Lawrence M. Berger

Position title: Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Social Sciences, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor, Social Work


Phone: (608) 263-6332

311 School of Social Work
1350 University Avenue

School of Social Work
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Curriculum vitae


I  am Associate Vice Chancellor for Research in the Social Sciences, Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the School of Social Work, and former Director of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research focuses on the ways in which sociodemographic characteristics, and public policies affect child and family wellbeing. I have engaged in studies in: (1) exploring relationships among socioeconomic factors (family structure and composition, economic resources), parentings, children’s development and wellbeing; (2) assessing the impacts of public policies on parental behaviors, and child and family wellbeing. To address these topics, I utilize a variety of advanced statistical techniques to analyze data from a range of large-scale datasets. My work aims to inform public policy in order to improve its capacity to assist families in accessing resources, improving family functioning and child wellbeing. My research is most closely related to CDE’s research areas of Fertility, Families and Households and the Demography of Inequality, and I serve on the CDE Executive Committee.

CDE research theme area affiliations

Demography of Inequality; Fertility, Families, and Households

Selected Publications

Palta, Mari , Stephanie A.  Robert, Lawrence Berger, Deborah Ehrenthal, and Kristen Malecki. “Associations between Food Security Status and Dietary Inflammatory Potential within Lower-Income Adults from the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Cycles 2007 to 2014.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 118, no. 6 (2018): 994-1005.

Lee, Soomi, Lauren Hale, Lawrence Berger, and Orfeu Buxton. “Maternal Perceived Work Schedule Flexibility Predicts Child Sleep Mediated by Bedtime Routines.” Journal of Child and Family Studies (2018): online first.

Berger, Lawrence, Lidia Panico, and Anne Solaz. “Maternal Repartnering: Does Father Involvement Matter? Evidence from United Kingdom.” European Journal of Population 34, no. 1 (2018): 1-31. NIHMS ID 979207.

Bergmans, Rachel, Lawrence Berger, Mari Palta, Stephanie A. Robert, Deborah B. Ehrenthal, and Kristen Malecki. “Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Maternal Depressive Symptoms: Moderation by Program Perception.” Social Science & Medicine 197 (2018): 1-8. PubMed Central ID 5763005.

Font, Sarah, Lawrence Berger, Maria Cancian, and Jennifer Noyes, Cancian. “Permanency and the Educational and Economic Attainment of Former Foster Children in Early Adulthood.” American Sociological Review 83, no. 4 (2018): 716-43.

Larson, Andrea, Lawrence Berger, David Mallinson, Eric Grodsky, and Deborah Ehrenthal. “Variable Uptake of Medicaid-Covered Prenatal Care Coordination: The Relevance of Treatment Level and Service Context.” Journal of Community Health (2018): online first.

Hunt, Tenah K.A., Kristen S. Slack, and Lawrence Berger. “Adverse Childhood Experiences and Behavioral Problems in Middle Childhood.” Child Abuse & Neglect 67 (2017): 391-402. PubMed Central ID 5436949.

Bzostek, Sharon H., and Lawrence Berger. “Family Structure Experiences and Child Socioemotional Development During the First Nine Years of Life: Examining Heterogeneity by Family Structure at Birth.” Demography 54, no. 2 (2017): 513-40. PubMed Central ID 5948107.

Berger, Lawrence, Sarah A. Font, Kristin S. Slack, and Jane Waldfogel. “Income and Child Maltreatment in Unmarried Families: Evidence from the Earned Income Tax Credit.” Review of Economics of the Household 15, no. 4 (2017): 1345-72.

Berger, Lawrence, Maria Cancian, Laura Cuesta, and Jennifer Noyes. “Families at the Intersection of the Criminal Justice and Child Protective Services Systems.” The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 665, no. 1 (2016): 171-94. PubMed Central ID 6044461.

Berger, Lawrence, and Jason N. Houle. “Parental Debt and Children’s Socioemotional Well-Being.” Pediatrics 137, no. 2 (2016). PubMed Central ID 6043894.

Berger, Lawrence, Maria Cancian, Eunhee Han, Jennifer Noyes, and Vanessa Rios-Salas. “Children’s Academic Achievement and Foster Care.” Pediatrics 135, no. 1 (2015): E109-E16. NIHMS ID 984714.

Berger, Lawrence, and Sara S. McLanahan. “Income, Relationship Quality, and Parenting: Associations with Child Development in Two-Parent Families.” Journal of Marriage and Family 77, no. 4 (2015): 996-1015. PubMed Central ID 4553416.

Berger, Lawrence, and Sarah A. Font. “The Role of the Family and Family-Centered Programs and Policies.” Future of Children 25, no. 1 (2015): 155-76. NIHMS ID 979185.

Lee, Shawna J., Andrew Grogan-Kaylor, and Lawrence Berger. “Parental Spanking of 1-Year-Old Children and Subsequent Child Protective Services Involvement.” Child Abuse & Neglect 38, no. 5 (2014): 875-83. PubMed Central ID 4406628

Maguire-Jack, Kathryn, Kristen Slack, and Lawrence Berger. “Wisconsin’s Community Response Program for Families That Have Been Reported for Child Maltreatment.” Child Welfare 92, no. 4 (2014): 95-122. NIHMS ID 24851477.