Skip to Content

College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Psychology

Faculty & Staff Directory

Shauna M. Cooper

Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
University of South Carolina

Office: Barnwell College 554

As of July 1, 2017, Dr. Cooper has joined the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Educational Background:
Dr. Shauna M. Cooper received her Ph.D. (2005) in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she was funded by fellowships from the American Psychological Association and NIH (Individual National Research Service Award). Prior to her arrival at USC, she completed a NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of Psychology (2005-2007).

Research Interests:
Dr. Cooper's research program examines cultural and contextual factors that contribute to positive youth development, with a specific focus on African American adolescents and families. An important guiding principle of Dr. Cooper's research program has been the integration of developmental and community psychological theoretical frameworks to better understand variation in the experiences of African American children and families. Her work spans multiple areas (e.g., parental involvement; father engagement; ethnic-racial socialization; gender-related processes; youth community involvement). Currently, she is the principal investigator of a National Science Foundation (NSF Career Award; 2012-2017) funded longitudinal investigation, which examines change and continuity in African American fathers’ parenting practices and linkages to adolescent adjustment.

Her specific research interests include:
• Parenting and involvement; Family processes
• Fathering processes in African American families
• Positive Youth Development
• Race-related experiences (e.g., racial socialization; racial discrimination) & youth well-being
• African American adolescent females’ developmental and mental health trajectories
• Developmental transitions (e.g., transition to middle school; emerging adulthood)
• Family-, school- and community-level risk and protective factors

In addition, Dr. Cooper is dedicated to translating her research into practice- and programming-oriented solutions. She is particularly interested in the development of culturally-sensitive and developmentally-appropriate programming (e.g., academic enrichment; health promotion) for youth of color.

To learn more about Dr. Cooper's research, visit her lab website at

Representative Publications (see CV for full publication list):
*indicates publications with students

Cooper, S.M., Smalls-Glover, C., Metzger, I., & Brown, C. (2015). African American
fathers' racial socialization patterns: Associations with and racial identity beliefs and discrimination experiences. Family Relations, 64(2), 278-290, doi: 10.1111/fare.12115.

*Cooper, S. M., Smalls-Glover, C., Neblett, E. W., & Banks, K. H. (2015). Racial
socialization practices among African American fathers: A profile-oriented approach. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 16(1), 11.

Cooper, S.M., Smalls, C., Neblett, E.N., & Banks, K. (2014). Racial socialization practices among
African American fathers: A profile approach. Psychology of Men and Masculinity. doi:10.1037/a0035654

*Cooper, S. M., Brown, C., Metzger, I., Clinton, Y., & Guthrie, B. (2013). Racial discrimination and
African American adolescents’ adjustment: Gender variation in family and community social support,
promotive and protective factors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 22(1), 15-29

*Metzger, I., Cooper, S.M., Zarrett, N., & Flory, K. (2013). Culturally Sensitive Risk Prevention
Programs for African American Adolescents: A Systematic Analysis. Clinical Child and Family
Psychology Review, 16(2), 184-212. doi:10.1007/s10567-013-0133-3

Neblett, E. R., Banks, K., Cooper, S. M., & Smalls-Glover, C. (2013). Racial identity mediates the
association between ethnic-racial socialization and depressive symptoms. Cultural Diversity and
Ethnic Minority Psychology, 19(2), 200-207. doi:10.1037/a0032205

Smalls, C.P. & Cooper, S.M. (2012). Racial Group Regard, Barrier Socialization and African American
Adolescents' Engagement: Patterns and Processes by Gender. Journal of Adolescence,35(4), 887-897.

*Cooper, S.M., Guthrie, B.J, Metzger, I., & Brown, C. (2011). Adolescent daily stressors and the
psychological well-being of African American girls: Gender role orientation as a stress buffer?
Sex Roles, 65(5-6), 397-409. doi:10.1007/s11199-011-0019-0

Cooper, S. M. & McLoyd, V.C. (2011). Race-related socialization and the well-being of African American
adolescents: The moderating role of mother-adolescent relationship. Journal of Research on
Adolescence, 21(4), 895-903.

Rowley, S. J., Kurtz-Costes, B., & Cooper, S.M. (2010). Schooling and the development of African
American children. In J. Meece & J. Eccles (Eds.), Handbook of research on schools, schooling,
and human development. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Cooper, S.M., & Smalls, C. (2010). Culturally distinctive and academic socialization: Direct and
interactive relationships with African American adolescents’ academic adjustment. Journal of Youth and
Adolescence, 39(2), 199-212.

Cooper, S. M.(2009). Associations between father-daughter relationship quality and the academic
engagement of African American adolescent girls: Self-esteem as a mediator? Journal of Black
Psychology, 35(4), 495-516.

Cooper, S.M., McLoyd, V., Wood, D., & Hardaway, C. (2008). The mental health consequences of racial
discrimination for African American adolescents (pp. 278-312). In S. Quintana and C. McKown (Eds),
Handbook of race, racism and the developing child. Wiley.

Cooper, S. M. & Guthrie, B. G. (2007). Ecological influences on health-promoting and health-
compromising behaviors: A socially-embedded approach to urban African American adolescent girls’
health. Family and Community Health, 30(1).