Oscar A. Barbarin, Ph.D.  is Professor of African American Studies and Professor of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He has been a principal investigator on several national studies of young children at risk of behavioral, emotional, and academic difficulties.  His current work aims to illuminate biopsychosocial influences on children’s development especially externalizing problems in boys of color. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Contributions to Understanding International, Cultural and Contextual Diversity in Child Development from SRCD. 

He was the 2020 recipient of the Award for Advances in Culture and Diversity in Prevention Sciences from the Society for Prevention Research for his scholarly work on the psychosocial development of African American boys and young men. He was appointed chair of the US National Committee for Psychology by the National Academies of Science and elected to the executive board of the International Union of Psychological Sciences and the SRCD Governing Board.  His current research activities center around the development of boys of color;  evaluation of universal mental health screening in school settings; and early childhood interventions.   

His past work focuses on children’s mental health particularly the effects of trauma on the emergence of behavior problems;  black-white achievement gaps and effectiveness of early childhood (pre-k- 3rd grade) programs.  His most recent scholarship is centered around integrating research on the psychosocial development of African American boys and young men with a special emphasis on illuminating how strengths emerge under conditions of adversity.

Broader Impact

As a scholar, Dr. Barbarin has organized a group of nationally prominent researchers to complete longitudinal analyses of data on the social, academic and emotional development of boys of color.  As a Journal editor and creator of special issues, he has helped to shape the national discourse on mental health and social justice.  At the international level, he chaired the US National Committee for Psychology under the auspices of the National Academy of Science. In that role he represented the US in the International Union of psychological sciences working on ways to promote engagement of American scientists in cross-national research.  Within the International Union of Psychological Sciences he organized a  working group of psychologists to propose strategies that psychological organization might use to anticípate and mitigate the long-term psychological consequences of the  Covid-19 pandemic.


Current Research Projects include:


Recent Professional Publications &/or Presentations include:

Barbarin, O.A., Copeland-Linder, N. & Wagner, M. Can you See What We See? African American Parents’ Views of the Strengths and Challenges of Children and Youth Living with AdversityPrev Sci (2022). 

Barbarin, O. (2021). The Sexual Abuse in the Roman Catholic Church: What Psychologists and Counselors Should Know: An expert Panel.   International Congress of Psychology. Prague, CZ July 20, 2021.

Barbarin, O. (2021). Psychosocial Development of Boys of Color: The Impact of Adversity. Keynote Address: International Congress of Psychology. Prague, CZ July 20, 2021.

Barbarin (2021). Restorative Justice Practices.  Paper presented as part of a symposium entitled Studies of Youth of Color in Brazil and US: Examination of Development in Diverse Context. International Congress of Psychology. Prague, CZ July 20, 2021.

Barbarin (2021). Restorative Justice Practices (Video Presentation).

Barbarin, O. (2021). Developing Strengths in Adversity: Social Competence of African-American Boys and Young Men.  Paper presented in the Invited Symposium Adversity and Psychological Development: Is it time to focus on positive outcomes?.  International Congress of Psychology July, 22, 2020

Barbarin, O.A. (2020). Racial Disparities in the U.S. Child Protection System Etiology and Solutions. International. Journal on Child Maltreatment, 3(4), 449-466. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42448-020-00063-5

Barbarin,O., Hitti, A. & Brown, J. (2020)  Assessing the Severity of Concerns about Pre-School Children’s Self-regulation of Attention, Behavior, and Emotions Using the ABLE Universal Screener: A Rasch Analysis. Journal of Behavioral and Emotional Disorders, 28, 167-179.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1063426619864932

Barbarin, O. Hitti, A. & Copeland-Linder, N. (2019)  Behavioral and Emotional Development of African American Boys Growing Up in Risky Environments.  Child Development Perspectives,  13, 215-220.  DOI: 10.1111/cdep.12341

Barbarin O, Khoury B, Klicperová-Baker M, Gutiérrez G, Thompson A, Padakannaya P, Crowe S. (2021). Psychological science and COVID-19: An agenda for social action. Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2021;91(3):412-422. DOI: 10.1037/ort0000549.

Barbarin, O., Tolan, P., Murry, V.M. (2020). Promoting Social Justice for African American Boys and Young Men Through Research and Intervention: A Challenge for Developmental Science. Applied Developmental Science, 24, 196-207.   DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2019.1702880

Stern, J. A., Barbarin, O. A., & Cassidy, J. (2022, In Press). Working Toward Anti-Racist Perspectives In Attachment Theory, Research, And Practice. Attachment & Human Development. Advance Online Publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2021.1976933


Areas of Interest

  • Universal Mental Health Screening and Services for Preschool Children
  • Emotional and Academic Development of Boys of Color
  • Early Childhood Mathematics
O Barbarin
1119A Taliaferro Hall
African American Studies Department
barbarin [at] umd.edu