Research News

Child development award goes to Peabody researcher

Velma McBride Murry (Vanderbilt)

Velma McBride Murry is the recipient of the Society for Research in Child Development’s 2013 Distinguished Contributions to Cultural and Contextual Factors in Child Development Award presented April 18 at SRCD’s biennial meeting in Seattle.

Murry, a native of Jackson, Tenn., is Betts Chair of the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College for education and human development. Her research-based intervention program, Strong African American Families (SAAF), targeted to the prevention of early onset sexual behavior and substance abuse, was inspired by the actions of the supportive community where she grew up in rural West Tennessee.

The award recognizes an SRCD member’s continuous lifetime contributions to the role of culture and context in the understanding of child development. Murry was honored for her innovative research exploring the interplay of culture, family processes, psycho-sexual development and HIV/AIDS among African America youth in rural settings. Her intellectual leadership in translating research into effective, culturally sensitive approaches for serving families was cited by the awards committee.

Among her research interests are the ways in which African American family members buffer each other from the impact of external stressors, leading to positive family intervention as a potential protection against the development of risky adolescent behavior.

SRCD is a not-for-profit professional association promoting multidisciplinary research in the field of human development, fostering the exchange of information among scientists and encouraging applications of research findings.