Valarie King

Valarie King

Professor of Sociology, Demography, and Human Development & Family Studies

Associate Head, Department of Sociology and Criminology

415 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 863-8716

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1993


Research and Teaching Interests

My research focuses broadly on intergenerational relationships across the life course and their implications for the health, well-being, and development of family members. Ongoing projects include examining the factors that promote the development of strong ties between children and their stepfathers, understanding the ways in which stepfathers can promote children’s well-being, and understanding how the transition to stepfamily living affects mother-child relationships. I enjoy collaborating with graduate students on research projects and have published extensively with them. I teach courses on family sociology, family policy, and the sociology of aging.

Selected Recent Publications with Current and Former Graduate Students

King, V., Boyd, L.M., & Thorsen, M.L. (2015). Adolescents’ Perceptions of Family Belonging in Stepfamilies. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77, 761-774. PMCID: PMC4495965

Thorsen, M.L., & King, V. (2016). My Mother’s Husband: Factors Associated with How Adolescents Label their Stepfathers. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33, 835-851. PMCID: PMC5006938

King, V., & Lindstrom. R. (2016). Continuity and Change in Stepfather-Stepchild Closeness Between Adolescence and Early Adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family, 78, 730-743. PMCID: PMC4852548

King, V., & Boyd. L.M. (2016). Factors Associated with Perceptions of Family Belonging among Adolescents. Journal of Marriage and Family, 78, 1114-1130. PMCID: PMC5054750

King, V., Boyd, L.M., & Pragg, B. (2018). Parent-Adolescent Closeness, Family Belonging, and Adolescent Well-Being Across Family Structures. Journal of Family Issues, 39, 2007-2036. PMCID: PMC5966042

King, V., Lindstrom, R., & Washington, C. (2019). Patterns of Shared Religious Attendance and Positive Stepfamily Functioning. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 29, 357-368. NIHMS963852

King, V., Pragg, B., & Lindstrom, R. (in press). Family Relationships during Adolescence and Stepchildren's Educational Attainment in Young Adulthood. Journal of Marriage and Family.

Research Interests:

Father-child relationships, grandparent-grandchild relationships, child well-being, religion and family behavior

Research Interests:

Family and Relationships:

Father-child relationships, grandparent-grandchild relationships, child well-being, religion and family behavior


Inter-generational relations, family demography, life course and aging