Aprile Benner, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences in the College of Natural Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Her substantive research interests center on the development of low-income and race/ethnic minority youth, investigating how social contexts influence experiences of marginalization and discrimination, school transitions, and developmental outcomes during adolescence.
As a developmental psychologist, the core of her research program is a fundamental developmental question—what are the continuities and changes in the social, emotional, and cognitive growth and maturation of young people? Reflecting her training in educational demography, she works to answer this question with an awareness of how such developmental patterns are embedded in the groups, contexts, and social structures of society.
Specifically, her research falls into two primary streams: race/ethnicity and social class as developmental contexts and the influence of multiple and shifting ecological contexts in young people’s lives. Her studies have examined adolescents’ perceptions of discrimination, their experiences of numeric marginalization tied to both race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status, experiences of school transitions across the early life course, and how schools, families, and peers independently and conjointly influence young people’s well-being. Her current research focuses on discrimination tied to race/ethnicity, social class, sexual minority status, and weight and linkages to disparities in mental and physical health and academic achievement.
Benner received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, M.S. from Purdue University, and B.S. from Vanderbilt University.
- Principal Investigator, Biopsychosocial Pathways Linking Discrimination and Adolescent Health. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2017-2022).
- Principal Investigator, Discrimination and Achievement Disparities in Adolescence. National Science Foundation (2016 - 2019).
- Principal Investigator, Adolescents and the Social Contexts of American Schools. William T. Grant Scholars Program (2013 - 2018).
- Co-Investigator, IBSS: Identifying the Optimal Levels and Timing of Family and School Influences. National Science Foundation (2015 - 2020, PI: Elizabeth Gershoff).
- Benner, A. D., Wang, Y., Shen, Y., Boyle, A. E., Polk, R., & Cheng, Y.-P. (2018). Racial/ethnic discrimination and well-being during adolescence: A meta-analytic review. American Psychologist, 73(7), 855-883. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000204
- What is the Impact of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination on Adolescents’ Well-Being? (PRC Research Brief, September 2018)
- The consequences of racial/ethnic discrimination for adolescent adjustment (Child Development Perspectives, 11, 251-256)
- Demographic variation and the role of supportive relationships (Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46, 2129-2142)
- Racial/ethnic discrimination and adolescents’ well-being: The role of cross-ethnic friendships and friends’ experiences of discrimination (Child Development, 88, 493-504)
- Parental involvement and adolescents’ educational success: The roles of prior achievement and socioeconomic status (Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 45, 1053-1064)
- Adolescent substance use: The role of demographic marginalization and socioemotional distress (Developmental Psychology, 51, 1086-1097)
- Schools, peers, and prejudice in adolescence (Journal of Research on Adolescence, 25, 173-188)
- School attendance trajectories from middle to high school: Influences of school transitions and changing school contexts (Developmental Psychology, 50, 1288-1301)
- The antecedents and consequences of discrimination during adolescence: Does the source of discrimination matter? (Developmental Psychology, 49, 1602-1613)
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