Research Interests:

Health psychology focused on children and adolescents. Interactions between behavior and health in children and adolescents. Quality of life in childhood, especially in vulnerable groups due to chronic illness, poverty, and racial/ethnic minority status. Health disparities in children and adolescents.

The following article describes Wallander’s research career and contributions:

Wallander, J.L. (2015). Dennis D. Drotar Distinguished Research Award: reflections on people and context influencing a research career. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 40, 1001-1007. DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsv089

Brief Biography

Jan L. Wallander (PhD, Purdue University, 1981) is Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences at University of California, Merced since 2007, with a focus on health psychology. Previously he served as founding director of the Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI), and Resource Center for Community Engaged Scholarship (ReCCES).

He has internationally recognized expertise regarding risk and resilience processes associated with the health, quality of life, and well-being of children and adolescents. A good portion of this work has focused on those with pediatric disease or disability, as well as their families. Currently he is focused on understanding disparities in the health, quality of life, and well-being of children and adolescents related to socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity. 

Over the past decade, Dr. Wallander has had numerous leadership roles in national and international scientific activities. Examples are as President of the Society of Pediatric Psychology, Associate Editor of the Journal of Pediatric Psychology and International Review of Mental Retardation, Pediatric Program Chair for several meetings of the International Congress of Behavioral Medicine, and executive committee member of the International Society of Behavioral Medicine. He has conducted collaborative research in the Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Zambia, India, and Pakistan.

Dr. Wallander has produced over 400 scientific publications and presentations at meetings and institutions nationally and internationally (see vita) . His work on health, quality of life, and well-being in pediatric populations has been highly influential as reflected in numerous citations in the scientific literature, recognition for advancing the field, and invited addresses.

Current research involves the Healthy Passages project, which is a longitudinal cohort study tracking influences on health and development in adolescence, by following over 5,000 children from age 10 to 20. More recently, he has initiated a collaboration with the Growing Up in New Zealand study, a longitudinal population cohort study tracking the health and development of about 7,000 children from before birth into adulthood. He recently concluded the BRAIN-HIT project, a randomized controlled trial of a home-based developmental stimulation program to prevent neurodevelopmental disability in infants born at risk in infants born at risk in rural areas of India, Pakistan, and Zambia.

Previously he was Professor of Psychology and Nursing, Director of Developmental Psychology in the Department of Psychology, as well as Associate Director for Human Development Research at the Civitan International Research Center at University of Alabama at Birmingham.