Family Welfare and Diversity


  • Address the interplay of economic circumstances, social systems, and adolescent health and development. I direct my work so that it can inform prevention and intervention strategies, as well as local and national policies that enhance the health and development of youth.
  • Understand how stress is associated with individual development and the quality of relationships within families.
  • Inform scholarship, policy, and practice through a broad range of state and national collaborations centered on evidence-based policy making.
  • Understand meanings that adults and adolescents attach to their lived experiences and examine nuanced behaviors and attitudes.
  • Translate understanding into innovative, culturally-sensitive prevention and intervention programming that addresses 21st century challenges and enhances health and well-being.

Research Projects

  • Enhancing the academic, physical, psychosocial, and sexual adjustment of America‚Äôs youth.
  • Investigating the field of individual and family stress, focusing on four areas which include the intergenerational transmission of parenting and behavior, stress within interpersonal relationships, economic stress and consequences for development, and resilience to family stress.
  • Researching family inequalities across behavioral, health, and financial domains. Pivotal to the research is the development and use of novel family structure/complexity measures that reflect modern family life (e.g. multipartnered fertility, boomerang fathering, step-families, and relationship biographies).
  • Focusing on marriage and intimate relationships.
  • Developing proficiency in the study of Type-2 diabetes.

Faculty Interests

Cassandra Dorius, family complexity, family instability, multipartnered fertility, and diverging destinies.

Meghan Gillette, reproductive development and health, anthropological/evolutionary theories to modern human health, familial and societal influences on adolescents, scholarship of teaching and learning.

Tera Jordan, African American/Black, marriage, relationships, tye-2 diabetes mellitus, preventions, management.

Jan Melby, family processes, parent-child relationships, observational methodology, youth competence, program evaluation, and child welfare.

Tricia Neppl, family stress, continuity of parenting across generations, parent-child relationship, social-emotional development, child and adolescent temperament, and observational research methods.

Related Laboratories, Programs, Centers

Child Welfare Research and Training Project

Need More Information?

Graduate Program:
DeAnn Barnes
2330E Palmer Building
2222 Osborn Drive
Ames, IA 50011-1084