College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

Gail Ferguson

  • Associate Professor

Gail Ferguson

Areas of interest

Adolescents and youth, culture, cross-culture, families and parenting, prevention and intervention, resilience


Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2007, Children's Institute, University of Rochester
PhD, 2006, Child/Adolescent Clinical Psychology, Bowling Green State University
MA, 2003, Child/Adolescent Clinical Psychology, Bowling Green State University
BA, 2001, Psychology, Williams College



Culture and Family Life Lab


My interests reside at the interface of developmental psychology, cross-cultural psychology, and clinical psychology, with a particular focus on understanding the implications of 21st Century globalization (e.g., multiculturalism, media, migration) for cultural socialization and cultural transmission, youth identity, parenting, and health. My central line of research explores modern forms of acculturation and enculturation, including ethnic/racial socialization, among youth and families from varying racial, cultural, and national backgrounds. As a translational researcher, I am committed to taking science from the lab to the living room: theory-building informs my empirical research, which, in turn, informs interventions my team and I design and culturally adapt for use across multiple cultural groups. A major aim of my work is to identify and target risk and protective factors in prevention and intervention programs that decrease inequalities by promoting the resilience of children and adolescents in globalizing settings (e.g., JUS Media?) while equipping parents to meet modern parenting demands (e.g., CARPE DIEM).


  • Board of Directors, Society for Research on Adolescence, 2022-present
  • Executive Council, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, 2020-2022
  • Consulting Editor, Child Development; Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology; Caribbean Journal of Psychology
  • Chair, ICD Ph.D. Admissions Committee, 2022-present; ICD Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee,2020-2022

Advising expectations and availability

If you are a prospective graduate student who is interested in working with Dr. Ferguson, click here to review her advising expectations. The document outlines what you can expect from Dr. Ferguson as an advisor/mentor and provides an overview of Dr. Ferguson's expectations of students in the child psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota.

Please note that for the Fall 2024 admissions cycle I am looking to take on new Ph.D. students as their primary advisor. Please reach out to if you are interested in learning more.


Fellow, American Psychological Association, Division 7 (Developmental), 2023

Fellow, International Academy of Intercultural Relations, 2023

American Psychological Association Division 1 (General Psychology) George A. Miller Award for an Oustanding Article for Ferguson et al.’s (2021) American Psychologist article “The Whiteness Pandemic behind the racism pandemic…”, 2022

Excellence in Academic Advising Award, University of Minnesota, College of Education and Human Development, 2021

Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2018

Outstanding Early Career Psychologist, American Psychological Association, Division 52--International Psychology, 2016


Hodges, H. R., Gillespie, S., Da Silva, F., Ibrahim, S., Gibson, H., Ali Daad, Lycett Davis, S., Abdi, S. M, Senesathith, V., Food, Culture, and Health Study Data Collection Team, and Ferguson, G. M. (in press). Ethical applications of digital community-based research with Black immigrant and refugee youth and families. American Psychologist.

Ferguson, G. M., Eales, L., Gillespie, S., & Leneman, K. (2021). The Whiteness pandemic behind the racism pandemic: Familial Whiteness socialization in Minneapolis following #GeorgeFloyd’s killing. American Psychologist, 77, 344-361. doi: 10.1037/amp0000874 (Winnder of 2022 APA Div 1 George A. Miller Award for Outstanding Article)

Ferguson, G. M. (2022). A Whiteness pandemic is behind the racism pandemic. Society for Personality and Social Psychology Context and Character Blog.

Simenec, T., Gillespie, S., Hodges, H. R., Ibrahim, S., Eckerstorfer, S., JUS Media? Adaptation Team, & Ferguson, G. M. (2022). A novel blueprint storyboarding method for efficiently digitizing and culturally adapting prevention programs for diverse youth and communities. Prevention Science, 24(4), 688-700.

Ferguson, G. M. (2021). The importance of talking to children about race and racism (including your own). MinnPost. 

Eales, L., Ferguson, G. M., Gillespie, S., Smoyer, S., & Carlson, S. (2021). Family resilience and psychological distress in the COVID-19 pandemic: A mixed-methods study. Developmental Psychology, 57, 1563-1581. doi:

Ferguson, G. M., Meeks Gardner, J. M., Nelson, M. R., Giray, C., Sundaram, H., Fiese, B. H., Koester, B. D., Tran, S. P., Powell, R., & JUS Media? Programme Study Team (2021). Food-focused media literacy for remotely acculturating adolescents and mothers: A randomized controlled trial of the ‘JUS Media? Programme’. Journal of Adolescent Health, advance online publication.

