Sydney Hans, a female-presenting person, smiles towards the camera against a light-grey background.

Sydney Hans, PhD

Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor; Associated Faculty with Department of Psychology and Department of Comparative Human Development

969 E. 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

Office Location: E6, WSSC 257

Areas of Expertise
Children and Adolescents
Human Development
Intervention Programs
Mental Health
Substance Abuse

Professor Sydney Hans's research seeks to understand how biological and social factors interact in contributing to risk and resilience in human development. She studies how experiences in early life, particularly the relationship between mother and infant, influence development at later ages. She has conducted studies focusing on the development of young children whose parents use illicit substances, suffer from major mental disorders, have experienced traumatic events, and/or live in conditions of extreme poverty. In much of her work she studies children and families through use of research methods involving recording of family interactions.

Professor Hans is particularly interested in using research to develop interventions and public policy that will benefit infants, young children, and their families. She currently is engaged in evaluating infant and early childhood home visiting programs in which community doulas provide childbirth education and support to adolescent mothers. In those studies they are examining the impacts of the intervention on health behaviors (such as breastfeeding and safe sleeping practices), children's behavioral development, and parent-child relationships. Professor Hans' research has been supported by a variety of private foundations and public agencies, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). 

Professors Yoonsun Choi and Waldo E. Johnson, Jr. are inducted as 2023 fellows by the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW)
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See all news articles about Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor; Associated Faculty with Department of Psychology and Department of Comparative Human Development Sydney Hans
  • Nora Y. Medina, Renee C. Edwards, Yudong Zhang & Sydney L. Hans (2022) A longitudinal investigation of young mothers’ prenatal attachment, depressive symptoms, and early parenting behaviour, Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 40:2, 196-211, DOI: 10.1080/02646838.2021.1886257
  • Hans SL, Cox SM, Medina NY. African American Adolescent Mothers' Childbirth Support From Fathers, Grandmothers, Nurses, Doctors, and Doulas. The Journal of Perinatal Education. 2022. DOI: 10.1891/j-pe-d-20-00045. PMID: 35165501.
  • Edwards, R. C.,  Herriott, A. L.,  Finger, B., &  Hans, S. L. (2021).  Associations between parenting representations and behavior among young mothers and mothers with opioid use disorder. Infant Ment Health J,  42,  796– 811.
  • Cox, S. M., Lashley, C. O., Henson, L. G., Medina, N. Y., & Hans, S. L. (2021). Making meaning of motherhood: Self and life transitions among African American adolescent mothers. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 91(1), 120–131.
  • Yazejian, N., Bryant, D. M., Kuhn, L. J., Burchinal, M., Horm, D., Hans, S., File, N., & Jackson, B. (2020). The EDUCARE intervention: Outcomes at age 3. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Retrieved August 10, 2022, from 
  • Yudong Zhang, Renee C. Edwards & Sydney L. Hans (2020) Parenting Profiles of Young Low-income African American and Latina Mothers and Infant Socioemotional Development, Parenting, 20:1, 28-52, DOI: 10.1080/15295192.2019.1642088
  • Lee, H.Y., Edwards, R.C. & Hans, S.L. (2020). Young First-Time Mothers’ Parenting of Infants: The Role of Depression and Social Support. Matern Child Health J 24, 575–586.
  • Gilkerson, L,  Burkhardt, T,  Katch, LE,  Hans, SL. (2020). Increasing parenting self-efficacy: The Fussy Baby Network® intervention. Infant Ment Health J.; 41: 232– 245.
  • Edwards, R. C., Vieyra, Y., & Hans, S. L. (2019). Maternal support for infant learning: Findings from a randomized controlled trial of Doula Home Visiting Services for Young mothers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, from 
  • Hans, S. L., & White, B. A.  (2019).  Teenage childbearing, reproductive justice, and infant mental health.  Infant Mental Health Journal, 40, 690-709.
  • Hans, Sydney L., & White, Barbara A., 2019. Teenage childbearing, reproductive justice, and infant mental health.  Infant Mental Health Journal, 40, 690-709. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Renee C. Edwards & Yudong Zhang, 2018. "Randomized Controlled Trial of Doula-Home-Visiting Services: Impact on Maternal and Infant Health" Maternal Child Health Journal
  • Finger, Brent, Allison Jobin, Victor J. Bernstein and Sydney Hans. 2017.  "Parenting contributors to emerging problem behavior in children of mothers in methadone maintenance treatment." Infant and Child Development.
  • Yazejian, Noreen. Donna M. Bryant, Sydney Hans, Diane Horm, Lisa St. Clair, Nancy File, and Margaret Burchinal. 2017.  "Child and parenting outcomes after one year of Educare." Child Development 88(2). 
  • Wen, Xiaoli, Jon Korfmacher, and Sydney L. Hans. 2016. "Change over time in young mothers' engagement with a community-based doula home visiting program." Children and Youth Services Review 69: 116-126. 
  • Edwards, Renee C., and Sydney L. Hans. 2016. "Prenatal depressive symptoms and toddler behavior problems: The role of maternal sensitivity and child sex." Child Psychiatry and Human Development 47(5): 696-707.
  • Lee, Helen Y. and Sydney L. Hans. 2015. "Prenatal depression and young low-income mothers' perception of their children from pregnancy through early childhood." Infant Behavior and Development 40: 183-192.
  • Bellamy, Jennifer L., Matthew Thullen, and Sydney Hans. 2015. "The effect of low-income unmarried fathers’ presence at birth on involvement." Journal of Marriage and the Family 77(3): 647-661.
  • Edwards, Renee C., and Sydney L. Hans. 2015. "Infant risk factors associated with internalizing, externalizing, and co-occurring behavior problems in young children." Developmental Psychology 51(4): 489-499.
  • Edwards, Renee C., Matthew Thullen, Linda G. Henson, Helen Lee, and Sydney L. Hans. 2015. "The association of breastfeeding initiation with sensitivity, cognitive stimulation, and efficacy among young mothers: A propensity score matching approach." Breastfeeding Medicine 10(1): 13-19.
  • Thullen, Matthew J., Stephen E. McMillin, Jon Korfmacher, Marisha L. Humphries, Jennifer Bellamy, and Sydney Hans. 2014. "Father participation in a community-doula home-visiting intervention with young, African-American mothers." Infant Mental Health Journal 35: 422-434.
  • Edwards, Renee C., Matthew J. Thullen, Jon Korfmacher, John D. Lantos, Linda G. Henson, and Sydney L. Hans. 2013. "Breastfeeding and complementary food: Randomized trial of community doula home visiting." Pediatrics 132: S160-66.
  • Hans, Sydney L., Matthew Thullen, Linda G. Henson, Helen Lee, Renee C. Edwards, and Victor J. Bernstein. 2013. "Promoting positive mother-infant relationships: A randomized trial of community doula support for young mothers." Infant Mental Health Journal 34(5): 446-57.
  • Edwards, Renee C., Matthew J. Thullen, Nucha Isarowong, Cheng-Shi Shiu, Linda Henson, and Sydney L. Hans. 2012. "Supportive relationships and the trajectory of depressive symptoms among young African American mothers." Journal of Family Psychology 26(4): 585-94.
  • Shimpi, Priya M., Alicia Fedewa, and Sydney Hans. 2012. "Social and linguistic input in low-income African American mother-child dyads from one month through two years: Relations to vocabulary development." Applied Psycholinguistics 33(4): 781-98.
  • Thullen, Matthew, Julia Henly, and Sydney Hans. 2012. "Domain-specific trajectories of involvement among fathers of children born to young, low-income, African-American mothers." Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research 3(3): 129-44.
  • Haight, Wendy, Jane Marshall, Sydney Hans, James Black, and Kathryn Sheridan. 2010. "'They mess with me, I mess with them': Understanding physical aggression in rural girls and boys from methamphetamine-involved families." Children and Youth Services Review 32(10): 1223-34.
  • Wen, Xiaoli, Jon Korfmacher, Sydney L. Hans, and Linda G. Henson. 2010. "Young mothers’ involvement in a prenatal and postpartum support program." Journal of Community Psychology 38(2): 172-90.
  • Auerbach, Judith G., L. Erlenmeyer-Kimling, Barbara Fish, Sydney L. Hans, Loring J. Ingraham, Joseph Marcus, Thomas F. McNeil, and Erland Schubert. 2009. "Genetic risks in schizophrenia: Cross-national prospective longitudinal high risk studies." In Handbook of Behavior Genetics, edited by Yong-Kyu Kim, 487-500. New York: Springer.
