Velma McBride Murry

Creative Research Medal 2005

Velma McBride Murry examines the associations among family processes, community context and African Americans’ resilience. Her nominators consider her findings to have “important implications for social policies.” She and her colleagues developed, evaluated and implemented the family-focused Strong African American Families (SAAF) intervention program, which promotes research-based parenting skills and community processes to increase adolescents’ self-regulation while reducing their high-risk behavior.

Dr. Murry found that social class and socio-historical context affect sexual activity among African-American teenage girls. She also demonstrated that African-American families help their adolescents develop skills for coping with racism and other stressors. Her study of daily stress and mothers’ psychological functioning has been called “landmark” research.

Dr. Murry currently has $14.8 million in NIH funding and has been PI or Co-PI on grants totaling more than $26 million. She has given presentations at international conferences, authored nine book chapters and been first author on more than 25 refereed journal articles. The National Council on Family Relations gave her the 1999 Ernest Osborne National Teaching Excellence Award and, with her colleagues, the 2003 Reuben Hill Award for outstanding family research.