Thomas S. Weisner


Thomas S. Weisner

Professor Emeritus in Residence

Office: 318A Haines Hall


Phone: 310-770-4709

Personal Website

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Thomas S. Weisner, PhD is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, Emeritus at UCLA, where he taught since 1971. He directed the Center for Culture and Health at UCLA through 2014. His research and teaching interests are in culture and human development; sibling and nonparental care of children; ecocultural theory and methods, medical, psychological and cultural studies of families and children at risk; mixed qualitative and quantitative research methods; and culturally and contextually rich policy-informed evidence as well as evidence-informed policy. He has done fieldwork with the Abaluyia of Western Kenya and Nairobi, native Hawaiians, countercultural U.S. families, California families with children with disabilities and mental illness, families and children with autism in India, youth with ADHD in the U.S., Mexican-American adolescents and parents in Los Angeles, and working poor families in the U.S. (the New Hope study). His BA is from Reed College and PhD from Harvard in Social Relations & Anthropology. He is the co-editor of African families and the crisis of social change (with Candice Bradley and Phil Kilbride), co-author of Higher Ground: New Hope for the Working Poor and Their Children (with Greg Duncan and Aletha Huston); co-editor of Making it work (with Hiro Yoshikawa & Edward Lowe); editor of Discovering successful pathways in children’s development (2005); and contributor to Methods That Matter (Cameron Hay, Ed., 2016). He also has a TEDx talk on YouTube, “What is the most important influence in child development” (2016). He is the co-developer and co-founder of the qualitative & mixed methods software Dedoose ( Weisner has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, a member of the MacArthur Foundation research network on successful pathways in middle childhood, President and Distinguished Research Award, of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, a Senior Program Advisor to the William T Grant Foundation, served on the Governing Council of the Society for Research in Child Development, where he also received the 2017 interdisciplinary research award from SRCD, and served on the Board of ChildFund International. The article from 2018, “Culture, context, and the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in the study of human development” summarizes his research. His 160+ publications are available at


Weisner T. S. (2021). Sociocultural Context and Methodological Pluralism Matter for all Developmental Science. [Peer commentary on the article “Joint Attention in Human and Chimpanzee Infants in Varied Socio-ecological Contexts” by K. A. Bard, H. Keller, K. M. Ross, B. Hewlett, L. Butler, S. T. Boysen, & T. Matsuzawa]. Monograph Matters. Retrieved from 86-4/

Weisner, 2021. Still the Most Important Influence on Human Development: Culture, Context, and Methods Pluralism. Human Development 2021;64:238–244. DOI: 10.1159/000512943.

Weisner, Thomas S. 2020. INTRODUCTION. Welcome to Bob LeVine’s Legacy in the Words of His Students. In Rebecca New, Ed. Tributes: Celebrating Robert A. LeVine. Memoirs from His Students. Durham, N.C.: Horse & Buggy Press. Pp. 5 – 13.

Weisner, T. S. 2019. Closing Remarks. In Salmona, M., Lieber, E. and Kaczynski, D. (2020). Qualitative and Mixed Methods Data Analysis using Dedoose: A Practical Approach for Research across the Social Sciences. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Pp. 238 – 241.

Mitchell, J. T., Sibley, M. H., Hinshaw, S. P., Kennedy, T. M., Chronis-Tuscano, A., Arnold, L. E., Swanson, J. M., Hechtman, L. T., Molina, B. S. G., Caye, A., Tamm, L., Owens, E. B., Roy, A., Weisner, T. S., Murray, D. W., & Jensen, P. S. (in press). A qualitative analysis of contextual factors relevant to suspected late-onset ADHD. Journal of Attention Disorders. doi: 10.1177/1087054719837743

Lois Weis, Margaret Eisenhart, Greg J. Duncan, Elizabeth Albro, Andrea Conklin Bueschel, Paul Cobb, Jacquelynne Eccles, Ruby Mendenhall, Pamela Moss, William Penuel, Robert K. Ream, Rubén G. Rumbaut, Finbarr Sloane, Thomas S. Weisner & James Wilson. (2019). “Mixed Methods for Studies That Address Broad and Enduring Issues in Education Research .“ Teachers College Record Volume 121, Number 10, 2019, p. – ID Number: 22741.

