Kenneth H. Rubin (B.A., McGill University, 1968; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1971) is Professor of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. Rubin studies child and adolescent social and emotional development, especially peer and parent-child relationships, and anxious-withdrawal and aggression, all from a cross-cultural perspective. Recent research has focused on developing interventions for young children at-risk for the development of anxiety disorders; examining the social, emotional, and social-cognitive consequences of childhood traumatic brain injury; and studying, longitudinally, the development of internalizing, externalizing, and socially competent behaviors from childhood through early adulthood. Many of his over 300 peer-reviewed publications have been co-authored by colleagues on five continents. Rubin was the elected President of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development (1998-2002), was an elected member of the Society for Research in Child Development Governing Council (2009-2015), and an elected member of the American Psychological Association, Developmental Psychology Division Executive Board (1987-1990). He has served as Associate Editor of Child Development (1981-1984; 1998-2001) and as a review panelist for NIH and SSHRCC (Canada). Rubin is a Fellow of the American and Canadian Psychological Associations, the Association of Psychological Science, and the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development. Among his honors are the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development Lifetime Achievement Award , the Society for Research in Child Development Award for distinguished Contributions to Understanding International, Cultural and Contextual Diversity in Child Development; the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development Award for Distinguished Contributions to the International Advancement of Research and Theory in Behavioral Development; the Developmental Psychology Mentor Award of the American Psychological Association; the Pickering Award for Outstanding Contribution to Developmental Psychology in Canada; and the Killam Research Fellowship (Canada Council). His book, The Friendship Factor (Viking/Putnam/Penguin), received the National Parenting Publications Gold Award in 2002. On campus, Rubin has been the recipient of the University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher Award, the Undergraduate Research Mentor of the Year Award and the College of Education, Exceptional Scholarship Award.

CV: CV 07 2020.docx263.43 KB


  • PhD
    Pennsylvania State University, 1971

The Laboratory for the Study of Child and Family Relationships (LSCFR) is located within the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland – College Park. The LSCFR was established in 1995 by Dr. Kenneth H. Rubin.  The primary goal of the LSCFR is to advance our understanding of child and adolescent social and emotional development.

We are particularly interested in vulnerability and resilience among children at-risk for maladaptive psychosocial outcomes. Our current projects include basic research on:

  • The development of adaptive (social competence; civic engagement) and maladaptive (social withdrawal; aggression) social behaviors and peer relationships (friendship; peer acceptance and rejection; bullying and victimization; early romantic relationships) in childhood and adolescence.
  • The determinants and stability of parent-child relationships, parenting behaviors and beliefs about normal and abnormal/dysfunctional development.
  • Predicting the development of adaptive and dysfunctional child and adolescent outcomes from the constellation of biological factors (e.g., temperament), context (e.g., culture), parenting and parent-child relationships, and peer relationships. Positive outcomes include social and emotional competence. Negative outcomes include social anxiety, depression, loneliness, rejection sensitivity, and negative self-esteem.
  • Cultural influences on parenting, parent-child relationships and children’s social and emotional development.
  • The effects of traumatic brain injury on children’s social, social-cognitive, and emotional lives at home and school.

Our current projects also involve applied research on:

  • The effects of intervention experiences for socially anxious and withdrawn young children.
  • The effects of preschoolers’ exposure to theater on their creativity, sociodramatic play, theory of mind, and social competence.

The research of the LSCFR has, at its core, the notion that “normal” and “abnormal” social behaviors and relationships are best understood within their given cultural contexts.  Consequently, much of the work of the LSCFR is conducted not only in North America, but also in Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America

Research Methods
Psychophysiology (EEG, ECG, GSR)
Observational Methods; Interventions; Peer Nominations and Ratings of Child/Adolescent Behavior
Research Interests
Fear and Anxiety
Temperament and Personality; Individual Differences
Social Cognition
Social Development
Emotional Development
Family Relationships
Peer Relationships; Traumatic Brain Injury
Kenneth H. Rubin
1108 Benjamin Building
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
krubin [at]