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Spencer L. James

Associate Professor of Family Life

Spencer L. James is a Fellow at the Wheatley Institution and an Associate Professor of Family Life and an Africana Studies affiliate at Brigham Young University. Prior to coming to BYU, he earned a dual Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography at Penn State University. His research focuses on global family relationships and how those relationships influence the wellbeing of children, adolescents, and adults.

Within this broader stream of research, he focuses on two lines: the first on the consequences of family relationships for child well-being, and the second addressing how and why people form, maintain, and dissolve romantic relationships. Presently, he is directing the Global Families Research Initiative, which aims to inform the curious public, policymakers, journalists, academics, and other stakeholders of current trends shaping contemporary family life across the globe. His current projects examine how family structure and child wellbeing are linked in sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr. James is an internationally recognized expert on global family trends and has published articles in leading journals in family science, sociology, demography, psychology, and social work. He serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Comparative Family Studies and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Marriage and Family, Family Relations, The International Journal of African Studies, and The International Journal of Public Health and Environmental Research. His research has been widely cited in both traditional and digital media throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Australia.