Research and Biography

Sydney Hans is the Samuel Deutsch Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. Her research seeks to understand how biological and social factors interact in contributing to risk and resilience in human development. She studies how experiences in early life, particularly the relationship between mother and infant, influence development at later ages. She has conducted studies focusing on the development of young children whose parents use illicit substances, suffer from major mental disorders, have experienced traumatic events, and/or live in conditions of extreme poverty. She is particularly interested in using research to develop interventions and public policy that will benefit infants, young children, and their families. She currently is engaged in implementing and evaluating intervention programs in which paraprofessional "doulas" provide childbirth education and support to adolescent mothers. Professor Hans' research has been supported by a variety of private foundations and public agencies, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. She is currently serves as an associate editor of Developmental Psychology and on the editorial board of Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Professor Hans teaches Human Behavior in the Social Environment, the introductory course in the family support program, and doctoral courses in life course development theory and research. She is chair of the doctoral program at SSA and the director of the Irving B. Harris Infant Mental Health Training Program at the University of Chicago.

Professor Hans graduated with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University. Prior to coming to SSA, she was on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago.