College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Research & Outreach

Family Social Science faculty are renowned researchers who use the knowledge and methods of the social sciences to conduct research and outreach in partnership with families, communities, and organizations to address psychological, cultural, social, and economic issues affecting families locally, nationally, and globally.

Faculty mentor undergraduate and graduate students and collaborate with them to examine families and their interactions with – and within – diverse environments and systems.


Faculty with Extension appointments conduct research and lead outreach and educational programs across the state and country. The Extension page has more information about faculty and their Extension scholarship.

Research areas

  • Child adjustment in family context
  • Families and culture
  • Families and financial decisions
  • Family formation and intergenerational studies
  • Families, loss, and trauma
  • Intimate family relationships

Research Projects and Centers

APLUS Pathways to Life Success

APLUS is the first ever longitudinal study to examine the connection between finances and well-being, how young people develop financial behaviors and how those behaviors relate to financial capability and well-being as adults.
Faculty: Dr. Joyce Serido

Center for Personalized Prevention Research

CPPR advances children’s mental health with innovative approaches in precision healthcare that inform the development, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of preventive interventions for high risk youth and families.
Faculty: Dr. Gerald August

Children, Youth, and Families at Risk Professional Development and Technical Assistance Center (CYFAR PDTA)

Through developing and deploying technical assistance, resources, trainings, and tools, the Center builds the capacity of its grantees by increasing the overall positive impact of CYFAR's Initiatives.
Faculty: Dr. Lynne Borden

Citizen Professional Center

Resources to prepare professionals, students, and community members for effective demographic engagement with communities.
Faculty: Dr. Bill Doherty

College Students & Money Management Issues

The purpose of this research project is to investigate college students' money management practices, with a specific interest in students of color.
Faculty: Dr. Virginia Zuiker

East Metro American Indian Diabetes Initiative

This community-based participatory research project is designed to better understand and reduce health disparities.
Faculty: Dr. Tai Mendenhall

Economic Well-Being of Diverse Families Residing in the United States

This research agenda is designed to understand the economic well-being of diverse families residing in the U.S. and in Minnesota by examining economic and management issues that affect individuals and families.
Faculty: Dr. Virginia Zuiker

Elder Family Financial Exploitation Project

To learn about cases when elderly people are victims of financial exploitation by someone in their own family.
Faculty: Dr. Marlene Stum

Family Businesses and the Self-Employed

This research project examines the self-employed versus wage and salary earners, family businesses owners, and financial management issues that affect the economic well-being of individuals and families.
Faculty: Dr. Virginia Zuiker

Family Communication Project

A study of how parent-child communication can promote the health and well-being of children, with the goal to understand how parent-child communication operates differently across various kinds of families.
Faculty: Dr. Martha Rueter

Family Education Diabetes Series

This study is an example of the effort to work together to transcend conventional top-down, service-delivery approaches to care. An ongoing project of the Citizen Professional Center.
Faculty: Dr. Tai Mendenhall

Family Inheritance Project

To examine the meaning and experience of inheritance decisions from the perspective of older parents, adult children, and siblings.
Faculty: Dr. Marlene Stum

Immigrant and Refugee Families

The goal of the Immigrant and Refugee Families lab is to advance interdisciplinary, social justice scholarship with immigrant and refugee families.
Faculty: Dr. Catherine Solheim

Military REACH

A collaboration with the United States Department of Defense's Office of Family Policy using a multi-disciplinary approach that integrates both research and outreach to support those who work with and on behalf of military families.
Faculty: Dr. Lynne Borden

Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project

Develops, disseminates, and evaluates best practices to help couples at high risk for divorce and who are uncertain decide whether to divorce or to try to rebuild their marriage.
Faculty: Drs. Bill Doherty and Steven Harris

Parenting 2.0

This project is interested in gaining a better understanding of the ways in which—and the reasons why—parents use technology. Ongoing studies of technology use and parent story-gathering are featured.
Faculty: Dr. Jodi Dworkin

Social Networks and Child Adjustment

The purpose of this study is to examine the impact social and family networks have on children's adjustment, especially children's educational achievement.
Faculty: Dr. Zha Blong Xiong

The Weiler Lab

We develop, test, and optimize preventive interventions for youth and families. The goal is to identify effective strategies for fostering healthy development.
Faculty: Dr. Lindsey Weiler


Baby Boomers for Balanced Health Care

A citizen group focused on challenging the cultural belief that more health care is better health care.
Faculty: Dr. Bill Doherty

Birthdays Without Pressure

A citizen action group of parents and professionals addressing the excess involved in children's birthday celebrations.
Faculty: Dr. Bill Doherty

Community School Connections

A Twin Cities area network of school district staff, community leaders, and staff from the University of Minnesota who assist immigrant parents in navigating the school system.
Faculty: Dr. Sara Axtell

Critical Conversations About Financing Long-Term Care

A research-based curriculum to increase knowledge and skills about long-term care risk, costs, and financing alternatives.
Faculty: Dr. Marlene Stum

Early Risers

The Early Risers program is a multicomponent program that targets elementary school children 6 to 12 years of age who are experiencing early adjustment difficulties that may be linked to later risky behaviors, such as substance use. Early Risers is based on the premise that early, comprehensive, and sustained intervention is necessary to target multiple risk and protective factors.
Faculty: Dr. Gerald August

Financial Educator Certificate Program

An online program equipping community-based professionals with knowledge and skills to help individuals and families manage financial resources, build financial assets, and improve financial health and well-being.
Faculty: Dr. Catherine Solheim

Financing Long-Term Care

Unbiased, research-based information and decision-making tools about long-term care risk, costs, and financing alternatives.
Faculty: Dr. Marlene Stum

Minnesota Health Care Directive

A planning tool used to identify end-of-life preferences and wishes and to identify who you want to make decisions for you if you are medically unable.
Faculty: Dr. Marlene Stum

Parenting College Students - When your child goes to college

This website provides comprehensive resources to parents of college students to support and empower successful transitions to college, increasing responsibility, and good decision-making skills.
Faculty: Dr. Jodi Dworkin

Police and Black Men Project-Minneapolis

The goal of this project is to forge connections between police officers and African American men that can lead to better partnerships for community safety and law enforcement.
Faculty: Dr. Bill Doherty

Seminar for Parents: Alcohol Use on Campus

Free online course designed to provide parents of college students with information and tools to support and empower successful transitions to college, increasing responsibility and good decision-making skills.
Faculty: Dr. Jodi Dworkin

Seminar for Parents: Finances

Free online course for parents to understand how to talk with their college student children about making responsible decisions when it comes to managing their finances.
Faculty: Dr. Jodi Dworkin

Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate?

Practical information about improving family decision-making about inheritance of personal property.
Faculty: Dr. Marlene Stum