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What We Study

Our faculty are at the cutting edge of their fields and are devoted to finding solutions to today's most difficult and important problems. The work of the school, however, is not focused entirely on problems.

We address the positive outcomes associated with development, families and social institutions. Understanding individual, family and social strengths and resilience is critical to promoting and improving well-being and health.

Child, adolescent, and life course development: The study of the evolving dynamics of the causes and consequences of child, adolescent and adult development.

Dynamical assessment: The development and application of research and statistical techniques to assess the dynamics of social interactions and change over time in individuals, groups, networks and populations.

Family dynamics: The study of patterns and change in interactions of family members including romantic and marital partners, parents and siblings, and socialization of children.

Health and society: The study of the determinants of physical and mental health and health related behaviors, policy issues, health care professions, and prevention of health-related problems; expansion of "health" beyond biological outcomes (disease and death) to include effective cognitive, affective, and social functioning, and quality of life.

Race, ethnicity, and migration: The study of racial and ethnic identity, migration, and acculturation processes and the effects of migration on individuals and society.

Social demography: The study of human populations, encompassing the causes and consequences of population change and the relation of such change to social and economic processes.

Core Values

The foundation of the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics rests on an essential set of core values that define, inform, and guide our decisions and practices. We are guided by a set of simple but direct and significant core values and these values reflect the ongoing development of the school.

World-Class Excellence. Our goal is to become a national and international force of world-class excellence for children and families in Arizona and beyond.

Innovation and Visionary Thinking. We strive to be at the cutting-edge in all that we do and to think creatively about how to solve fundamental questions.

Collaboration. We ask critical questions with the understanding that no single discipline has the answer. We work collaboratively to answer such questions, and with respect for others' points of view.

Impact and Outreach. We are dedicated to studying issues that have meaning and impact. Our goal is to make a difference in people's lives.

Entrepreneurialism. We recognize the need to engage in activities that allow us to invest in ourselves and help provide our own resources.

Access and Diversity. In all matters, we seek openness, involvement and inclusion. We aim to recruit, retain and engage an academically prepared and diverse faculty and student body.


student-to-faculty ratio

Top 3

National Leader in Child & Family Studies


in Adolescence/Emerging Adulthood Studies