Oscar A. Barbarin, III, Ph.D.
Oscar A. Barbarin, Ph.D. is the L. Richardson and Emily Preyer Bicentennial Distinguished Professor for Strengthening Families in the School of Social Work, and Senior Investigator at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Rutgers University in 1975 and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in social psychology at Stanford University in 1983. He is President of the American Orthopsychiatric Association and a Fellow in American Psychological Association's Division 27 Society for Community Research and Action. He is currently involved in a longitudinal study of the effects of family life and publicly sponsored pre-K programs on early socio-emotional and academic development. He is also interested in the effects of early childhood intervention and the etiology of achievement and underachievement in ethnic minority children.
From 1979 to 2000 he trained undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, School of Social Work and the Center for Afro-American and African Studies, where he attained the rank of tenured full Professor. Over the years he has taught a variety of courses in Social Work, Psychology and the Institute for Social Research ICPSR Summer Research Training program in areas reflecting his research interests in Africa, African American children and families, early emotional and academic development, health and mental health.
As a Fogarty International Center Fellow Dr. Barbarin initiated research on the effects of community violence and poverty on emotional and behavioral development of South African children. He has published a book entitled "Mandela's Children" which describes the effects of poverty, violence and family life from birth to age 5 and is involved in a longitudinal study of socio-emotional development of South African Children.
From 1996 to 2000, he served as the Executive Director of the University of Michigan's South African Initiative Office where he collaborated on research and developed research and training exchange program aimed at development of the next generation of South African Scholars and the preparation of American students for scholarly work in Africa. He continues to collaborate on cross-national research in South Africa and the United States on adversity and social development of children, to advance understanding of the role of specific social risks in the development of behavioral, emotional, self-regulatory, attentional and social problems in young children. This work also contributes to broader programmatic research interests in the inter-relationship of culture, ethnicity, social risks, development and mental health.
During his tenure as a W.T. Grant Faculty Scholar, Dr. Barbarin investigated stress, coping and socio-emotional development in families of children with life threatening illnesses such as cancer, sickle cell disease, hemophilia and AIDS, and tested the effects of a preventive home-based, family focused intervention. His research on African American children and families has explored the effects of social risks on mental health. One aspect of his work is the development of screening tools for the early detection of factors that interfere with the academic and psychological adjustment of children. He weds research with concern about its application. He has collaborated with organizations such as Head Start in Detroit and Boysville of Michigan to improve their services to African American and Latino communities.
Professor Barbarin has served as a consulting editor for several research
journals, including Psychological Assessment, the Journal of Consulting
and Clinical Psychology, the Journal of Black Psychology and the American
Journal of Orthopsychiatry. In addition, he has served as a program and
research consultant with Head Start programs and the State of Michigan
Sickle Cell Program.
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