Welcome to the USC Family Studies Project!

Front Row: Michelle Ramos, Ilana Kellerman, Larissa Del Piero, Mary Hakimeh
Back Row: Sohyun Han, Kelly Miller, Reout Arbel, Gayla Margolin, Hannah Rasmussen, Laura Perrone, Adela Timmons, Corey Petit, Theodora Chaspari 


The USC Family Studies Project

The USC Family Studies Project conducts research on risk and resilience in adolescents and young adults.  We investigate the role of close relationships—within the family, with friends, and with dating partners—as sources of stress as well as protection.  Studies in our lab investigate the impact of risky family environments—particularly those associated with family aggression.  With longitudinal data from early adolescence through young adulthood, we investigate how interaction patterns are transmitted from one generation to the next.  Our ultimate goal is to pinpoint dimensions that protect against romantic partner aggression and family violence.

Our work addresses connections between interpersonal relationships and the mental and physical health of adults and adolescents.  Factors of particular interest to us include how family members communicate with each other in everyday interactions, how they think about and handle conflict, and what happens physiologically when they disagree with each other or when they share emotional experiences.  Current data collection emphasizes the role of compassion and ‘under the skin’ phenomena associated with the body’s stress response systems.

Our work has been funded by the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the NIH National Institute of Mental Health, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.

Read about our Home Data and Mobile Sensing Project here.

Read about our results here.


Teens' Attitudes about Justice

The USC Family Studies Project also is investigating teens' attitudes about justice.  In collaboration with the Los Angeles Superior Court, we are investigating the impact of serving as a juror in Los Angeles Teen Court.  High school and college students’ attitudes about restorative and punitive justice are explored in relation to prior experiences of discrimination, childhood adversity, and compassion.  This research is funded by The John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation.

Read about Teen Court here.

Read summaries of our results on justice and discrimination here.


The FAMILY STUDIES LAB is located in the Psychology Department of the USC University Park Campus, 3620 S. McClintock, Seeley G. Mudd Building, Room 923. Click here for a map to our offices.

Contact us at Family Study familystudiesproject@usc.edu or 213-740-2308.


Please contact us if you are interested in joining our research team. Read here for more information.

  • USC Family Studies Project
  • Seeley G. Mudd 926
  • University Park MC 1061
  • 3620 McClintock Ave
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061