Weisner, T.S. (2019). Forward. In Tiia Tulviste, Deborah L. Best, and Judith L. Gibbons, editors. (2019). CHILDREN’S SOCIAL WORLDS IN CULTURAL CONTEXT. Springer.

Weisner, Thomas S. 2018. Chapter 4: Culture, context, and the integration of qualitative and quantitative methods in the study of human development. In Gelfand, M., Chiu, C.Y., and Hong, Y.Y. (Eds.) Advances in Culture and Psychology: Volume 7. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Pp. 153 – 216.

Weisner, Thomas S. (2018). Forward. In Parenting from afar and the reconfiguration of family across distance. Edited by Maria Rosario T. de Guzman, Jill Brown, & Carolyn Pope Edwards. New York: Oxford University Press. Pp. ix – xiii .

Weisner, Thomas S. 2018. Psychological Anthropology and the study of disability. In Autism in Translation. An Intercultural Conversation on Autism Spectrum Conditions. Edited by Elizabeth Fein and Clarice Rios. Palgrave Macmillan: Switzerland. Pp. 263 – 281.

Weisner, T. S. (2018). Obituary for UCLA and University of California University Professor Robert B. Edgerton. Ethos

Jensen, P., Hinshaw, Stephen, Weisner, Thomas (2018). “Introduction: Just Say No? New Insights About Change Versus Constancy in Substance Use Behavioral Decisions in Youth With and Without ADHD.” Journal of Attention Disorders 22: suppl, 3S-9S.

Weisner, Thomas S. (2017). The Socialization of Social Trust:
Cultural Pluralism in Understanding Attachment and Trust in Children . In Universalism without Uniformity: Explorations in Mind and Culture. Edited by Julia L. Cassaniti and Usha Menon | University of Chicago Press, 2017. Cloth: 978-0-226-50154-3 | Paperback: 978-0-226-50168-0 | eISBN: 978-0-226-50171-0 pp 135 – 151.

Mitchell, J. T., Weisner, T. S., Jensen, P. S., Murray, D. W., Molina, B. S. G., Arnold, L. E., Hechtman, L., Swanson, J. M., Hinshaw, S. P. ,Victor, E. C., Kollins, S. H., Wells, K. C., Belendiuk, K. A., Blonde, A., Nguyen, C., Ambriz, L., & Nguyen, J. L. (2017). How substance users with ADHD perceive the relationship between substance use and emotional functioning. Journal of Attention Disorders.

Gaskins, S., Beeghly, Marjorie, Bard, Kim A., Gernhardt, Ariane, Liu, Cindy H., Teti, Douglas M., Thompson, Ross A., Weisner, Thomas S, & Yovsi, Relindis D. (2017). Meaning and methods in the study and assessment of attachment, Chp. 8. IN The Cultural Nature of Attachment. Contextualizing Relationships and Development. H. Keller, & Bard, Kim A. (Eds). Cambridge, Mass & London, England, MIT Press: pp. 195-229.

Gaskins, S., Beeghly, Marjorie, Bard, Kim A., Gernhardt, Ariane, Liu, Cindy H., Teti, Douglas M., Thompson, Ross A., Weisner, Thomas S, & Yovsi, Relindis D. (2017). Implications for Policy and Practice, Chp. 13. IN The Cultural Nature of Attachment. Contextualizing Relationships and Development. H. Keller, & Bard, Kim A. (Eds.). Cambridge, Mass & London, England, MIT Press: pp. 321 – 333.

Yoshikawa, H., Nieto, Ana Maria, Sommer, Terest Eckrich, Chase-Lansdale, P. Lindsay, Weisner, Thomas S., & Senders, Owen (2016). Money, Time, and Peers in Antipoverty Programs, Chp. 21. Child Psychology. A Handbook of Contemporary Issues, Third Edition. L. Balter, & Tamis-LeMonda, Catherine S. (Eds.). New York, New York, Routledge: pp. 473 – 494.

