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The family is central to human development and family studies, as it is a primary context in which individual socialization and development take place. It is, perhaps, the principal medium through which culture, society, and social change affect the individual. And it is a social fact in itself that feeds back and can accelerate or mitigate changes occurring in broader society.

Graduate study at Penn State offers students a unique opportunity to develop the substantive, methodological, and theoretical skills necessary to study human families.

Appointment Type
Accepting Graduate Students?
Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Summary Statement

Daily stress processes; adult development; family factors in mental health; work and family linkages; fatherhood; statistical techniques for measuring change.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Karl R. and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professor for the Study of Families
Summary Statement

Sunhye Bai researches daily family processes that shape adolescent development, with a focus on family-based risk and protective factors for youth internalizing problems.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family
Associate Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Associate Director of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center
Summary Statement

Research interests include family systems processes underlying adolescent development (substance use, problem behavior, emotional distress, positive well-being) and understanding change processes in family-centered preventive interventions.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Summary Statement

Steffany Fredman researches the interpersonal context of mental health (PTSD and related conditions), couples’ adaptation to stress, and couple-based interventions to enhance individual, couple, and family well-being. 

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Sociology
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
Summary Statement

Lynn Martire’s research aims to identify the ways in which close relationships in adulthood affect health and chronic illness management, and the effects of chronic illness on close relationships. Dr. Martire teaches HDFS 418 and 546 (Family Relationships).

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Professor of Demography
Director, Social Science Research Institute
Associate Director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Department Head
Professor of HDFS, Psychology, and Pediatrics
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Summary Statement

Dr. Tornello has three major research interests: Family, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The majority her work has focused on the role of family composition and parental sexual orientation and gender in the family system.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS