Alvin Thomas, Ph.D.

Spssi Alvin Thomas Headshot 2


Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues


Alvin Thomas, Ph.D.

University of Wisconsin–Madison

"Researcher Studies Black Fatherhood and Mental Health to Improve Youth Developmental Outcomes"

Dr. Alvin Thomas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he explores positive youth development and father involvement especially among Black families. Dr. Thomas earned his BA from Morehouse College and his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He runs the Thomas Resilient Youth Lab (TRYlab), which engages child and community mental health research to understand the factors that hinder or contribute to positive outcomes in youth, particularly those exposed to greater risks in their day-to-day environments. The lab also explores father-child relationships as an under-examined resource in the lives of families and youth.

As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Thomas focuses on the risk and protective factors for boys situated in conditions that imperil them toward negative outcomes. His work exists at the intersection of positive child and youth development and father involvement. More broadly, he also researches ethnic identity, father-son engagement and relationships, and mental health in men and boys. Dr. Thomas focuses on risks and protections for Black children and youth, especially boys, and explore outcomes including violence, grades, and well-being. Dr. Thomas is interested in influencing fatherhood policy to highlight the efficacy of father involvement for Black and underrepresented families and for fathers across other contexts. Currently, he is exploring gaps in diversity training specifically related to father (non-resident) involvement in service provision to their children, as well as aggressive behavior, social media use, and police interactions for Black youth.