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Aryn Dotterer, PhD

Research Interests

Academic achievement, school engagement, school readiness, child and adolescent development, parent-child relationships, low income and/or ethnic minority families


I joined the Purdue faculty in the Fall of 2008, after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I received my Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State in 2006.

My research is grounded in developmental and ecological approaches to the study of children's and adolescents' school experiences and academic achievement. I am particularly interested in gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic variations in school engagement and academic achievement, with attention to the role that families play in parenting and socialization. For example, I am currently comparing two models of family influence to examine racial disparities in children's pre-academic knowledge. A related area of interest is in development and growth of children's academic achievement over time and the use of the best methods to examine longitudinal models of process and change. I am currently using a multilevel modeling strategy to examine the extent to which early academic skills in pre-kindergarten are related to later academic achievement in early adolescence.

Selected Publications

  • Dotterer, A. M., Lowe, K.*, & McHale, S.M. (in press). Academic growth trajectories and family relationships among African American youth. Journal of Research on Adolescence.
  • Iruka, I., Dotterer, A. M., & Pungello, E. (2014). Ethnic variations of pathways linking socioeconomic status, parenting, and pre-academic skills in a national representative sample. Early Education and Development, 25, 973-994.
  • Dotterer, A. M., Burchinal, M., Bryant, D., Early, D., & Pianta, R. C. (2013). Universal and targeted pre-kindergarten programmes: A comparison of classroom characteristics and child outcomes. Early Child Development and Care,183, 931-950.
  • Lowe, K.*, & Dotterer, A. M. (2013). Parental monitoring, parental warmth, and minority youths' academic outcomes: Exploring the integrative model of parenting. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 42, 1413-1425.
  • Dotterer, A. M., Iruka, I. U., & Pungello, E. (2012). Parenting, race, and socioeconomic status: Links to school readiness. Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 61(4), 657-670.
  • Robinson, A.*, Esters, L. T., Dotterer, A. M., McKee, R., & Tucker, M. A. (2012). An exploratory study of the Five Cs model of positive youth development among Indiana 4-H youth. Journal of Youth Development, 7, 82-91. 
  • Dotterer, A. M., & Lowe, K.* (2011). Classroom context, engagement, and academic achievement in early adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 1649-1660.
  • Fingerman, K. L., Vanderdrift, L. E.*, Dotterer, A., Birditt, K. S., & Zarit, S. (2011). Support to aging parents and grown children in Black and White families. The Gerontologist, 51, 441-452.
  • Dotterer, A. M., Burchinal, M., Bryant, D., Early, D., & Pianta, R. (2009). Comparing universal and targeted pre-K programs. In R. Pianta & C. Howes (Eds.), The promise of pre-kindergarten. Brookes Publishing Co., Inc.
  • Dotterer, A. M., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A .C. (2009). The development and correlates of academic interests from childhood through adolescence. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 509-519. 
  • Dotterer, A. M., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2009). Sociocultural factors and school engagement among African American youth: The roles of racial discrimination, racial socialization and ethnic identity. Applied Developmental Science, 13, 61-73.
  • Fingerman, K. L., Whiteman, S. D., & Dotterer, A. M. (2009). Mother-child relationships in adolescence and old age. In H. T. Reis & S. K. Sprecher (Eds.), Encyclopedia of human relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • McHale, S. M., Dotterer, A. M., & Kim, J. Y. (2009). An ecological perspective on the media and youth development. American Behavioral Scientist, 52, 1186-1203.
  • McHale, S. M., Kim, J. Y., Dotterer, A. M., Crouter, A. C., & Booth, A. (2009). The development of gendered interests and personality qualities from middle childhood through adolescence: A bio-social analysis. Child Development, 80, 482-495.
  • Pungello, L., Iruka, I., Dotterer, A. M., Mills-Koonce, R., & Reznick, S. (2009). The effects of income, race, and sensitive and harsh parenting on receptive and expressive language development in early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 45, 544-557.
  • Dotterer, A. M., Hoffman, L., Crouter, A. C., & McHale, S. M. (2008). Bi-directional links between parent-adolescent relationships and adolescents' academic achievement. Journal of Family Issues, 29, 762-779.
  • Dotterer, A. M., McHale, S. M., & Crouter, A. C. (2007). Implications of out-of-school activities and school engagement in African American adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 4, 391-401.
  • McHale, S. M., Crouter, A. C., Kim, J., Burton, L., Davis, K., Dotterer, A. M., & Swanson, D. P. (2006). Mothers' and fathers' racial socialization in African American families: Inter-parental linkages and implications for offspring. Child Development, 77, 1387-1402.


  • PhD, 2006, Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • MA, 2002, Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • BA, 2000, Psychology, Wayne State University

Courses Recently Taught

  • HDFS 301: Families in a Multicultural Society
  • HDFS 432: Stress Points in Contemporary Families
  • HDFS 590: Adolescent Development


  • 2009: Teaching for Tomorrow Award presented by the Office of the Provost at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
  • 2009: AERA-FCD Summer Institute Connecting Education Research to Policy, July 28-31, 2009, Washington, DC
  • 2007: NICHD Summer Training Institute in Applied Child and Adolescent Development, June 24-29, 2007, Potomac, Maryland
  • 2006–2008: Post-Doctoral Research Training Fellowship in Education Sciences at FPG, funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education
  • 2005–2006: Fisher Fellowship, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2004–2005: Fellow in the Center for Work and Family Research, Pennsylvania State University
  • 1998–2000: National Institute of Mental Health, Career Opportunities in Research Fellowship, Wayne State University

Professional Service

Faculty Advisor

  • College Mentors for Kids

Editorial Board

  • 2007-present: Journal of Youth and Adolescence

Ad Hoc Reviewer

Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, Journal of Educational Psychology, Journal of Research on Adolescence, and Journal of Youth and Adolescence