Rachel S. Brezis, Nidhi Singhal, Tamara Daley, Merry Barua, Judith Piggot, Shreya Chollera, Lauren Mark, & Thomas S. Weisner. 2016. Self- and other-descriptions by individuals with autism spectrum disorder in Los Angeles and New Delhi: Bridging cross-cultural psychology and neurodiversity. Culture and Brain 4 (1). DOI 10.1007/s40167-016-0040-9.

Weisner, Thomas S. 2016. Findings that matter: Commentary. In Hay, Cameron, Ed. 2016. Methods that matter: Integrating Mixed Methods for More Effective Social Science Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Pp. 393-408. DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190879228.003.0004

Lasky, A.K., Weisner, T.S., Jensen, P.S., Hinshaw, S.P., Hechtman, L., Arnold, L.E., Murray, D., Swanson, J.M. (2016). ADHD in context: Young adults’ reports of the impact of occupational environment on the manifestation of ADHD. Soc Sci Med. 2016 Jul;161:160-8. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2016.06.003. Epub 2016 Jun 7. PubMed PMID: 27299978.

MC HAY, TS WEISNER, SK SUBRAMANIAN. 2016. What Makes for the Best Clinical Care? Using Trigger Films to Explore Better Integration of Guidelines and Experience.
In Hay, Cameron, Ed. 2016. Methods that matter: Integrating Mixed Methods for More Effective Social Science Research. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Weisner, T. S. 2015. Relationships and Social Trust in Early Childhood Programs. The Importance of Context and Mixed Methods. In Kay Sanders & Alison Wishard Guerra, Eds. The culture of child care: Attachment, peers, and quality in diverse communities. New York: Oxford University Press, Chp. 6, pp. 107 – 120.

Weisner, T. S. (2015). “Childhood: Anthropological Aspects.” In James D. Wright, International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, 2nd edition, Vol. 3. James D. Wright, editor-in-chief. Pp. 451-458. Oxford: Elsevier.

Brezis, R. S., Weisner, T. S., Daley, T. C., Singhal, N., Barua, M., & Chollera, S. P. (2015). “Parenting a Child with Autism in India: Narratives Before and After a Parent–Child Intervention Program.” Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry, 1-22.

Weisner, T.S. (2014). “The Socialization of Trust: Plural Caregiving and Diverse Pathways in Human Development Across Cultures.” In Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations on a Universal Human Need. Hiltrud Otto and Heidi Keller, eds. Pp. 263-277. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Britto, P. R., Oketch, M., & Weisner, T. S. (2014). “Nonformal Education and Learning.” In Learning and Education in Developing Countries: Research and Policy for the Post-2015 UN Development Goals. Daniel A. Wagner, ed. Pp. 74-90. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

Weisner, T. S., & Hay, M. C. (2014). “Practice to Research: Integrating Evidence-Based Practices with Culture and Context.” Transcultural Psychiatry. 0(0): 1-22.

Weisner, T.S. (2014). “Culture, Context, and Child Well-Being.” In Handbook of Child Well-Being: Theories, Methods and Policies in Global Perspective. A. Ben-Arieh, F. Casas, I. Frones, and J. E. Korbin, eds. Pp. 87-103. Dordrecht: Springer Verlag.

Daley, T. C., Weisner, T. S., & Singhal, N. (2014). “Adults with Autism in India: A Mixed-Method Approach to Make Meaning of Daily Routines.” Social Science & Medicine. 116: 142-149.

Weisner, T.S. (2014). “Why Qualitative and Ethnographic Methods Are Essential for Understanding Family Life.” In Emerging Methods in Family Research: Approaches to Measuring Families. S. M. McHale, P. Amato, and A. Booth, eds. Pp. 163-178. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Verlag.

Weisner, T.S. & Duncan, G. (2014). “The World Isn’t Linear or Additive or Decontextualized: Pluralism and Mixed Methods in Understanding the Effects of Anti-Poverty Programs on Children and Parenting.” In Societal Contexts of Child Development: Pathways of Influence and Implications for Practice and Policy. Elizabeth T. Gershoff, Rashmita S. Mistry, and Danielle A. Crosby, eds. Pp. 124-138. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Weisner, Thomas S. (2014). [lecture, UCLA] “At the Crossroads Conference: Medicine . . . and Anthropology.

