Thomas Weisner


Thomas Weisner

Department of Psychiatry & Anthropology

Research Interest

Thomas S. Weisner, PhD is Prof. of Anthropology, Departments of Psychiatry (NPI Semel Institute, Center for Culture and Health) and Anthropology at UCLA. His research and teaching interests are in culture and human development; medical, psychological and cultural studies of families and children at risk; mixed methods; and evidence-informed policy. He is Director of the Center for Culture & Health and UCLA, and the Fieldwork and Qualitative Data Laboratory in the Mental Retardation Research Center.

He is currently studying impacts on children and families of changes in welfare and family supports, based on a longitudinal study over 8 years of a successful random-assignment experimental support program for working-poor parents (with Greg Duncan, Aletha Huston, Hiro Yoshikawa, Bob Granger and others). He also directs a longitudinal study of families with children with development al disabilities (with Barbara Keogh and Ronald Gallimore), and is collaborating in a random-assignment, experimental mixed-method study of the impacts on families and children of early literacy interventions for Head Start programs (with Chris Lonigan and JoAnn Farver). He is also collaborating on a qualitative study of physician use of local clinical knowledge (with Richard Kravitz and Naihua Duan). He has done longitudinal field research (through 1992) in Western Kenya and Nairobi, on sibling caretaking of children, and on the long-term consequences of urban migration for children and families, as well as studies of sibling caretaking and school competence among Native Hawaiians (with Ronald Gallimore).

Weisner has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a member of the MacArthur Foundation research network on successful pathways in middle childhood, is past President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, on the Board of ChildFund International, and is a Senior Program Advisor to the William T Grant Foundation. He is the co-author of Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children (2007) (with Greg Duncan and Aletha Huston); co-editor of Making it work: Low-wage employment, family life and child development (with Hiro Yoshikawa & Edward Lowe) (2006); editor of Discovering successful pathways in children’s development: New methods in the study of childhood and family life (2005); and co-editor of African families and the crisis of social change (with Candice Bradley and Phil Kilbride) (1997). His B.A. in Anthropology is from Reed College (1965) and Ph.D. from Harvard University (1973) in Anthropology and Social Relations.