Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Faculty-Alum Book Examines Caregiving Across Cultures
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Faculty-Alum Book Examines Caregiving Across Cultures

A new book edited by Associate Professor of Psychological Science Brien Ashdown and Amanda N. Faherty ’15 offers important research and analysis of parenting behaviors and how they are influenced by culture.

A leader in the field of cultural and adolescent developmental psychology, with a focus on Latin America, Ashdown says the book, Parents and Caregivers Across Cultures: Positive Development from Infancy Through Adulthood, fills a need in the contemporary psychological literature, which has lacked diversity in addressing parenting roles.

“The thing that makes this book interesting is that we didn’t focus on specific parenting practices,” says Ashdown. “Rather, we asked chapter contributors to talk about how specific parenting behaviors in a particular culture are designed to elicit specific child outcomes that will be valued in that particular culture.”

He says that the book, published in January by Springer Nature, makes the point that good parenting practices vary from culture to culture, highlighting parenting differences among Rwandan, Navajo, Bolivian Amazonia and Chinese cultures. There are also chapters that look at caregiving for gender nonconforming children and those brought up in polygamous households.

Faherty, a developmental psychology Ph.D. candidate at Clark University, has been working with Ashdown since her sophomore year at HWS, when she took his “Statistics and Design” course. He mentored her Honors project, “The Reality of the American Dream: Class, Race, and Gender Biases in the College Admission Process,” and they have co-authored several articles and presentations.

In addition to her role editing the new book, Faherty contributed a chapter titled “Emerging Adulthoods: A Microcultural Approach to Viewing the Parent-Child Relationship.”

After graduating magna cum laude in psychology, Faherty earned an M.A. in psychology from Clark in 2018. Her current program of research examines broad and microlevel sociocontextual influences on the parent-emerging adult child relationship and development during emerging adulthood with particular emphasis on culture.

When she completes her Ph.D. at Clark this summer, Faherty will begin an assistant professorship at Ithaca College.

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