Albert Farrell, Ph.D.


Commonwealth Professor
Clinical Psychology
810 W Franklin, rm 201
(804) 828-8796

Professor (tenured)
Clinical Psychology
Director, VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Virginia
PhD (1980), Purdue University

APA Fellow (Divisions 5, 12, & 53)
Diplomate and Charter Member, American Board of Assessment Psychology

Research Interests

My research focuses on (a) the development of problem behaviors during adolescence, particularly aggression and bullying; (b) the impact of exposure to community violence and peer victimization on adolescents’ development; and (c) the identification of protective factors that promote the positive development of youth in high risk environments (e.g., those living in communities with high rates of poverty and violence). Since 1992, I have been involved in a collaborative effort with community agencies to develop effective evidence-based violence prevention programs for early adolescents. These interests have led to a series of qualitative and quantitative studies designed to identify factors that promote urban adolescents' use of effective nonviolent responses to problem situations. My work has been interdisciplinary and has been funded by grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and National Institute of Justice. In 2005 I founded the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development – one of six National Centers of Excellence for Youth Violence Prevention funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I have strong interests in research methodology and the application of statistical methods, particularly as they apply to longitudinal research and prevention science. I am committed to training graduate students to become clinical researchers. My graduate students are typically funded through research assistantships and work on research projects within the VCU Clark-Hill Institute. Many of my students complete research projects using one of the many large, longitudinal datasets collected through projects completed by the Institute.

Select Publications

Farrell, A. D., Sullivan, T. N., Esposito, L. E., Meyer, A. L., & Valois, R. (2005). A latent growth curve analysis of the structure of aggression, drug use, and delinquent behaviors and their interrelations over time in urban and rural adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 15, 179-204.
Farrell, A. D., Mays, S, Bettencourt, A., Erwin, E. H., Vulin-Reynolds, M., & Allison, K. W. (2010). Environmental influences on fighting versus nonviolent behavior in peer situations: A qualitative study with urban African American Adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 46, 19-35.
Farrell, A. D., Henry, D. B., Mays, S. A., & Schoeny, M. E. (2011). Parents as moderators of the impact of school norms and peer influences on aggression in middle school students. Child Development, 82, 146-161.
Farrell, A. D., Mehari, K. R., Kramer, A., & Goncy, E. A. (2014). The impact of victimization and witnessing violence among high risk adolescents. Child Development, 85, 1694-1710.
Farrell, A. D., Mehari, K. R., Kramer-Kuhn, A. M., Mays, S., & Sullivan, T. N. (2015). A qualitative analysis of factors influencing middle school students’ use of skills taught by a violence prevention curriculum. Journal of School Psychology, 53, 179-194.

Recent Courses

  • Research Methods in Clinical Psychology, graduate level

Recent Grants

Co-Investigator (PI: W. Kliewer), "School-based Expressive Intervention Trials for Youth Exposed to Violence." National Institute on Mental Health. September, 2008 - April, 2011, $2,874,664.

Co-Investigator (PI: T. Sullivan), "Promoting social, emotional, and behavioral competence in adolescents with disabilities: A school-wide inclusive violence prevention model." Institute of Educational Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. March, 2010 - March, 2014, $1,500,000.

Principal Investigator, "VCU ACE: Evaluation of a comprehensive approach to youth violence prevention." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September, 2010 - September, 2015, $6,500,000.

Co-Investigator (PI: Corona). “Can parents help prevent youth tobacco use? An evaluation of two evidence-based parenting programs.” Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. July 2012 – June, 2015, $449,973.

Primary Research Mentor (PI: Goncy). “Teen dating violence victimization in an urban sample of early adolescents: Measurement, prevalence, trajectories, and consequences” (postdoc training grant). National Institute of Justice, January 2013 – December, 2015, $297,297.

Co-Investigator (PI: Langberg). "Efficacy of an organizational skills intervention for middle school students with ADHD.” Institute of Educational Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. August, 2013- July, 2017, $2,414,164.

Co-Investigator (PI: T. Sullivan), "Evaluation of the effectiveness and sustainability of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program in increasing school safety for urban low-income middle schools." National Institute of Justice. January 2015 – December, 2018, $2,660,933.


  • Best Article of the Year Award, American Psychological Association, Division 53 (1999)
  • Distinguished Scholar Award, College of Humanities and Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University (2003)
  • Nan Tobler Award for Review of the Prevention Science Literature from the Society for Prevention Research (2012)
  • University Award of Excellence, Virginia Commonwealth University (2013)
  • Currents of Change Award for Outstanding University-Community Partnerships, VCU Council for Community Engagement, awarded to Clark Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development (2014)
  • Outstanding Faculty Award, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (2015)