  • Finger, Brent, Sydney L. Hans, Victor J. Bernstein, and Suzanne M. Cox. 2009. "Parent relationship quality and infant-mother attachment." Attachment and Human Development 11(3): 285-306.
  • Hans, Sydney L., Judith G. Auerbach, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Robert F. Asarnow, Joan Asarnow, Baruch Styr, and Joseph Marcus. 2009. "Neurodevelopmental factors associated with schizotypal symptoms among adolescents at risk for schizophrenia." Development and Psychopathology 21(4): 1195-210.
  • Hans, Sydney L., and Matthew J. Thullen. 2009. "The relational context of adolescent motherhood." In Handbook of Infant Mental Health, 3rd ed., edited by Charles H. Zeanah, 214-29. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Lashley, Cynthia O., Sydney L. Hans, and Linda G. Henson. 2009. "Young African American mothers’ changing perceptions of their infants during the transition to parenthood." Infant Mental Health Journal 30(5): 277-500.
  • Melnick, Sharon, Brent Finger, Sydney Hans, Matthew Patrick, and Karlen Lyons-Ruth. 2008. "Hostile-helpless states of mind in the AAI: A proposed additional AAI category with implications for identifying disorganized attachment in high-risk samples." In Clinical Applications of the Adult Attachment Interview, edited by Howard Steele and Miriam Steele, 399-423. New York: Guilford.
  • Dukic, Vanja M., Marina Niessner, Neal Benowitz, Sydney Hans, and Lauren Wakschlag. 2007. "Modeling the relationship of cotinine and self-reported measures of maternal smoking during pregnancy: A deterministic approach." Nicotine and Tobacco Research 9(4): 453-65.
  • Hans, Sydney L. 2007. Review of Developmental Origins of Aggression, Richard E. Tremblay, William W. Hartup, and John Archer, eds. Social Service Review 81(1): 178-80.
  • Sokolowski, Margaret S., Sydney L. Hans, Victor J. Bernstein, and Suzanne M. Cox. 2007. "Mothers’ representations of their infants and parenting behavior: Associations with personal and social-contextual variables in a high-risk sample." Infant Mental Health Journal 28(3): 344-65.
  • Hans, Sydney L. 2006. "Mothering and depression." In Women’s Mental Health, edited by Sar­ah E. Romans and Mary V. Seeman, 311-20. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
  • Bernstein, Victor J., Elizabeth J. Harris, Claudia WeLaLa Long, Elizabeth Iida, and Syd­ney L. Hans. 2005. "Issues in the multicultural assessment of parent-child interac­tion: An exploratory study from the starting early, starting smart collaboration." Jour­nal of Applied Developmental Psychology 26: 241-275. 
  • Erlenmeyer-Kimling, L., Sydney Hans, Loring Ingraham, Joseph Marcus, Lyman Wynne, Asiyah Rehman, Simone A. Roberts, and Judy Auerbach. 2005. "Handedness in children of schizophrenic parents: Data from three high-risk studies." Behavior Genetics 35(3): 351-385. 
  • Goodman, Geoff, Sydney L.Hans, and Victor J. Bernstein. 2005. "Mother expectation of bother and infant attachment behaviors as predictors of mother and child commu­nication at 24 months in children of methadone-maintained women." Infant Mental Health Journal 26: 549-569. 
  • Hans, Sydney L. 2005. Review of Adult attachment: Theory, research, and clinical im­plications, ed. W. Steven Rholes and Jeffry A. Simpson. Social Service Review 79(3): 566-568. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Judith G. Auerbach, Aaron G. Auerbach, and Joseph Marcus. 2005. "Development from birth to adolescence of children at risk for schizophrenia." Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology 15: 384-394. 
  • Hans, Sydney L. 2004. "When mothers abuse drugs." In Parental psychiatric disorder: Distressed parents and their families, 2nd edition, edited by Michael J. Göpfert and Mary V. Seeman, 203-216. Cambridge: Camridge University Press. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Judith G. Auerbach, Benedict Styr, and Joseph Marcus. 2004. "Off­spring of schizophrenic parents: Mental disorders during childhood and adoles­cence." Schizophrenia Bulletin 30: 303-315. 
