Robin L Jarrett

Professor of African American Studies

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Robin L. Jarrett is Professor of African American Studies and Human Development and Family Studies. Her research focuses on coping strategies of low-income African-American families and children in inner-city neighborhoods; organized youth programs and youth development; health practices among inner-city African American families. A key area of her research examines how low-income African American families promote the social mobility prospects of their children adolescents. This research relies on participant observation and in-depth interview and explores the following questions: (1) What are the internal dynamics of poor African American families who live in inner-city neighborhoods? (2) What are the personal strategies that families use to mediate the negative effects of neighborhood and individual impoverishment on child-youth development? (3) What factors account for variability in family patterns and child-youth developmental outcomes? (4) What are the policy and programmatic implications of the research findings?

Additional areas of research focus on organized youth programs and youth development and health issues among African American mothers and children. The youth research uses multiple methods (i.e., individual and group interviews, observations, surveys) to explore how various types of programs enhance adolescent development in key domains (i.e. motivation, initiative, multicultural orientation, social connections to adults, responsibility and teamwork). The health research uses multiple methods (interviews, observations, GIS) to identify the various factors (i.e., individual, interpersonal, community/neighborhoods) that influence dietary practices and weight management among low-income women and their young children. In addition to the substantive and theoretical aims of the two research areas, these studies are concerned with developing insights for youth and health programs which serve these populations.

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