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Science in Film: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Science in Film: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?"

Last month the documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" was released about the life and legacy of Fred Rogers. Rogers used his understanding of childhood development in order to teach children about emotional and social topics. Researchers at the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory at UT Austin discuss the techniques he used to ad...
Using Chosen Names Reduces Odds of Depression and Suicide in Transgender Youths

Using Chosen Names Reduces Odds of Depression and Suicide in Transgender Youths

In one of the largest and most diverse studies of transgender youths to date, researchers led by a team at The University of Texas at Austin have found that when transgender youths are allowed to use their chosen name in places such as work, school and at home, their risk of depression and suicide drops."Many kids who are transgender have chosen a ...
In the News: The Maternal Grandparent Advantage

In the News: The Maternal Grandparent Advantage

Today the New York Times published an article about the maternal grandparent advantage, the phenomenon where maternal grandparents have more access to their grandchildren than paternal grandparents. Karen Fingerman, professor in Human Development and Family Sciences was featured in the article and discusses the advantages that mother-daug...
UT Lab School turns 91, looking forward to 100

UT Lab School turns 91, looking forward to 100

A letter from the chair of the Department of Human Development & Family Sciences, Stephen T. Russell, and the director of the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child & Family Laboratory, Amy Bryan. 

The Language Brokers (Audio)

The Language Brokers (Audio)

​Millions of children in the U.S. play a vital, but often overlooked, role in their families. These children of immigrants, known as "language brokers," help their parents translate job applications, medical documents and bills into their native language. They also help them navigate a completely alien culture. Researchers like Su Yeong Kim, in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, are debating whether being a language broker is good for children, or not.

The Ripples Felt From Fathers

The Ripples Felt From Fathers

Just as a pebble dropped in a lake sends rings of water far from the point of impact, parenting can create a ripple effect. By interacting with their children in certain ways, parents can set in motion later outcomes that are sometimes surprising.

Bully-Proofing the Teen Years

Bully-Proofing the Teen Years

Our picture of the classic bullies and their victims – the pale wallflower perched on a gym bench at a school dance or a gangly bookworm hovering at the edge of a basketball game – is due for an update. According to Stephen Russell, chair of The University of Texas at Austin's Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, "Leave It to Beaver-style bullying" isn't the main problem for today's kids. Instead, most social isolation is linked to characteristics like race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability.

Couples Weather Bickering With a Little Help from Their Friends

Couples Weather Bickering With a Little Help from Their Friends

Every couple has conflict, and new research finds that having good friends and family members to turn to alleviates the stress of everyday conflict between partners. In fact, according to the study led by The University of Texas at Austin's Lisa Neff, social networks may help provide protection against health problems brought about by ordinary tension between spouses.

Welcoming New Faculty

Welcoming New Faculty

The College of Natural Sciences welcomes a number of new tenured and tenure-track faculty members to campus this fall. Whether determining the best ways to help disadvantaged families become stronger or examining prevention-based interventions that help communities, these industrious and trailblazing scientists build on the college's reputation for cutting-edge research and research-based teaching.

Binge Drinking Remains High Among LGB Youth Despite Increased Acceptance

Binge Drinking Remains High Among LGB Youth Despite Increased Acceptance


Despite increased acceptance of same-sex marriage and workplace equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people, many LGB youth continue to have higher-than-heterosexual rates of binge drinking, according to a new paper published today in Addiction.

Bullying and Bias Can Cost Schools Millions in Lost Funding

Illustration by Jenna Luecke

When children avoid school to avoid bullying, many states can lose tens of millions of dollars in funding, and California alone loses an estimated $276 million each year because children feel unsafe.

New research from The University of Texas at Austin published in School Psychology Quarterly highlights the hidden cost to communities in states that use daily attendance numbers to calculate public school funding. When children are afraid to go to school because classmates target them because of bias against their race, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation, schools lose tens of millions of dollars each year linked to this absenteeism.

"Bullying is a big social problem that not only creates an unhealthy climate for individuals but also undermines schools and communities," says Stephen Russell, professor and chair of human development and family sciences at UT Austin. "We are interested in the economics of bullying and how it can affect a whole school system."

Russell Recognized for Significant Contribution to LGBT Psychology


Professor and chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences Stephen Russell has received the prestigious Distinguished Book Award from Division 44—the American Psychological Association's Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

Commencement Speaker Helps Shape Young Minds Through Sesame Street


Before Elmo and Cookie Monster come alive on the small screen, childhood experts like Jennifer Kotler Clarke, Vice President of Content Research & Evaluation at Sesame Workshop, conduct experiments and review data to ensure these and other Sesame Street Muppets have the intended impact on children, parents and educators all over the world.

3 Lessons from Research About Supporting Mothers

Illustration by Jenna Luecke

Mothers have been celebrated and honored in the US for the last century on a national Mother's Day. But we all also know that families—and perhaps especially mothers—are under increasing pressure, financial, social and otherwise. Supporting mothers is critical for moms, kids, businesses and communities, and research from the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at UT Austin is pointing to what can be done.

With a Focus on Others, Graduate Lands Campus-Wide Awards

Marilu Sanchez receiving the Outstanding Student Award from Texas Parents Association from Rec Sports' Chris Burnett

While studying for her degree in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS), Marilu Sanchez—one of the world-changing CNS students graduating this month—dedicated herself to helping others.

UT Austin Family Sciences Program and Mathematics Among Top 10 in World Rankings


The Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) has ranked the University Texas at Austin among the top 10 universities worldwide in three College of Natural Sciences subjects: Family Studies (#7), Mathematics, Interdisciplinary Applications (#1), and Mathematics, Applied (#5).

The Science of Relationships (Audio)

Illustration by Jenna Luecke

In honor of Valentine's Day, we're speaking with Lisa Neff, a researcher studying what makes happy, healthy romantic relationships tick. Neff is an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. She answers several burning questions, including: What are the health benefits of romantic relationships? How can newlyweds avoid communication breakdowns that result from external stress? and, Do optimists make better partners?

Stephen T. Russell Named Fellow of National Council on Family Relations

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) has conferred its prestigious Fellow status on Stephen T. Russell, the Priscilla Pond Flawn Regents Professor in Child Development in and Chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.

A 90-Year Milestone at the Priscilla Pond Flawn Child and Family Laboratory

Young children play on the porch of the original UT Lab School in 1928

On this morning, newspaper headlines herald Ma Ferguson's last days in the Texas capitol, Charles Lindbergh's plans to bypass the Atlantic by air, and Charlie Chaplin's divorce and tax evasion woes.

Sowing Seeds for a Life of Research

Image credited to Vivian Abagiu

Migration—within and between countries—can have profound effects on children and their families. It was economic migration in rural China and the impact on children separated from their parents that first piqued Yang Hou's research interest. Now a UT Austin human development and family sciences graduate student, she is studying the effect of social context on families from the two largest immigrant populations in the US—Asians and Latinos.