Dr. Johnson Photograph
Johnson, Deborah J. Ph.D.



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  • Ph.D. Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University
  • M.A. Human Development and Family Studies, Cornell University
  • A.B. Behavioral Sciences, University of Chicago

Areas of Interest

  • Racial-ethnic parental socialization
  • Racial-identity development
  • Child racial coping
  • Cultural and global contexts of development
  • Cultural adjustment of immigrant groups


Dr Deborah J. Johnson's research explores racially and culturally related development, parental racial socialization and coping, cultural adjustment from early childhood through emerging adulthood, in both domestic and international children and youth.  Racial-ethnic identity development and the coping skills as a protective mechanisms of African American and other children in diverse settings, has been a central interest. The ongoing cultural adjustment of Sudanese refugees continues to be a focal area in which themes of resilience and identity as resilience, sense of purpose as resilience, have been emphasized. Current work focus on the influence of early bias preparation and coping at the intersection of gender and race among African American and Latina College women, and the impact on their well-being and school performance. We continue our work with South Sudanese refugees focusing on gender as well as tridimensional aspects of identity alignment, resilience and adjustment processes, moving to use of a national assessment of resettled South Sudanese.  Other projects include we explore the relations among identity and racial socialization in varying global contexts where social history and currently public policy impact the experience of oppression, these researches include Indigenous Australians and Roma youth from Bulgaria, where we recently revised and translated our racial-ethnic socialization measure into Bulgarian.  Her most recent book focuses on her international research of cultural adjustment and vulnerable children, Deborah J. Johnson, DeBrenna Agbényiga, & Robert Hitchcock (Eds.). (2013). Vulnerable Children: Global Challenges in Education, Health, Well-Being, and Child Rights. New York, NY: Springer.