the researcher

Toni Antonucci has a Ph.D. in life-span developmental psychology.  She is Program Director and Research Professor in the Life Course Development Program of the Institute for Social Research, and the Elizabeth M. Douvan Collegiate Professor of Psychology all at the University of Michigan.  She has been the recipient of a Research Career Development Award from the National Institute on Aging as well as several research awards from the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. She has been President of the  Society for the Study of Human Development and Gerontological Society of America.  She’s also been President of the American Psychological Association’s Division 20 on Adult Development and Aging and is Past Program Chair for Division 9, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.  She is Past-Editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Associate Editor for Developmental Psychology.  She served as Chair of the Board of Scientific Affairs, Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest and the Committee on Aging-  all of APA, and is currently Secretary-General (Vice President) of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics and is President-Elect of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development.  She is an elected fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Science and Phi Kappa Phi. And finally, she has mentored undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral scholars at the University of Michigan, received the APA Division 20 Master Mentoring award, an APA Presidential Citation in recognition of her mentoring and is currently the Director of the ISSBD\Jacob Foundation International Mentored Fellowship Program which includes fellows from the developed and developing world.

Edited and launched by Deborah J. Johnson & Yoko Yamamoto

SSHD Publicity Committee

Visit our website for more information! www.sshdonline.org

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