Rachel Dunifon


Rachel Dunifon

248, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Phone: 607-255-6535 Fax: 607-255-4071
Email: red26@cornell.edu
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Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Rachel Dunifon is a Professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management.  She is also Associate Director for the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, and PAM Department Extension Leader.  She received her PhD in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University in 1999 and joined the department in 2001, after spending two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan's Poverty Research and Training Center. Her research focuses on child and family policy.

Teaching and Advising Statement:

PAM 6900: Proseminar in Policy Analysis and Management

Current Professional Activities:

Dunifon is an active member of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, the Population Association of America, and the Cornell Population Center. She is a consulting editor for Developmental Psychology.

Current Research Activities:

Dunifon studies child and family policy, with a focus on factors influencing the development of less-advantaged children.  Specific research topics include the relationship between maternal employment conditions and children's health and development; the well-being of children in various family living arrangements, such as single-parenthood and cohabitation; and the role of grandparents in the lives of youth.

Her work has been supported by a wide range of sources.  Rachel was awarded a 5-year grant from the William T. Grant Foundation's Scholar's program to study the role of grandparents in the lives of youth.  Under this grant, she is examining whether and how grandparents influence youth; whether living with a grandparent benefits youth living in a single-parent family; and how children fare when they are raised by their grandparents.

Dunifon was also awarded an R01 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to study the influence on children of maternal employment patterns.  Many mothers working low-wage jobs must work evenings or weekends, have little control over their schedules, or have long commutes.  Dunifon's work examines how these factors influence children's health and development, parents and family routines. 

Rachel's research has been published in Demography, Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Journal of Marriage and Family

Current Extension Activities:

Rachel Dunifon leads the Parenting in Context Project, providing campus leadership to Cornell Cooperative Extension parent educators throughout the state.    Information about this project can be found online at:

She is also Associate Director of the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research: http://www.bctr.cornell.edu/.  Rachel is also the Department Extension leader for PAM.   

From July-December 2013 she served as Interim Associate Dean for Outreach and Extension in the College of Human Ecology.


Ph.D. 1999 - Northwestern University, Human Development & Social Policy
M.A. 1998 - Northwestern University, Human Development & Social Policy
B.A. 1994 - Davidson College, Psychology

Courses Taught:

PAM 6900--Proseminar in Policy Analysis and Management

Related Websites:

Parenting in Context Project: www.human.cornell.edu/pam/outreach/parenting/index.cfm

“Welfare Reform and Intergenerational Mobility”. A report for the Pew Charitable Trusts Economic Mobility Project. http://www.economicmobility.org/assets/pdfs/EMP_TANF%2015.pdf
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research
Google Scholar Page

Administrative Responsibilities:

Associate Director, Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research
Department Extension Leader, Policy Analysis and Management

Selected Publications:

Dunifon, Rachel, Ariel Kalil, Danielle Crosby and Jessica Su (2013). “Mothers’ Night Work and Children’s Behavior Problems”. Developmental Psychology, 49(10): 1874-1885.
Dunifon, Rachel (2013). “The Influence of Grandparents in the Lives of Children and Adolescents”, Child Development Perspectives, 7(1): 55-60.
Ziol-Guest, Kathleen, Rachel Dunifon and Ariel Kalil (2013). “Parental Employment and Children’s Body Weight: Mothers, Others, and Mechanisms”, Social Science and Medicine, 95: 52-59.
Dunifon, Rachel and Ashish Bajracharya. (2012) “The Role of Grandparents in the Lives of Youth”. Journal of Family Issues, 33(9): 1168-1194.
Johnson, Rucker, Ariel Kalil and Rachel Dunifon (2012). “Employment Patterns of Less-Skilled Workers: Links to Children’s Behavior and Academic Progress”. Demography, 49(2): 747-772.
Morrissey, Taryn, Rachel Dunifon and Ariel Kalil (2011). “Maternal Employment, Work Schedules, and Children’s Body Mass Index”. Child Development, 82(1): 66-81.

Dunifon, Rachel, Kathryn Hynes and H. Elizabeth Peters. (2009) “State Welfare Policies and Children’s Living Arrangements”. Social Service Review, 83(3):351-388.
Hynes, Kathryn and Rachel Dunifon. (2007). “Children in No-Parent Households: The Continuity of Arrangements and the Composition of Households”.  Children and Youth Services Review, 29 (7): 912-932.
Kalil, Ariel and Rachel Dunifon (2007). “Maternal Work and Welfare Use and Child Well-Being: Evidence from Six Years of Data from the Women’s Employment Study”. Children and Youth Services Review, 29(6): 742-761.
Dunifon, Rachel and Lori Kowaleski-Jones. (2007) “The Influence of Grandparents in Single-Mother Families”. Journal of Marriage and Family, 69: 465-481.
Bartfeld, Judi and Rachel Dunifon (2006). “State-Level Predictors of Food Insecurity Among Households With Children”. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 25(4): 921-942.
Dunifon, Rachel, Kathryn Hynes, and H. Elizabeth Peters (2006).   “Welfare Reform and Child Well-Being”. Children and Youth Services Review, 28(11): 1273-1292.
Dunifon, Rachel, Ariel Kalil and Ashish Bajracharya (2005). “Maternal Working Conditions and Child Well-Being in Welfare-leaving Families.” Developmental Psychology, 41(6): 851-859.

Searchable Keywords:
Child and Family Policy, Social Policy, Maternal Employment, Welfare Reform, Grandparents, Children's Living Arrangements

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.