  • Behnke, Erin F., and Sydney L. Hans. 2002. Becoming a doula. Zero to Three 23: 9-13. Hans, Sydney L. 2002. "Studies of prenatal exposure to drugs: focusing on parental care of children." Neurotoxicology and Teratology 24: 329-337. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Victor J. Bernstein, and Linda G. Henson. 2002. "Children born to drug-using mothers: A longitudinal perspective on maternal care and child adjust­ment." In Assessing youth behavior: Using the Child Behavior Checklist in family and children’s services, edited by Nicole S. Le Prohn, Kathleen M. Wetherbee, Elena R. Lamont, Thomas M. Achenbach, and Peter J. Pecora, 107-120. Washington, DC: Child Wel­fare League of America. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., and Jon Korfmacher. 2002. The professional development of para­professionals. Zero to Three 23: 4-8. 
  • Wakschlag, Lauren S., and Sydney L. Hans. 2002. "Maternal smoking during pregnancy and conduct problems in high-risk youth: A developmental framework." Develop­ment and Psychopathology 14: 351-369. 
  • Hans, S. L., and Jeremy, Rita Jeruchimowicz. 2001. "Post-neonatal mental and motor development of infants exposed in utero to opioid drugs." Infant Mental Health Jour­nal 22: 300-315. 
  • Cox, Suzanne M., Hopkins, Joyce, and Hans, Sydney L. 2000. "Attachment in preterm infants and their mothers: Neonatal risk status and maternal representations." Infant Mental Health Journal 21: 464-480. 
  • Hans, Sydney L. 2000. "Parenting and parent-child relationships in families affected by substance abuse." In Children of addiction, edited by Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Barry M. Lester, and Robert Zucker, 45-68. New York: RoutledgeFalmer. 
  • Hans, Sydney L. 2000. Review of Success in early intervention: The Chicago child-parent centers, by Arthur J. Reynolds. American Journal of Education 109(1): 153-155. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Judith G. Auerbach, Joan R. Asarnow, Baruch Styr, and Joseph Mar­cus. 2000. "Social adjustment of adolescents at risk for schizophrenia: The Jerusalem Infant Development Study." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 39: 1406-1414. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Victor J. Bernstein, and Belinda Sims. 2000. "Change and continuity in ambivalent attachment relationships from infancy through adolescence." In The organization of attachment relationships: Maturation, culture, and context, edited by Patricia M. Crittenden, 277-299. New York: Cambridge University Press. 
  • Goodman, Geoff, Sydney L. Hans, Suzanne M. Cox. 1999. "Attachment behavior and its antecedents in offspring born to methadone-maintained women." Journal of Clin­ical Child Psychology 28: 58-69. 
  • Hans, Sydney L. 1999. "Demographic and psychosocial characteristics of substance abusing pregnant women." Clinics in Perinatology 26: 55-74. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Victor J. Bernstein, and Linda G.Henson.1999. "The role of psychopa­thology in the parenting of drug dependent women." Development and Psychopathol­ogy 11: 957-977. 
  • Hans, Sydney L., Joseph Marcus, Keith H. Nuechterlein, Robert F. Asarnow, Baruch Styr, and Judith G. Auerbach. 1999. "Neurobehavioral deficits at adolescence in chil­dren at risk for schizophrenia: The Jerusalem Infant Development Study." Archives of General Psychiatry 56: 741-748. 
  • Wakschlag, Lauren S., and Sydney L. Hans. 1999. "Relation of maternal responsiveness during infancy to the development of behavior problems in high-risk youths." Devel­opmental Psychology 35: 569-579. 
  • Hans, Sydney L. 1998. "Developmental outcomes of prenatal exposure to alcohol and other drugs." In Principles of addiction medicine, 2nd edition, edited by Allan W. Graham and Terry K. Schultz, 1223-1237. Chevy Chase, MD: American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Sydney Hans is the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice.

Professor Hans teaches Human Behavior in the Social Environment, the introductory course in the family support program, and a doctoral courses in life course development theory. She currently serves as Deputy Dean for Research and Faculty Development.

Professor Hans graduated with a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Social Relations from Harvard University. Prior to coming to Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, she was on the faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago.  She currently is also an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Comparative Human Development.