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Diversity and Developmental Science

Bridging the Gaps Between Research, Practice, and Policy

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  • © 2023


  • Tackles issues of conceptualizing and measuring key developmental science constructs associated with race/ethnicity

  • Addresses the unique and universal processes that promote growth, thriving, and resilience

  • Examines systems of oppression, power, privilege, racial justice, and structural disadvantage

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Table of contents (15 chapters)


About this book

This book examines the challenges faced by developmental scientists as the population under the age of 18 in the United States has become a majority-minority, with no racial/ethnic group having a numeric majority. The volume tackles how these demographic shifts compel scientists to consider the unique and universal processes that promote the growth, thriving, and resilience of these populations across this new landscape and also takes into account systems of oppression, power, privilege, racial justice, and structural disadvantage. It describes the challenges of conducting research with diverse populations and offers practical methodological solutions.

The book provides an overview of the current demographic shifts and their implications for developmental researchers. It examines key diversity science constructs that need to be considered for all developmental research within this new global context in which societies are becoming more diverse. In particular, chapters address how to measure and conceptualize these constructs using within-group designs as well as research that includes youth from multiple backgrounds. In addition, the volume focuses on the contexts that shape the developmental trajectories of youth and how best to capture these contexts with an eye toward diversity science.

Key areas of coverage include:

  • Identifying best practices in the conceptualization and measurement of race and ethnicity in developmental science at the individual and contextual levels.
  • Stimulating a dialogue that translates to an actionable agenda designed to tackle issues of conceptualization and measurement of key constructs associated with race/ethnicity.
  • Leading-edge strategies for building interdisciplinary teams to conduct ethical and responsible work with diverse populations that include scholars of color.

Finally, the book addresses translational work, including how the incorporation of diversity science can influence policy and help build collaborative research teams that are well-poised to conduct ethical research in these diverse populations. The volume provides recommendations for researchers to incorporate diversity science into their work.

This book is a must-have resource for researchers, professors, clinicians, therapists and other professionals as well as graduate students in developmental, clinical child, and school psychology, public health, ethnic studies, counseling, anthropology, African American/Black Studies, Latinx/Latino/Chicano Studies, and Asian American Studies.

Editors and Affiliations

  • The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, USA

    Dawn P. Witherspoon

  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, USA

    Gabriela Livas Stein

About the editors

Dawn P. Witherspoon, Ph.D., is the McCourtney Family Early Career Professor in Psychology and Director of PACT (Parents And Children Together), a community-university partnership, at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on the ways in which families and youth are shaped by the contexts in which they are embedded, particularly focusing on how neighborhood, family, and cultural factors affect adolescents’ academic, psychosocial, and behavioral well-being. The crux of her research focuses on the neighborhood context and its relation to other proximal contexts for adolescents and identifies positive characteristics in multiple contexts that are related to adolescent well-being. Her research has been funded by NSF, NIDA, NIGMS, and other entities. Dr. Witherspoon has served on many editorial boards for developmental science and is currently on the editorial board of the American Psychologist and Identity and associate editor for the Journal of Research on Adolescence, where she co-edited a four-part special series, “Dismantling Systems of Racism and Oppression during Adolescence”.

Gabriela Livas Stein, Ph.D.,  Professor and Head of Psychology at UNC Greensboro. Dr. Stein is a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Stein’s program of research identifies individual risk and protective processes for Latinx and other minoritized youth when facing cultural stressors (e.g., discrimination, acculturative stress) and seeks to improve mental health treatment access for underserved populations including Latinx families. Her research has been funded by NIDA, NIMH, WT GRANT and PCORI. She is a past Vice President of Programming for the Society of Research on Adolescence, and is on the editorial board of Child Development.

Bibliographic Information

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