Alvin ThomasAssociate Professor of Human Development & Family Studies | Phyllis Northway Faculty Fellowhe/him/his

I am a clinical psychologist focused on the risk and protective factors for boys situated in conditions that imperil them toward negative outcomes. My work exists at the intersection of positive child and youth development and father involvement. More broadly, I also research ethnic identity, father-son engagement and relationships, and mental health in men and boys. I focus on risks and protections for Black children and youth, especially boys, and explore outcomes including violence, grades, and well-being. I am interested in influencing fatherhood policy to highlight the efficacy of father involvement for Black and underrepresented families and for fathers across other contexts. Currently, I am exploring gaps in diversity training specifically related to father (non-resident) involvement in service provision to their children, as well as aggressive behavior, social media use, and police interactions for Black youth.

I am an alumni fellow of the International Max Planck Research School on the Life Course and the Health Equity Leadership Institute, and my work has earned numerous awards, including the Rackham International Student Fellowship, Patricia Gurin Research Award, Center for the Education of Women Graduate Scholarship (first man to receive an award from the center in its 40-year history), and the Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant, the last of which I used to pilot an intervention aimed at addressing the mental health needs of juveniles in state custody on a Caribbean island.

Selected Publications

Thomas, A., Gale, A., & Golden, A.R. (2023). Online Racial Discrimination, Critical Consciousness, and Psychosocial Distress Among Black and Latino Adolescents: A Moderated Mediation Model. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 52, 967-979.

Thomas, A., Jing, M., Chen, H. Y., & Crawford, E. L. (2023). Taking the good with the bad?: Social Media and Online Racial Discrimination Influences on Psychological and Academic Functioning in Black and Hispanic Youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 52, 245-257.

Walsh, T. B., Thomas, A., Quince, H., Buck, J., Tamkin, V., & Blackwell, D. (2023). Black fathers’ contributions to maternal mental health. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 26, 117-126.

Cooper, S. M., Thomas, A., & Bamishigbin, O. (2021). Black American Fathers Employed in Higher-Risk Contexts for Contracting COVID-19: Implications for Individual Wellbeing and Work-Family Spillover. American Journal of Men’s Health, 15(2), 1-11.

Thomas, A., Lee, J. R. S., Muhammed, M., & Caldwell, C. H. (2021). “Why Don’t You Reach Out to Dad?”: Involving Fathers in Therapy. Research on Social Work Practice, 31(8), 868-879.

 For a full list of publications, see Thomas’ CV.

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Professional headshot of Alvin Thomas at Nancy Nicholas Hall


  • Human Development & Family Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Human Development & Family Studies


  • PhD and MS, Clinical Psychology, University of Michigan
  • BA, Psychology, Morehouse College


Office: 4103 Nancy Nicholas Hall

Phone: 608-263-2742



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