Meet CFS Chair

Jessica Dennis, Ph.D.
Professor of Child Development

I have been a proud member of the Cal State LA community since 2003! During this time, I have been a professor in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Child and Family Studies. I am currently serving as the Chair of the Child and Family Studies Department, and in this role, I enjoy providing advice and support to students. My research focuses on development in emerging adulthood, emphasizing cultural issues relating to identity and adjustment. 

My teaching interests include developmental psychology, multicultural psychology, methodology, and statistics. I try to incorporate attention to cultural diversity and social justice within each course that I teach, and I encourage active learning through discussion and critical thinking activities. Most of my courses contain a research component and multiple reflection assignments. 

My research background deals with development during adolescence and emerging adulthood in culturally diverse youth. In my research lab, the Center for Multicultural Research, we are investigating the ways in which young people maintain healthy relationships with their family members, while concurrently seeking to create their own identities, friendships, and romantic relationships as they enter adulthood. Through focus group interviews and surveys, we have found that young people from immigrant families may experience differences in expectations with their parents and that these differences can pose challenges to personal and family well-being. Recent projects in the lab have focused on topics such as the intersection of gender, sexual, cultural, and racial identity, the role of family and peers in the promotion of bicultural competence, and family support for college achievement. 

Navata, A., Ocholski, C., Anaya-Lopez, M., Martinez, C., & Dennis, J. (2023). Colonial Mentality and Colorism Among Filipinx Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology. Advance online publication. 

Wee, S. J., Dennis, J. M., Lo, Y., Ly-Hoang, K., & Ramirez-Ulloa, P. (2022). Early childhood practicum students’ perceptions and experiences of a remote directed fieldwork course during the COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Early Childhood Education.
Shen, J., & Dennis, J. M. (2019). Language brokering among Latino young adults: The role of communication and parental control. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 36, 131-152. 

Zhang, J., Dennis, J. M., & Houseman, C. (2018). The role of family and community bicultural socialization in the bilingual proficiency of immigrant young adults. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 67, 44-57.

Wynants, S. A., & Dennis, J. M., (2018). Professional development in an online context: Opportunities and challenges from the voices of college faculty. Journal of Educators Online, 15, 15-28.

Dennis, J. M., Fonseca, A., Gutierrez, G., Shen, J., & Salazar, S. (2016). Bicultural competence and the Latino 2.5 generation: The acculturative advantages and challenges of having one foreign born and one U.S. born parent. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 38, 341-359.

Liu, W., Dennis, J. M., & Edwards, C. P. (2015). Chinese parents’ involvement in sexuality education for adolescents. International Journal of Sexual Health, 27, 485-507

Michikyan, M., Dennis, J., & Subrahmanyam, K. (2015). Can you guess who I am? Real, ideal, and false self- presentation on Facebook among emerging adults. Emerging Adulthood, 3, 55-64. 

Dennis, J. M., Rosen, R., & Patel, S. K. (2015). Willingness to participate in a parental training intervention to reduce neurocognitive late effects among Latino parents of childhood cancer survivors. Cancer Education, 30, 37-44. 

Michikyan, M., Subrahmanyam, K., & Dennis, J. (2015). Facebook use and academic performance among college students: A mixed-methods study with a multi-ethnic sample. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 265-272.

Basañez, T., Dennis, J. M., Crano, W., Stacy, A., & Unger, J. B. (2014). Measuring acculturation gap conflicts among Hispanics: Implications for psychosocial and academic adjustment. Journal of Family Issues, 35, 1727-1753.

Michikyan, M., Subrahmanyam, K., & Dennis, J. (2014). Can you tell who I am? Neuroticism, extraversion, and online self-presentation among young adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 33, 179-183.

Dennis, J. M., Basañez, T., & Farahmand, A. (2010). Intergenerational conflicts among Latinos in early adulthood: Separating values conflicts with parents from acculturation conflicts. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 32, 118-135.