Burton Receives Legacy Award from Family Research Consortium

August 2, 2005

Dr. Linda M. Burton, professor of human development and sociology and director of the Center for Human Development and Family Research in Diverse Contexts, has received the 2005 Legacy Award from the Family Research Consortium.

image of Dr. Linda M. Burton

The Family Research Consortium (FRC) was established with funding from the National Institute of Mental Health in 1985 to improve the quality of investigation and to stimulate broader collaboration in the field of family research. Four successive generations of the consortium have been funded, with each focusing on a distinct theme and comprising a different interdisciplinary team of senior researchers. Burton served as a co-director of the third consortium, which ran from 1999 until 2003.

According to information from FRC, Burton received the Legacy Award to recognize “her enormous and distinctive contributions to research on family life in contemporary society and to training the next generation of scholars in family mental health.” Employing meticulous, qualitative methods, she is viewed as a significant force in the greater acceptance and use of ethnography and other, more holistic, approaches in social scientific inquiry.

Burtonís research focuses on the effects that poverty and welfare reform have on children and families living in at-risk communities — topics that constantly receive a great deal of media, political, and popular attention. She has enjoyed extraordinary success in obtaining funding for her research; for example, she recently served as the principal investigator on the ethnographic component of “Welfare, Children and Families: A Three City Study.” The study, which involved collaboration with researchers from Brandeis, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Northwestern universities and the universities of North Carolina and Texas, sought to understand how welfare reform has affected the well-being of children and low-income families in Boston, Chicago and San Antonio.

The author of numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed articles, Burton has also received numerous honors for her achievements. These include the Award for Innovative Contributions to Family Research from the American Family Therapy Academy; selection as the Roberta Grotberg Simmons Memorial Lecturer by the Society for Research on Adolescence; the Faculty Scholar Medal from Penn State; and the Evan G. and Helen G. Pattishall Outstanding Research Achievement Award from the Penn State College of Health and Human Development.

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Editors: For additional information, please contact Bill Hessert, director of college relations for the College of Health and Human Development, at (814) 863-4325 or swh4@psu.edu.