Senior Research Program Leader
As a social demographer and family sociologist, Barber’s work is at the intersection of family sociology, demography, and social psychology, focusing on young pregnancy, intimate relationships, reproductive control, and intimate partner violence. She focuses on the motivational pathways linking desires, intentions, and behaviors. In particular, she is interested in how young women’s immediate reproductive context – intimate relationships – shapes their desires for pregnancy and related decisions about sex and contraceptive use. From 2008-2014, Barber directed the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) project, which was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). It included weekly surveys from 1,000 18- and 19-year-old women for 2.5 years, along with 75+ semi-structured interviews. She also has expertise in the analytic methods for intensive longitudinal data. Her primary data collection and mixed-methods analysis work has been continuously funded by NICHD for more than twenty years.
Barber has also served in elected leadership positions in the American Sociological Association, the Population Association of America, as well as at the department, institute, college, and university levels. She has served on the editorial boards or as an associate editor at multiple journals, and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of Marriage and Family and serving as a consulting editor for the American Journal of Sociology. She has participated in numerous NIH review panels, most recently as a standing member of NICHD’s Population Sciences Study Section.
Barber’s scientific expertise in reproductive well-being, as well as her leadership and management experience, clearly demonstrate her ability to co-lead the Reproductive and Sexuality Research Program at the Irsay.