Using culturally-relevant theoretical frameworks, the Strengths, Assets, & Resilience (StAR) lab explores the ways in which families, schools, and communities influence positive development among African American adolescents and youth.

Research Themes

Family Relationships

Although adolescence is a time of increasing autonomy, parent-adolescent relationships can have important implications for youths' transition into adolescence and into emerging adulthood. Current lab interests include: 1) parenting in the context of adolescence; 2) fathers' parenting experiences and involvement; and 3) dyadic relationships.

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Racial and Cultural Processes

Race- and culturally-specific experiences have been associated with the development of African American adolescents. Using risk and resilience models, we examine how these experiences (e.g., racial discrimination) can influence parent and adolescent well-being. Cultural protective factors (e.g., ethnic-racial socialization) are of particular interest.

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School & Community Influences

There are multiple factors that can contribute to the successful development of youth. The lab has a specific interest in understanding how school and community contexts are associated with adolescents' adjustment (school; psychological). We are particularly interested in understanding how youths' community engagement impacts positive adjustment.

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Gender & Development

Gender has been suggested as an important context for understanding adolescent experiences and subsequent outcomes. Current research directions of the StAR lab include: 1) highlighting gender variation in risk, promotive and protective factors and 2) illuminating within group variation in African American girls' social experiences and well-being.

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Current Projects

Representations of Fatherhood: Roles, Awareness, & MEaning (ReFRAME Study)

Numerous scholars have discussed the multigenerational impacts of negative stereotypes and deficit perspectives regarding African American fathers. Still, outside of qualitative studies, very little research...

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Fathers and Mothers in the Lives of Youth (F.A.M.I.L.Y) Study

Investigation exploring African American fathers’ parenting practices and influences on adolescent development. The FAMILY project is a longitudinal survey-based study with father, adolescent, and mother...

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African American Adolescent Girls’ School Experiences and Wellbeing: Identifying Resilience Factors

Investigation exploring the school and peer experiences of African American adolescent girls. This investigation includes survey and daily diary measures. Recruitment begins in Summer 2018!...

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Psychological Well-Being among African American Emerging Adults: Risk and Protective Factors

Emerging adulthood, defined as a distinct developmental period (18-25 years of age), has been characterized as a time of identity exploration and transition for many...

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Understanding How Mothers and Fathers Negotiate Race-Related Discussions

Several models that address the development of African American youth have discussed the importance of parent socialization that prepares youth to cope with one’s status...

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Recent News

Media: Back To School In North Carolina: A Statewide Special on COVID-19

Interview with Dr. Cooper discussing ways that we can support students, parents & teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Listen to the audio here  Media: Back...

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New Publication: African American fathers’ race-related concerns for the adolescents and parenting strategies

Watch a video of study highlights here Cooper, S. M., Burnett, M., Johnson, M. S., Brooks, J., Shaheed, J., & McBride, M. (2020). ‘That is...

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Media: Black Families Use “The Talk” to Help Their Children Cope with Racism

Recent article with Dr. Cooper, highlighting how Black families help their children cope with racism. Black Families Use “The Talk” to Help Their Children Cope...

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Star Lab Graduate Student, Margarett McBride, is awarded NSF GRFP and Ford Predoctoral Fellowships

Margarett McBride, a Developmental Psychology and StAR Lab 3rd year graduate student, received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Award and Ford Foundation...

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StAR Lab Graduate Student, Margarett McBride, is awarded a UNC IPRC Fellowship

Margarett McBride, a Developmental Psychology and StAR Lab 2nd year graduate student, received the UNC IPRC Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship Award. The IVP fellowship...

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