Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology

Joseph Durlak

Title:Professor, Clinical Psychology; Ph.D. 

Personal Information

Ph.D., 1972, Vanderbilt University
B.S., 1967, Loyola University Chicago

Research Interests:
My primary research interests are in prevention and promotion programs for children and adolescents.

More specifically, I am interested in how positive youth development (PYD) programs can enhance young people's functioning and prevent later problems. Positive youth development is a general term for interventions that seek to foster different competencies in youth. In schools, these programs are often called social and emotional learning programs. Sometimes, interventions work directly with young people to foster skills; other times, interventions seek to change youths' environmental settings to achieve the same ends, and some programs use both change strategies.

Currently there is tremendous interest in PYD programs and states are beginning to pass legislation that creates standards for what types of personal and social competencies schools should target in their curriculum.

I have collaborated with Roger Weissberg at the University of Illinois at Chicago on a 3 year grant to conduct a large-scale meta-analysis of PYD programs, and since have received some additional money to disseminate our findings. We currently have a data base of approximately 700 interventions targeting children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 18. So far, we have conducted reviews of universal interventions in three areas: school-based programs, programs for families, and after-school programs. Each area has produced positive findings, but there is much more to do. There are many research questions that need answers. For example, how does program impact vary based on the characteristics of the participants, intervention strategies, and outcome measures? Can we explain why some programs are much more effective than others? Most important, what are the major policy implications of current findings? How can we improve current programs and what type of programs should receive greater attention and support?

I would be very interested in working with any student who wants to learn how to use meta-analysis to evaluate a research literature. I encourage students to use my data base to examine their own research questions for their thesis and dissertation work, and to present findings at professional conferences.
I usually take on one new student a year.

Recent Publications:

Durlak, J. A. (in press). How to select, calculate and interpret effect sizes. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.

Beets, M. W., Vuchinish, S., Snyder, F. J., Acock, A., Li, K., Burns, K., Washburn, I. J., & Durlak, J. A. (in press). Preventing substance abuse, violent behaviors, and sexual activity among elementary students: Effects of the Positive Action program Hawai'i. American Journal of Public Health.

Durlak, J. A. (2008). Improving after-school programs: How do we get there from here? Social Policy Report, 22(2), 12-13.

Ewell Foster, C. J., Garber, J., & Durlak, J. A. (2008). Current and past maternal depression, maternal interaction behaviors, and children's externalizing and internalizing symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 527-537.

Durlak, J. A., & Dupre, E. P. (2008). Implementation matters: A review of research on the influence of implementation on progam outcomes and the factors affecting the implementation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 327-350.

Durlak, J. A. (2008). Prevention. In T. Gutkin & C. Reynolds (Eds.), Handbook of school psychology (4th ed.) (pp. 2377- 2418). New York: Wiley.

Durlak, J. A., Taylor, R. D., Kawashima, K., Pachan, M. P., DuPre, E. P., Celio, C. I., Berger, S. R., Dymnicki, A. B., & Weissberg, R. P. (2007). Effects of positive youth development programs on school, family, and community systems. American Journal of Community Psychology, 40, 269-286.


Psychology Department · 1032 W. Sheridan Road · Chicago, IL 60660
Phone: 773.508.3001 · Fax: 773.508.8713

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