Susan M. McHale, PhD
Professor of Demography
Director, Social Science Research Institute; Assoc. Director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Research in Dr. McHale's lab focuses on family systems dynamics including youth’s and parents’ family roles, relationships, and daily activities and how these are linked to family members’ psychological and physical health and development. One line of research targets sibling relationships and their role in the larger family system: siblings influence one another directly, by virtue of their relationship experiences, but also indirectly through their influence on processes including social comparisons among family members, parents’ differential treatment, resource dilution, formation of family coalitions, and the like. A second focus is on family gender dynamics and the ways in which family roles and experiences are linked to differences in girls’ and boys’ psychological and physical health as well as choices in young adulthood in the areas of education, work, and family formation. A third area of emphasis is the socio-cultural contexts of family dynamics, including how cultural values and practices have implications for family life and youth well-being.