Society for the Study of Human Development

Society Awards

The Society for the Study of Human Development has established a number of awards to highlight the scientific and pedagogical contributions of researchers in the field of human development.

EARLY CAREER AWARD ($2,000.00). This award is designed to honor an early career scholar whose work has made a significant contribution to the understanding of significant and critical aspects of human development

We have two recipients of the award for 2016: Dr. Joan Monin and Dr. Noah Webster.  They each have been very productive scholars and are already making important contributions to the field.

Dr. Monin is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health (Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology).  She received her degree from Carnegie Mellon and did a post-doctoral fellowship with Richard Schulz at the University of Pittsburg.  Dr. Monin is a highly productive and talented social gerontologist whose research examines the emotional and behavioral mechanisms through which caregiving affects health.  Her innovative interdisciplinary research uses team science and fuses gerontology, social psychology and epidemiology. Her research includes a vast array of methodologies such as survey research, observational studies, and laboratory experiments. The overarching goal of her work is to understand how providing support to family members influences the health of both the caregiver and the care recipient.  Specifically, the main focus of her work is on how exposure to partner suffering influences psychological and physical health of family members.  This work is critically important given the aging of the population and the increased reliance on family members to provide support to older adults.

Dr. Noah Webster is an Assistant Research Scientist in the Institute for Social Research (in the Life Course Development Program) at the University of Michigan.  He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Case Western Reserve and did a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan.   Dr. Webster research interests involve the study of human development and medical sociology through his focus on aging, social relations and health over the life course, especially in diverse contexts. Examples of his research include studies of aging and the family in Lebanon, Mexico, Japan and Germany, volunteerism and networks in late life, a field intervention study designed to improve the health and well-being of seniors in affordable housing.  His work is focused on how best to understand and improve the lives and health of individuals in vulnerable circumstances. Also of note, Noah is the epitome of team science. Everything he does reflects his commitment to advancing the scholarship of the collaborative groups of which he is part, and to playing key roles, often behind the scenes, in order to ensure the team and research’s success.


ERIN PHELPS AWARD. SSHD has established the Erin Phelps to honor both her and the best article published that year.  Erin was a seminal editor for Research in Human Development, and ably guided the publication to prominence.

Two articles have been chosen to receive this award – each very different and yet both very representative of our society.

#1: David Witherington’s 2014 paper, Self-organization and explanatory pluralism:  Avoiding the snares of reductionism in developmental science.

ABSTRACT: Over the last 20 years, the concept of self-organization has played a central role in efforts to establish a relational metatheoretical approach to the study of development. Yet the notion of self-organization that predominates in scientific discussions today has undergone a conceptual narrowing relative to the broader use and interpretation of self-organization that characterized the biologically-oriented systems thinking of Weiss and von Bertalanffy and was grounded in Kant’s teleological account of organisms as natural ends or purposes. In this article, the author discusses how our conceptual use of self-organization in developmental science has changed under the influence of nonlinear dynamical systems theory and how these changes could actually foster rather than discourage new forms of reductionism in our thinking about development.

Heather Fuller-Iglesias, Noah Webster & Toni Antonucci’s 2013 article:  Adult family relationships in the context of friendship.

ABSTRACT:  Relationships with family and friends have been found to consistently influence adult well-being. This study explored the complex and interactive nature of family and friend relationships by examining whether the longitudinal effects of positive and negative family relationship quality on well-being differ in the context of positive friendships. Adults with a best friend were sampled from the longitudinal Social Relations, Aging, and Health Study (N = 455). Among respondents with a highly positive friend relationship, less negative family relationships were linked to better health and self-esteem. Findings provide insight into the complex ways social relations impact positive outcomes in adulthood.

DISTINGUISHED LIFETIME CAREER AWARD. This award is designed to honor a scholar in the physical or social sciences whose work has made substantial, lifetime and sustained contribution to the understanding of significant and critical aspects of human development.

Prof. Anik de Ribaupierre has had, and continues to have, a distinguished academic and research career at the University of Geneva. She is currently Professor Emerita, a member of the Executive Committee of the Interfaculty Center of Gerontology (Geneva), a member of the Pavia – Lake Geneva Center for the Study of the Life Course, and a member of the NCCR LIVES Advisory Board. Prior to this she was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Geneva (2006-2011) and Dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences (1999-2006). She established and directed a cumulative and innovative research program on lifespan cognitive development that has contributed substantially to advancing the field. Her impressive portfolio of 5 books, 50 book chapters, and 63 peer-reviewed journal articles in English and French in addition to numerous invited lectures, conference presentations, and reports attest to the depth, breadth, and recognition of her intellectual scholarship.

As one of her recommenders stated: Anik de Ribaupierre is among the most eminent developmental psychologists of her generation in Europe….Furthermore, she is one of the very few scholars world-wide who feel equally at home in research on cognitive development during childhood and in research on cognitive development in adulthood and old age.

A very appropriate recipient of SSHD’s Distinguished Lifetime Career Award!