Weisner, T.S. (2013). Why qualitative and ethnographic methods are essential for understanding family life. In S. McHale, P. Amato, & A. Booth (Eds.), Emerging methods in family research: Approaches to measuring families. Dordrecht: Springer Verlag.

Steinberg, M. & Weisner, T. S. (2012). Review of Everyday Ruptures: Children, Youth, and Migration in Global Perspective. Cati Coe, Rachel Reynolds, Deborah Boehm, Julia Hess, and Heather Rae-Espinoza, eds. Ethos 40:4.

Weisner, T. S. (2012). Mixed methods should be a valued practice in Anthropology. Anthropology News, May, p. 1-2.

Weisner, T. S. (2011). Culture and Social Development.. In M. K. Underwood & L. H. Rosen (Eds). Social Development. New York: Guilford. Pp. 372 – 399.

Duncan, G., Huston, A., & Weisner, T. (2007). Higher Ground: New Hope for working families and their children. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Yoshikawa, H., Weisner, T. S., & Lowe, E. (Eds.). (2006). Making it work: Low-wage employment, family life and child development. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Weisner, T.S. 2011. The Ecocultural Family Interview: New conceptualizations and uses for the study of illness. Papers in honor of Vanna Axia. Padova: University of Padova Press.

Weisner, T.S., & Barbara H. Fiese. (2011). Introduction to the special section of the Journal of Family Psychology: Integrative and applied solutions for family science. Journal of Family Psychology 25 (6):795-798.

Weisner, T.S. (2011). If you work in this country you should not be poor, and your kids should be doing better: Bringing mixed methods and theory in psychological anthropology to improve research in policy and practice. Ethos 39 (4):455 – 476.

Weisner, T.S. (2010). John & Beatrice Whiting’s contributions to the cross-cultural study of human development: Their values, goals, norms, and practices. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 41(4): 499-509.

Weisner, T. S. (2011). Culture and Social Development.. In M. K. Underwood & L. H. Rosen (Eds). Social Development. New York: Guilford. Pp. 372 – 399.

Lieber, E. & Weisner, T.S. (2010). Meeting the practical challenges of mixed methods research. In Tashakkori and Teddlie, Eds. Handbook of Mixed Methods Research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Pp 559 – 579.

East, P. L. & Weisner, T.S. (2009). Mexican-American Adolescents’ family caregiving: Selection effects and longitudinal associations with adjustment. Family Relations 58 (December 2009): 562 – 577.

East, P.L., Weisner, T.S, & Slonim, A. (2009). Youths’ caretaking of their adolescent sisters’ children. Results from two longitudinal studies. Journal of Family Issues 30(12): 1671-1697.

Weisner, T. S. (2009). Culture, Development, and Diversity: Expectable Pluralism, Conflict, and Similarity. Ethos 37(2): 181-196.

Weisner, T.S. (2009). Parenting. In Shweder, Richard A., Thomas R. Bidell, Anne C. Dailey, Suzanne D. Dixon, Peggy J. Miller, and John Modell, eds. THE CHILD: AN ENCYCLOPEDIC COMPANION. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Weisner, T.S. (2009). African Childhood. In Shweder, Richard A., Thomas R. Bidell, Anne C. Dailey, Suzanne D. Dixon, Peggy J. Miller, and John Modell, eds. THE CHILD: AN ENCYCLOPEDIC COMPANION. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Weisner, T.S. (2009). Well being, chaos, and culture: Sustaining a meaningful daily routine. In Evans, G.W. & Wachs, T.D. (Eds.). Chaos and its influence on children’s development: An ecological perspective.

Weisner, T.S. (2008). Well being and sustainability of the daily routine of life. In Gordon Mathews & Carolina Izquerdo, eds. The good life: Well-being in Anthropological perspective. New York: Berghahn Press. Pp. 349 – 380.

Skinner, Debra, & Thomas S. Weisner. 2007. Sociocultural Studies of Families of Children with Intellectual Disabilities. Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews 13: 302 – 312

Yoshikawa, H., Weisner, T.S., Kalil, A., Way, N. 2008. Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Developmental Science: Uses and Methodological Choices. Developmental Psychology44(2):344-354.

