Dr. Johnson


Deborah J. Johnson, Ph.D.

Position Display

MSU Foundation Professor Director of the Diversity Research Network

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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.  Recent global explorations emphasize positive youth development, public policy impact on the experience of oppression and identity reformation of immigrant and refugee groups, specifically, Indigenous Australians and Roma youth in Bulgaria. Recent books include, Identity Re/Formation among Immigrant Youth and Families (upcoming); Children and Prejudice (in press, 2018); Vulnerable Children: Global Challenges in Education, Health, Well-Being, and Child Rights (2013); Black Educational Choice in a Climate of School Reform: Consequences for K-12 Student Learning and Development (2011).