Alexander T. Vazsonyi
Professor of Family Sciences
Professor of Psychology
Professor of Sociology

Professional Profile

Dr. Vazsonyi was recruited to Family Sciences at the University of Kentucky in 2011, following 15 years in Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University, to hold the John I. and Patricia J. Buster Endowed Professorship in Family Sciences (2011-2019) and to build a research culture. He also accepted appointments as Professor of Psychology (2011) and Professor of Sociology (2016) at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Vazsonyi’s research focuses on child and adolescent development and examines the etiology of child and adolescent adjustment (achievement, health-compromising behaviors, violence, and deviance). He is interested in socialization processes (parenting), but also individual differences (low self-control, sleep), ranging from family contextual experiences to larger cultural processes in understanding variability in adolescent development and adjustment. Much of his work has also focused on cultural and racial/ethnic minorities, as well as immigrants, both in the United States as well as abroad (e.g., Roma youth). He has published over 160 peer reviewed publications and book chapters. He served as the senior editor of the Cambridge Handbook of Violent Behavior and Aggression (2018) (see for more details about his scholarly work or here).

Dr. Vazsonyi serves as the Editor-In-Chief of the Journal of Early Adolescence and as a member of a number of editorial boards (e.g., Journal of Youth and Adolescence; Journal of Criminal Justice). He served and continues to serve on a number of national and international review panels, both for grant reviews as well as professional conferences. Dr. Vazsonyi was honored for exceptional achievements by his alma mater, The University of Arizona, both in 2008 and in 2017. He was a Fulbright fellow in 2003 at The University of Maribor in Maribor, Slovenia; in 2010, he was the inaugural recipient of the prestigious Fulbright-Masaryk Distinguished Chair in Social Studies at the Institute for Research on Children, Youth, and Family in the Psychology Department at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. In 2014, he was invited as a Senior Scholar for the 2014 EARA-SRA (European Association for Research on Adolescence and the Society for Research on Adolescence) Summer School in the Netherlands, sponsored by the Jacobs Foundation, a forum that brings together leading researchers and scholars with the most promising doctoral students from around the globe. In 2017 and in 2020, he was invited to chair the Society for Research and Adolescence Thornburg Dissertation Award Committee. In 2019, he received the Fulbright-Palacky Distinguished Chair to spend a semester in the Psychology Department at Palacky University in Olomouc, Czech Republic.

In addition to classroom teaching, Dr. Vazsonyi identifies mentoring both undergraduate and particularly graduate students as one of the most important and rewarding things he does. In 2018, he received the Teachers Who Made a Difference Award, College of Education, University of Kentucky. Over the past two and a half decades, he has chaired over twenty Ph.D. students, many of which hold postdocs or tenure-track positions at major universities as well as over a dozen M.S. students.

Course Instruction

FAM 357: Adolescent Development
FAM 495: Independent Work in Family Sciences (Research)
FAM 658: Adolescent Development
FAM 690: Research Methods in Family Sciences
FAM 790: Advanced Research Methods in Family Sciences


Ph.D.,Family Studies & Human Development, University of Arizona, 1995
M.S., Family Studies & Human Development, University of Arizona, 1993
B.S., Biopsychology, Grand Valley State University, 1989