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Methods Research

Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State has a long and distinguished record of doctoral training in developmental methods and the analysis of change. Faculty are working on both analytical and design innovations and applications to substantive research questions.

Application

Methods application spans all levels of analysis, from the biological (genetics, physiology) to the social context (schools, families, neighborhoods, and the workplace), as well as across many timescales (cells to society, milliseconds to millennia, cradle to grave). Methods are often applied to understand development in childhood, adulthood and old age; to study individual and interpersonal processes like emotion and learning; and to develop and evaluate prevention and intervention programs.

Development

Methods development research is spear-headed by the Quantitative Developmental Systems Methodology Core (QuantDev), a group of faculty in HDFS with broad expertise in methods for understanding human health and behavior at multiple levels and time-scales. Specific interests include intensive longitudinal data collection methods (e.g. ecological momentary assessments, smartphone sensors, wearable and digital health measures, geospatial data), as well as associated analyses, including structural equation modeling, dynamical systems, Bayesian modeling and estimation, data mining and machine learning approaches, intervention optimization and real-time adaptive intervention, network analysis, and statistical programming.

Student Interest

Students can develop specializations in one or more areas and are strongly encouraged to work with faculty in other areas of HDFS on topics related to individual development, prevention and intervention research, or family systems. Through these collaborations, students gain direct insights into substantive questions that motivate the development of advanced quantitative methods.

Find

Last Name
Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Summary Statement

Daily stress processes; adult development; family factors in mental health; work and family linkages; fatherhood; statistical techniques for measuring change.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
ICDS Faculty Co-Hire
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Director, Quantitative Developmental Systems Methodology Core
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Professor-in-Charge, Undergraduate Programs
Summary Statement

Bo Cleveland studies individual differences in substance use and misuse as well as how individuals’ characteristics modify the impact of experiences on substance use and addictive behaviors. His work focuses on person-context and person-experience interactions.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, and Public Policy
Director of the Evidence-to-Impact Collaborative
Summary Statement

Max Crowley is a prevention scientist investigating how to optimize investments in healthy development—with a focus on preventive strategies to reduce substance misuse and delinquent behavior.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Professor-in-Charge, Graduate Program
Dr. Frances Keesler Graham Early Career Professor in Developmental Neuroscience
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
ICDS Faculty Co-Hire
Summary Statement

Zita Oravecz's research work has been focused on developing and disseminating innovative computational and statistical techniques for addressing questions related to emotional and cognitive functioning and development.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Summary Statement

Dr. Rulison's work focuses on how peer networks shape substance use and related health-risk behaviors and how program developers can build more potent interventions and promote the diffusion of intervention effects.

Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS
Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Director, Center for Healthy Aging
Department
  • Human Development and Family Studies - HDFS