Ann C. Crouter 

photo of Ann Crouter

Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean, College of Health and Human Development and Professor of Human Development

Contact Information

301 Health and Human Development Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-865-3282

Research Interests

How do people's experiences at work affect their health, well-being, psychological development, family relationships? How does it affect their parenting and the health, well-being, and development of their children? How does family life make its mark on people when they go to work? These questions weave their way through my research projects, all of which examine work and family in different populations and points of the life-span. My research falls into two domains:

  • Research on growing up in dual-earner families (Penn State Family Relationships Project, with Susan McHale)
  • Research on daily work-family dynamics (Work, Family, and Health Network)

With Susan McHale, I co-direct the Penn State Family Relationships Project (FRP), an NICHD-funded longitudinal study of gender socialization in dual-earner families. We began the study when the two oldest children in each participating family were about ages 10 and 8 and followed families until the eldest child completed high school. Paying equal attention to mothers and fathers and studying two children in each family enables us to make comparisons not only between different families (e.g., boys vs. girls) but also within them (brothers vs. sisters; mothers vs. fathers). My approach to our data is to compare the unfolding gender-related experiences, attitudes, and competencies of sons versus daughters in families that vary as a function of mothers' and fathers' gender-related attitudes and their work and family roles.

The FRP siblings are now in young adulthod. NICHD has provided funding so that we can gather new data, not only parents and siblings, but on siblings' romantic partners. The families continue to be extraordinarily dedicated to the project, and we are learning a lot.

I also participate in a team of researchers, led by Kim Updegraff (Arizona State University), that is studying gender socialization in a sample of 240 Mexican-American families raising adolescents in the Phoenix, Arizona area. The Juntos (“together”) Project includes measures that are specific to Mexican-American culture so that we can learn more about the relationship between cultural factors and gender development in this population.

Like the FRP children, the Juntos youth are now in young adulthood. We are funded to gather some similar data across the two samples so that we can learn more about family dynamics in different cultural contexts.

Work, Family, and Health Network

It is my privilege to work on the periphery of an exciting undertaking: the Penn State component of the Work, Family, and Health Network, led by David Almeida (HDFS), Susan McHale (HDFS), and Laura Klein (BBH). The Penn State team is one of six centers from around the country that are working together to study the effects of workplace interventions on the health and well-being of employees and their family members. Our specific contribution is a daily diary study designed to illuminate in detail how the intervention works in daily life. The daily diary study involves studying parent-child pairs, specifically an employee with a child aged 10 to 18. This design gives us the opportunity to track how the parent’s work day is linked to family dynamics and the daily health and well-being of both parent and child. Our data include daily diary interviews, as well as biomarker data; the combination provides unique insights into daily stress processes.

Penn State Hotel Initiative

Prior to the launch of the Work, Family, and Health Network, we conducted pilot work on hotel employees. We chose the hotel industry because hotels are open 24/7, and many hotel jobs are fast-paced, requiring long hours and attention to customer service. We used a variety of methods including qualitative interviews, telephone surveys with hotel managers and their partners, and daily diaries with hotel managers and their spouses, as well as with hotel hourly workers and their children. The hotel project was a critical testing ground for our strategy of integrating biomarker and self-report diary data. Publications from the project contributed some of the first insights in the literature on the work-family interface in the hospitality industry. The project was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. It was led by John O’Neill (School of Hospitality Management), Dave Almeida (HDFS) and me, with important contributions from Laura Klein (BBH), Susan McHale (HDFS), Jan Cleveland (Psychology), and others. Although we are no longer gathering new data, we will be analyzing these data and gaining new insights for years to come.


B.A., 1976, Psychology/English, Stanford University
Ph.D., 1982, Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University

Professional Experience

  • 2007-present: Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • 2006-2007: Director, Social Science Research Institute and the Children, Youth, & Families Consortium, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1993-present : Professor of Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1987-1993: Associate Professor of Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 1981-1987: Assistant Professor of Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University


1984-87: Kellogg Foundation National Fellowship

1999: President's Award for Excellence in Academic Integration of Research, Teaching, and Service, The Pennsylvania State University

2004: Evan G. and Helen G. Pattishall Outstanding Research Achievement Award, College of Health and Human Development, Penn State University

2006: Faculty Scholar Medal for Excellence in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Penn State University

Selected Publications

Almeida, D.M., Davis, K. D., Crouter, A.C., & O'Neill, J.W. (In press). Translational research on work and family: Daily stress processes in hotel employees and their families. In E. Wethington (Ed.), Improving the state of Americans: Translational research in the social and behaivoral sciences. American Psychological Association: Washington, DC.

Goodman, W.B., Crouter, A.C., Lanza, S.T., Cox, M.J., Vernon-Feagans, L., & The Family Life Project Key Investigators (In press). Parental work stress and latent profiles of father-infant parenting quality. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Wray-Lake, L., Crouter, A.C., & McHale, S.M. (2010). Developmental patterns in decision-making autonomy across middle childhood and adolescence: European American parents' perspectives. Child Development, 81, 636-651.

O'Neill, J.W., Harrison, M.M., Cleveland, J.N., Almeida, D.M., Stawski, R. S., Crouter, A.C. (2009). Work-family climate, organizational commitment, and turnover: Multilevel contagion effects of leaders. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 74, 18-29.

Crouter A.C., Baril, M.E., Davis, K.D., & McHale, S.M. (2008). Process linking social class and racial socilization in African American dual-earner families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 70, 1310-1324.

Crouter, A. C., Whiteman, S. D., McHale, S. M., Osgood, W. D. (2007). The development of gender attitude traditionality across middle childhood and adolescence. Child Development, 78, 911-926.

Crouter, A.C., Davis, K. D., Updegraff, K. A., Delgado, M., & Fortner, M. (2006). Mexican American fathers' occupational conditions: Links to family members' psychological adjustment. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68, 843-858.

Crouter, A. C., Lanza, S., Pirretti, A., Goodman, W. B., & Neebe, E. (2006). The O*Net jobs classification system: A primer for family researchers. Family Relations, 55 461-472.

Strategic Themes

  • Human Development
  • Contexts and Social Institutions