Human Development and Family Studies faculty are actively engaged in diverse research activities focused primarily on children, adults, and families. Our faculty members have advanced degrees in multiple disciplines, so much of the research conducted is multidisciplinary and generally focuses in several content areas including:

1. Adult and Family Well-Being

To understand family relationships and how parent-child sibling ties in the middle and later years impact health and well-being.

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2. Early Childhood Environments

To understand variations in children’s early development, with special interest in developmental variations in school readiness skills including social-emotional behaviors, academic skills, and executive function.

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3. Family Economic Well-Being

To make a difference in people’s lives by producing evidence that has implications for educators, practitioners, and policy makers and relevance to individuals, families, and society.

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4. Family Welfare and Diversity

To understand meanings that adults and adolescents attach to their lived experiences and examine nuanced behaviors and attitudes.

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5. Health and Well-Being

To understand how individual, family, and community factors affect health and well-being across the lifespan.

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6. Intervention Design, Implementation, and Evaluation

To identify unique, active ingredients that facilitate intervention efficacy, especially with home visiting programs. Also, to examine factors that help (or hinder) implementation integrity and interventionist support.

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Faculty and staff have received a high level of funding from outside agencies for their different scholarly activities. In general external funding has been approximately $7 to 10 million on an annual basis, for a total of over $45 million in funding from FY2006 to FY2010.


Much of the research is conducted in collaboration with faculty within the department, but collaborations are also with faculty from other departments on campus, other universities, and research institutions.

Graduate Assistantships

A research assistantship involves working with a faculty member on his/her research and may include collecting data, analyzing data, and helping write publications or grants. Nearly all of the qualified graduate students receive assistantships making graduate training in human development and family studies at Iowa State University a coveted graduate education experience. Matches between student and faculty requests as well as departmental needs are made by the department chair and director of graduate education.

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Graduate Program Assistant: Alex Rogers

2330E Palmer Building
2222 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1084