Dawn Witherspoon is interested in how context shapes adolescent development. Her work focuses on neighborhood, school, and family factors that affect adolescents’ socioemotional and academic adjustment. In addition, she examines how race, ethnicity, and other cultural attributes interact with contextual characteristics to influence adolescent outcomes. Her current work examines adolescent development from middle to high school to understand how aspects of the residential neighborhood, school, and family contexts are related to adolescents’ academic adjustment and beliefs as well as their deviant behaviors. A goal of her research is to elucidate the development of urban and rural adolescents, with particular attention to contextual supports.
May, E. M. & Witherspoon, D. P. (in press). Maintaining and attaining educational expectations: A two-cohort longitudinal study of Hispanic youth. Developmental Psychology. doi:10.1037/dev0000820
Witherspoon, D. P., May, E. M., McDonald, A., Boggs, S., & Bámaca-Colbert, M. Y. (2019). Parenting within residential neighborhoods: A pluralistic approach with African American and Latino families at the center. In E. Votruba-Drzal, D. Henry, & P. Miller (Eds). Advances in Child Development and Behavior volume 57 - Child Development at the Intersection of Race and SES. Elseiver: Cambridge, UK.
Smith, E. P., Witherspoon, D. P., Bhargava, S., & Bermundez, M. (2019). Cultural values and problem behavior among African-American and European-American children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28 (5), 1236-1249. doi:10.1007/s10826-019-01367-y
Witherspoon, D. P., Rivas-Drake, D., & Banerjee, M. (2018). It’s more the exception rather than the rule: African American families’ neighborhoods and youth’s academic performance during middle school. Journal of Black Psychology, 44, (6), 562-588. doi:10.1177/0095798418806130
Hill, N. E., Witherspoon, D. P., & Bartz, D. (2018). Parental involvement in education during middle school: Perspectives of ethnically diverse parents, teachers and students. Journal of Educational Research 111, (1), 12 - 27. doi: 10.1080/00220671.2016.1190910
Smith, E. P., Witherspoon, D. P., & Osgood, D. W. Positive youth development among diverse children: Quality afterschool contexts as developmental assets. (2017). Special Section on Positive Youth Development in Diverse and Global Contexts. Child Development 88, (4), 1063-1078. doi.10.111/cdev.12870
Smith, E. P., Witherspoon, D. P., Hart, M. &, Davidson, W. S. (2017). The dynamic and interactive role of theory in community research, practice, and policy. In M.A. Bond, I. Serrano-Garcia, C.B. Keys, & M. Shinn (Eds.), APA Handbook of Community Psychology. Volume 2. Methods for Community Research and Action for Diverse Groups and Issues (pp. 3 – 20). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Bhargava, S., Bámaca-Colbert, M. Y., Witherspoon, D. P., Pomerantz, E. M., & Robins, R. W. (2017). Examining socio-cultural and neighborhood factors associated with trajectories of Mexican-origin mothers’ education-related involvement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. doi: 10.1007/s10964-016-0628-6
Hill, N. E., Witherspoon, D. P., & Bartz, D. (2016). Parental involvement in education during middle school: Perspectives of ethnically diverse parents, teachers, and students. The Journal of Educational Research, 1-16. doi:10.1080/00220671.2016.1190910
Witherspoon, D. P., Seaton, E. K., & Rivas‐Drake, D. (2016). Neighborhood characteristics and expectations of racially discriminatory experiences among African American adolescents. Child Development, 87(5), 1367-1378. doi:10.1111/cdev.12595
Soto, J. A., Dawson-Andoh, N. A., & Witherspoon, D. P. (2016). An ecological approach to racial environments and their relationship to mental health. Race and Social Problems, 8(3), 209-221. doi:10.1007/s12552-016-9175-8
Smith, E. P., Witherspoon, D. P., Hart, M. &, Davidson, W. S. (2016). The dynamic and interactive role of theory in community research, practice, and policy. In M.A. Bond, I. Serrano-Garcia, C.B. Keys, & M. Shinn (Eds.), APA Handbook of Community Psychology. Volume 2. Methods for Community Research and Action for Diverse Groups and Issues. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Tilghman-Osborne, E., Bámaca-Colbert, M. Y., Witherspoon, D. P., Wadsworth, M., & Hecht, M. L. (2016). Longitudinal associations of language brokering and parent-adolescent closeness in immigrant Latino families. Journal of Early Adolescence, 36 (3), 319-347. doi: 10.1177/0272431614566944
Witherspoon, D. P., Daniels, L., Smith, E. P., & Mason, A. (2016). Racial attitudes in context: Examining mediation of neighborhood factors on children’s adjustment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 57 (1-2), 87-101. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12019
Bhargava, S., & Witherspoon, D. P. (2015). Parental involvement across middle and high school: Exploring contributions of individual and neighborhood characteristics. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 44(9), 1702-1719. doi:10.1007/s10964-015-0334-9
Murry, V. M., Hill, N. E., Witherspoon, D. P., Berkel, C., & Bartz, D. (2015). Children in diverse ethnic communities. Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, Ecological Settings and Processes in Developmental Systems, 4, 416.
Witherspoon, D. P., & Hughes, D. L. (2014). Early adolescent perceptions of neighborhood: Strengths, structural disadvantage, and relations to outcomes. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 34(7), 866-895..
Rivas-Drake, D., & Witherspoon, D. P. (2013). Racial identity from adolescence to young adulthood: Does prior neighborhood experience matter? Child Development, 84(6), 1918-1932. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12095
Witherspoon, D. P., & Ennett, S. (2011). Stability and change in rural youth's educational outcomes through the middle and high school years. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40 (9), 1077-1090. doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9614-6
Hill, N. E., & Witherspoon, D. P. (2011). Race, ethnicity, and social class. In M.K. Underwood & L.H. Rosen (Eds.), Social Development: Relationships in Infancy, Childhood, and Adolescence (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford.
Witherspoon, D. P., Schotland, M., Way, N., & Hughes, D. (2009). Connecting the dots: How connectedness to multiple contexts influences the psychological and academic adjustment of urban youth. Applied Developmental Science, 13(4), 199-216. doi:10.1080/10888690903288755
Hughes, D., Witherspoon, D. P., Rivas, D., & West-Bey, N. (2009). Received ethnic/racial socialization messages and youth’s academic and behavioral outcomes: Examining the mediating role of ethnic identity and self-esteem. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 15(2), 112-124. doi:10.1037/a0015509
Schotland, M., & Witherspoon, D. P. (2005). Social support systems of urban adolescents. In C. Fisher & R. Lerner (Eds). Encyclopedia of Applied Developmental Science Vol. 2 (pp. 1027-1029). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.