Dr. Zimmerman's research focuses on health and resiliency of adolescents, and on empowerment theory. His work on adolescent health examines how positive factors in adolescent's lives help them overcome risks they face. His research includes analysis of adolescent resiliency for risks associated with alcohol and drug use, violent behavior, precocious sexual behavior, and school failure. He is also studying developmental transitions and longitudinal models of change. Dr. Zimmerman's work on empowerment theory includes measurement and analysis of psychological and community empowerment. The research includes both longitudinal interview studies and community intervention research.
Dr. Zimmerman is the Director of the CDC-funded Prevention Research Center of Michigan and the CDC-funded Youth Violence Prevention Center. He is the Editor of Youth and Society, a member of the editorial board for Health Education Research, and Editor Emeritus of Health Education and Behavior.
HBEHED800: Seminar in Health Behavior and Health Education
Ph.D., Psychology, Personality, and Social Ecology, University of Illinois, 1986
M.S., Community Psychology, University of Oregon, 1980
B.S., Psychology, University of Massachusetts, 1976
Research Interests & Projects
Dr. Zimmerman's primary research interests have included application and development of empowerment theory and the study of adolescent health and resiliency. His research has consistently focused on individual and community risk and promotive factors, resiliency, and community-based research methods. He is the principal investigator for the Flint Adolescent Study (FAS). FAS is a National Institute on Drug Abuse funded longitudinal study designed to investigate resiliency among adolescents. The study is currently examining resiliency in the transition to adulthood. The protective factors studied include participation in church, school, and community organizations, social support and influences, psychological well being, and racial identity.
Dr. Zimmerman directs the Prevention Research Center of Michigan (PRC/MI). This CDC-funded center includes both policy and community-based initiatives and projects. The center includes partnerships with the State Department of Community Health and other policy organizations (e.g., Michigan Association of Local Public Health, Michigan League of Human Services, Michigan Health and Hospital Association, and Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health) and community organizations including the Genesee County Health Department, Greater Flint Health Coalition, Neighborhood Roundtable, Flint Odyssey House, and Faith Access to Community Economic Development. Center projects included a variety of health issues such as maternal and child health, adolescent health and nutrition and physical activity. The PRC also conducts a biennial survey of social determinants of health.
Dr. Zimmerman also Directs the CDC funded Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center (initiated in October 2010). The six component intervention is located in Flint, Mi. The Center includes collaborators from Emergency Medicine, Psychaitry, the Prevention Research Center, and several community-based organizations. This Center builds on Dr. Zimmerman's work with other violence prevention projects (e.g., Youth Empowerment Solutions) and his longstanding work with adolescents.
He has published on a wide variety of topics including adolescent violence, sexual behavior, substance use, and mental health; HIV/AIDS prevention; and empowerment theory. Selected representative publications follow.
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Brenner, A.B., Zimmerman, M.A., Bauermeister, J.A., & Caldwell, C.H. (2012). The physiological expression of living in disadvantaged neighborhoods for youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, DOI 10.1007/s10964-012-9838-8..
Elkington, K.S., Bauermeister, J.A., Zimmerman, M.A. (2010). Psychological distress, substance use, and HIV/STI risk behaviors among youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 5, 514-517.
Zimmerman, M.A., Brenner, A. (2010). Resilience in adolescence: Overcoming neighborhood disadvantage. In Reich, J.W., Zautra, A.J., Hall, J.S. (Ed.) Handbook of Adult Resilience. (283-308). New York: Guilford Press.
Holden, D.J., Zimmerman, M.A. (eds.) (Winter, 2009). A practical guide to program evaluation planning: Theory and case examples.
Hurd, N.M., Zimmerman, M.A., Xue, Y. (July, 2009). Negative adult influences and the protective effects of role models: A study with urban adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 6, 777-789.
Fergus, S., Zimmerman, M.A., Caldwell, C.H. (2007). Sexual risk behavior in adolescence and young adulthood. American Journal of Public Health, 97(6), 1096-1101.
Ostaszewski, K. Zimmerman, M.A. (2006). The effects of cumulative risks and promotive factors on urban adolescent alcohol and other drug use: A longitudinal study of resiliency. American Journal of Community Psychology., 38(3), 237-249.
Fergus, S., Zimmerman, M.A. (2005). Adolescent resilience: A framework for understanding healthy development in the face of risk. Annual Review of Public Health , 26, 399-419.
American Public Health Association
Society for Community Research and Action
Society for Public Health Education