East, Patricia L., Thomas S. Weisner, & Barbara Reyes. (2006). Youths’ caretaking of their adolescent sisters’ children. Its costs and benefits for youths’ development. Applied Developmental Science, 10:2, 86-95.

Matheson, C., Olson, R., & Weisner, T.S. 2007. A good friend is hard to find: Friendship among adolescents with disabilities. American Journal of Mental Retardation

Weisner, Thomas S., & Lowe, Edward. 2005. Globalization and the Psychological Anthropology of Childhood and Adolescence. In Conerly Casey & Robert Edgerton, eds. A companion to psychological anthropology: modernity and psychocultural change. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, U.K. Pp. 315 – 336.

Bernheimer, Lucinda B., and Thomas S. Weisner. In press, 2007. “Let me just tell you what I do all day…”: The family story at the center of intervention research and practice. Infants & Young Children Issue 20:3, July.

Lowe, E. Weisner, T., Geis, S. & Huston, A. Child Care Instability and the Effort to Sustain a Working Daily Routine: Evidence from the New Hope Ethnographic Study of Low-Income Families. 2005. IN C. Cooper, C. Garcia-Coll, T. Bartko, H. Davis, C. Chatman, Eds. Hills of Gold: Diverse Pathways Through Middle Childhood. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Pp. 121 – 144.

Weisner, Thomas S., Ed. 2005. Discovering successful pathways in children’s development: New methods in the study of childhood and family life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Weisner, T.S. 2005. Attachment as a cultural and ecological problem with pluralistic solutions. Human Development 48 (1-2), pp. 89 – 94.

Weisner, T. S., Matheson, C., Coots, J, and Bernheimer, L. 2005. Sustainability of daily routines as a family outcome. In Ashley Maynard and Mary Martini, Eds. The Psychology of Learning in Cultural Context. New York: Kluwer/Plenum. Pp. 41 – 73.

Weisner, T.S., C. Bradley, and P. Kilbride (eds.). 1997. African Families and the Crisis of Social Change. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press.

Bernheimer, L., Weisner, T. S., & Lowe, E. D. (2003). Impacts of children with troubles on working poor families: Experimental and mixed-method evidence. Mental Retardation, 41(6), 403-419.

Lowe, E., & Weisner, T. S. (2004). “You have to push it — who’s gonna raise your kids?”: Situating child care in the daily routines of low-income families. Children and Youth Services Review, 26, 143-171.

Okami, P., Weisner, T. S., and Olmstead, R. (2002). Outcome correlates of parent-child bedsharing: An 18-year longitudinal study. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Vol. 23 (4), pp. 244 – 253.

Weisner, T.S. (2001). The American dependency conflict: Continuities and discontinuities in behavior and values of
countercultural parents and their children. Ethos. 29 (3): 271 – 295

Weisner, T. S. (2001). Anthropological aspects of childhood. In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Vol 3 (pp. 1697 – 1701). N. J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes (editors).
Pergamon, Oxford.

Daley, Tamara, & Weisner, Thomas S. (2003). “I Speak a Different Dialect”: Teen Explanatory Models of Difference and Disability. Medical Anthropology Quarterly 17 (1): 25 – 48.

Weisner, T.S. (2002). Ecocultural understanding of children’s developmental pathways. Human Development 45 (4): 275-281.

Lieber, Eli, Weisner, Thomas S., & Presley, Matthew. 2003.. EthnoNotes: An Internet-Based Fieldnote Management Tool. Field Methods 15 (4: 405 – 425.

Awards & Grants

President, Society for Psychological Anthropology, 2005 – 2007;  Distinguished Research Award, 2019.

Lester Prize, Princeton University, for the Outstanding Book in Industrial Relations & Labor Economics, 2007

Governing Council, Society for Research in Child Development, 2009 – 2015; Interdisciplinary Research Award, 2017.

Board of Directors, ChildFund International 2008 – 2015

Graduate Students

Eleanor Carter (chair)

Megan Mulet

Katie Hale (chair)

Hannah Reiss

Mindy Steinberg

Page Sorensen

Scarlett Eisenhauer


Ph.D., Harvard University (1973)
B.A. Reed College (1965)