The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Who We Are

What is Family Research?

The Center for Research (CRF) recognizes that families take many diverse forms. We view research from all disciplines as relevant to our mission. We believe that families are best understood in the context of their social settings and through a lens of intersectionality, considering factors such as class, race, nationality, sexuality, age and gender.

A sample of recent areas of research and outreach:

  • Emerging Covid-19 Issues
  • Inequities based on Race, Gender, Education Age, Ability, and Economic status and the intersection of these identities
  • Influences of Stress on all Aspects of Development
  • Parenting, Parent-Child Relations, and Children's Development
  • Environmental Toxins and Health and Well-being

Our Vision

The vision of the CRF  is to advance research for the health and well-being of all families.

CRF is unique in that it promotes interdisciplinary family research across the social, behavioral, and natural sciences to address pressing social problems and systemic inequalities through family research and community engagement programming. CRF epitomizes the land grant mission of UMass Amherst to provide teaching, research, and public service to benefit the families of the Commonwealth and nation. By supporting interdisciplinary research collaborations, CRF contributes innovative and evidence-based solutions to address the challenges families face while supporting their strengths and resilience.

Our Mission 

  • Promote, conduct, and translate high quality, substantive research on issues affecting families
  • Teach, mentor, and support family researchers throughout their careers
  • Engage with the community to improve family outcomes and inform social policy
  • Advance social justice by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion through our research and programming

Our Story

CRF has a long history and deep roots at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. CRF was founded over forty years ago in the 1970s. A generous endowment given in 1996 by Dorothy Dunklee Gavin ‘43 and Joseph Gavin ensured a strong and sustainable future for the Center. In 2003, the original Center for the Family was transformed into today’s Center for Research on Families. CRF is supported by the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, College of Education, College of Nursing, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, the Edna Skinner and Tay Gavin Erickson endowments, grants, and gifts from alumni and other generous donors.