I direct the Social Development Lab at the University of Houston. In addition to Human Development and Family Studies, I am also affiliated with the School Psychology doctoral program at the University of Houston. My research examines how emotion socialization processes are embedded within, shaped by, and convey meaning for multilayered socio-cultural contexts (culture, race/ethnicity, social class, geographic location, gender). My work addresses development from early childhood through adolescence. My current funded research (R01 HD097131 from the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development) examines maternal emotion socialization from early to middle childhood in relation to child temperament and behavior problems. The impact of my work has been recognized by my election to Fellow status in the American Psychological Association. In general, research in my lab focuses on:
- Agents of emotion socialization (parents; friends; grandparents)
- Modes of emotion socialization (beliefs about positive and negative emotions; reactions to children’s positive and negative emotions; variation in expression of positive and negative emotions; emotion-related discourse)
- Adaptive skills and outcomes (affective social competence; family and peer relationships; health indices; prosocial behavior; psychological adjustment; sense of self)
In other words - what do children and youth learn about emotions from the important people in their lives? How do emotions communicate to children and youth what the important people in their lives care about? What patterns of emotional communication help to promote children's development of social and emotional skills, positive relationships with friends and family, and healthy outcomes? And, what's similar and what's different about all of this according to the country or region families live in, and their race, ethnicity, or social class, and the gender of children and parents?
I value and have experience with interdisciplinary collaborations, including research with colleagues in Appalachian studies, clinical psychology, economics, pediatrics, physiology and nutrition, and sociolinguistics. Similarly, I enjoy the opportunity to stretch through mentoring graduate students who share my general interests yet also lead our research in new directions. For example, past students have led us to expand into adolescence and emerging adulthood; to focus on the Latinx cultural context; to consider the role of friends as emotion socializers; and to incorporate constructs from linguistics. Three of my graduate students were awarded fellowships from the Southern Regional Education Board program to increase faculty diversity and one was awarded a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, demonstrating the excellence of their work. I have experience conducting research with and mentoring students in conducting research with African American, Appalachian, Latinx, Lumbee American Indian, white American, Chinese and Turkish families.
In addition to my classroom teaching, which has been recognized by university awards, I provide research opportunities for undergraduate students in my lab. I've found that the emphasis on multilayered social contexts in my research, teaching, and outreach resonates with students with varied and intersecting experiences with marginalization, including students from racial and ethnic minority groups, first generation students, and sexual minority students. I work to create an environment that helps my students view developmental science as something that can belong to them, where bringing their full selves is not only allowed but also makes our science better, and where the questions that matter to them and their communities can be addressed.
As an important complement to my research, I partner with community organizations to provide parent education and child development programming. I am accustomed to adapting what I focus on and how I communicate to meet community needs, and have delivered brief talks, half-day workshops, and 6- to 8-week groups. I also have experience bridging campus and community anti-racism efforts and applying student service learning to meet community goals. Given my focus on how aspects of the social context influence and are influenced by developmental processes, I view my research, student mentoring and teaching, and community engagement as mutually-influencing components of a cohesive whole.
Please download my cv for a full list of publications, or visit my profile on GoogleScholar. Selected recent publications are below.
* = student or former student co-author
*Hernandez, E., Carmichael, K. & Dunsmore, J.C. (2021). Toward integrating research on parent-child emotion talk and linguistic theory: A spotlight on parents’ (in)direct communication. Social Development, 30, 38 - 56. doi: 10.1111/sode.12472
*Hernandez, E., Carmichael, K. Satterwhite, E., *Yanuaria, C., & Dunsmore, J.C. (2020). “Lots of prayer, lots of emotional coaching, and pray it works out the best”: Tuning in to Kids in a rural Appalachian community. Journal of Rural Mental Health, 44, 184 - 204. doi: 10.1037/rmh0000135
*Miller-Slough, R.L. & Dunsmore, J.C. (2019). Longitudinal patterns in parent and friend emotion socialization: Associations with adolescent emotion regulation. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 29, 953 – 966. doi: 10.1111/jora.12434
*Hernandez, E., Smith, C.L., Day, K.L., *Neal, A., & Dunsmore, J.C. (2018). Patterns of parental emotion-related discourse and links with children’s problem behaviors: A person-centered approach. Developmental Psychology, 54, 2077 – 2089. doi: 10.1037/dev0000602
*Booker, J.A. & Dunsmore, J.C. (2017). Affective Social Competence in adolescence: Current findings and future directions. Social Development, 26, 3 - 20. doi: 10.1111/sode.12193
*Miller-Slough, R.L. & Dunsmore, J.C. (2016). Parent and friend emotion socialization in adolescence: Associations with psychological adjustment. Adolescent Research Review, 1, 287 - 305. doi: 10.1007/s40894-016-0026-z