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BENNER, APRILE D

Aprile D Benner

Associate Professor, OnCourse Researchers
Human Dev & Family Sci, Office of Strategy and Policy


abenner@prc.utexas.edu

Phone: 512-232-1964

Office Location
SEA 2.442

Postal Address
The University of Texas at Austin
Human Dev and Family Sci, College of Natural Sciences
108 E. Dean Keeton St. A2702
SEA 1.142A
Austin, TX 78712

Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles (2007)
M.S., Purdue University (1999)
B.S., Vanderbilt University (1997)

Research Interests

Aprile Benner’s substantive research interests center on the development of low-income and race/ethnic minority youth, investigating how social contexts influence experiences of marginalization and discrimination, school transitions, and developmental outcomes during adolescence. As a developmental psychologist, the core of her research program is a fundamental developmental question—what are the continuities and changes in the social, emotional, and cognitive growth and maturation of young people? Reflecting her training in educational demography, she works to answer this question with an awareness of how such developmental patterns are embedded in the groups, contexts, and social structures of society. 

Specifically, her research falls into two primary streams: race/ethnicity and social class as developmental contexts and the influence of multiple and shifting ecological contexts in young people’s lives. Her studies have examined adolescents’ perceptions of discrimination, their experiences of numeric marginalization tied to both race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, experiences of school transitions across the early life course, and how schools, families, and peers independently and conjointly influence young people’s well-being. Her current research focuses on  discrimination tied to race/ethnicity, social class, sexual minority status, and weight and linkages to disparities in mental and physical health and academic achievement. 

  

Current Grant Funding

Principal Investigator, Biopsychosocial Pathways Linking Discrimination and Adolescent Health. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2017-2022).

Principal Investigator, Discrimination and Achievement Disparities in Adolescence. National Science Foundation (2016 - 2019).

Principal Investigator, Adolescents and the Social Contexts of American Schools. William T. Grant Scholars Program (2013 - 2018).

Co-Investigator, IBSS: Identifying the Optimal Levels and Timing of Family and School Influences. National Science Foundation (2015 - 2020, PI: Elizabeth Gershoff).

Prior Grant Funding

Principal Investigator, eRACE: Examining Race, Academics, Contexts, and Equality. William T. Grant Foundation (2015 - 2017).

Co-Investigator, Parent-child Processes Affecting Long-term Post-disaster Psychosocial Adjustment. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (R03HD077164, 2015 - 2017, PI: Erika Felix).

Principal Investigator, School Demographics, Marginalization, and Adolescent Substance Use. National Institute on Drug Abuse (R03DA032018, 2011-2014). 

Principal Investigator, Marginalization and Educational Performance during Adolescence. National Academy of Education & Spencer Foundation (2012 - 2013)

Principal Investigator, Selection into Pre-K-3. Foundation for Child Development (2010 - 2012)

Principal Investigator, The Transition to High School and Later School Dropout. The Spencer Foundation (2010 - 2011)

Principal Investigator, Race, School Transitions, and Child and Adolescent Well-being. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (F32HD056732, 2008 - 2011)

Select Publications (* denotes undergraduate or graduate student or postdoctoral fellow)

Benner, A.D. (forthcoming). The consequences of racial/ethnic discrimination for adolescent adjustment. Child Development Perspectives.

Benner, A.D., *Boyle, A.E, & *Bakhtiari, F. (forthcoming). Understanding students’ transition to high school: Demographic variation and the role of supportive relationships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Benner, A.D. & *Wang, Y. (2017). Racial/ethnic discrimination and adolescents’ well-being: The role of cross-ethnic friendships and friends’ experiences of discrimination. Child Development, 88, 493-504.

Benner, A.D., *Boyle, A.E., & *Sadler, S. (2016). Parental involvement and adolescents’ educational success: The roles of prior achievement and socioeconomic status. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 1053-1064.

Benner, A.D. & *Wang, Y. (2015). Adolescent substance use: The role of demographic marginalization and socioemotional distress. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1086-1097.

Benner, A.D., Crosnoe, R., & Eccles, J.S. (2015). Schools, peers, and prejudice in adolescence. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 25, 173-188.

Benner, A.D. & *Wang, Y. (2014). School attendance trajectories from middle to high school: Influences of school transitions and changing school contexts. Developmental Psychology, 50, 1288-1301.

Benner, A.D. & Graham, S. (2013). The antecedents and consequences of discrimination during adolescence: Does the source of discrimination matter? Developmental Psychology, 49, 1602-1613.

2013  Award for Early Career Research Contributions to Child Development, Society for Research in Child Development

2013  William T. Grant Foundation Scholar

2013  Monitoring the Future Visiting Scholar Program

2011  National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

2010  Hershel D. Thornburg Dissertation Award, Society for Research on Adolescence

2010  Outstanding Dissertation Award, American Educational Research Society, Division E Human Development 

2009 Exemplary Dissertation Award, Spencer Foundation

2008  Ruth L. Kirchstein National Research Service Award, NICHD

Courses Recently Taught

Undergraduate
HDF 371 – Adolescent Development

UGS 303 - Modern Family (University Signature Course)

 

Graduate
HDF 380k.2  Foundational Statistics

HDF 380k.4 – Advanced Regression and Structural Models (SEM)

In Fall 2017, I will be conducting surveys with approximately 1,000 students in local middle schools. We will be going directly to the schools to recruit students, distribute and collect parent consent and student assent forms, and conduct student surveys. Undergraduate and graduate research assistants will prepare data collection materials, make recruitment presentations at schools, distribute and collect all study materials, pay study participants, and scan student survey responses.

In Spring 2017, we will be coordinating daily diary activities with approximately 100 students. Undergraduate and graduate research assistants will program daily diaries on iTouch devices, distribute and collect iTouch devices from students, and download and clean daily diary data.

If interested in participating in this research as a research assistant via course credit or on a volunteer basis, please email abenner@prc.utexas.edu. Thanks!