Eales, L., Gillespie, S., Eckerstorfer, S., Eltag, E., Global Educators Group, & Ferguson, G. M. (2020). Remote Acculturation 101: A primer on research, implications, and illustrations from classrooms around the world. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 8(1).

Ferguson, G. M., Fiese, B. H., Nelson, M. R., & Meeks Gardner, J. M. (2019). Transdisciplinary team science for global health: Case study of the JUS Media? Programme. American Psychologist, 74(6), 725-739.. doi: 10.1037/amp0000383. DOWNLOAD Open Access Manuscript Here.

Ferguson, G. M. (2017). Alignment, Research, and Creativity: How to A.R.C. toward your mark as an early career international psychologist. APA Newsletter: International Psychology Bulletin, 21(1), 23-28. 

Ferguson, G. M., Costigan, C. L., Clarke, C. V., & Ge, J. S. (2016). Introducing remote enculturation”: Learning your heritage culture from afar. Child Development Perspectives, 10, 166-171.doi: 10.1111/cdep.12181

Ferguson, G. M., Boer, D., Fischer, R., Hanke, K., Ferreira, M. C., Gouveia, V. V….Zenger, M. (2016). “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!”: The Jamaicanization of youth across 11 countries through Reggae music? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 47, 581-604. doi: 10.1177/0022022116632910

Ferguson, G. M., Bornstein, M. H., & Pottinger, A. M. (2012). Tridimensional Acculturation and Adaptation Among Jamaican Adolescent-Mother Dyads in the United States. Child Development, 83 (5), 1486-1493. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01787.x

Ferguson, G. M., & Bornstein, M. H. (2012). Remote acculturation: The “Americanization” of Jamaican Islanders. International Journal Of Behavioral Development, 36(3), 167-177. doi:10.1177/0165025412437066 [Download a free copy compliments of IJBD by clicking on this link and then clicking on the word "here" in the sentence "For more details you can read the article here."]

Chapters in books

Lorenzo-Blanco, E. I., Stein, G., Lee, R., & Ferguson, G. M. (2023). Acculturation and enculturation: The intersection of representational ethics, measurement, and conceptualization. In D. Witherspoon & G. L. Stein (Eds), Diversity and developmental science (p. 93-118). New York: Springer.

Ferguson, G. M., Tran, S. P., Mendez, S. N., & van de Vijver, F. J. R. (2017). Remote acculturation: Conceptualization, measurement, and implications for health outcomes. In S. J. Schwartz, & J. B. Unger (Eds.), Oxford handbook of acculturation and health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Ferguson, G. M., & Birman, D. (2016). Acculturation in the United States of America. To appear in D. Sam, & J. Berry (Eds), pp. 396-416. Cambridge handbook of acculturation psychology (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Ferguson, G. M. (2016). Remote acculturation and the birth of an Americanized Caribbean youth identity on the islands. In J. Roopnarine & D. Chadee (Eds.), pp. 97-117. Caribbean psychology: Indigenous contributions to a global discipline. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.


Ferguson, G. M.Remote Acculturation: So far in so little time, even further to go. Invited Keynote [VIDEO], Biennial Meeting of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology 2020+ Virtual, 2021. 

Ferguson, G. M. (Chair), & Hodges, H. (Co-Chair). The art and science of online interventions for children and families globally. Professional Development Session [VIDEO] at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research In Child Development, Virtual, 2021.

Ferguson, G. M. (Chair). Skill-Building Session. Giving developmental science away: Creative dissemination strategies for diverse stakeholders. Professional Development Session [RESOURCES] at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, Washington D.C., 2023.

Selected Press

Interview on the Whiteness Pandemic Project featured in Minneapolis Star Tribune (9/23/22). “The fallacy of colorblind kids: The damage of racial silence.”

Remote enculturation research featured in National Geographic Family (2/4/21): “Missing family during the pandemic? Celebrate your ancestry with recipes. Connecting kids to their heritage can provide them with lasting mental health benefits.”

Remote enculturation research featured in yes! Magazine article (1/26/21): “Immigrant Families Reconnect to Cultural Practices During the Pandemic: From making comfort food to speaking with ancestors, immigrant families across the U.S. are turning to cultural traditions to cope with the isolation and stress of quarantine.”