Jay Belsky is the Robert M. and Natalie Reid Dorn Professor of Human Development at the University of California, Davis (2011-present). Professor Belsky obtained his Ph.D. in 1978 in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University. For 21 years thereafter he served on the faculty at Penn State University, rising to the rank of Distinguished Professor of Human Development. From 1999-2010, Professor Belsky served as founding Director of the Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues and Professor of Psychology at Birkbeck University of London. In 1983 he won the Boyd McCandless Award for Distinguished Early Contribution from the Developmental Psychology division of the American Psychological Association. In 1988 and in 1992 Penn State University awarded him, respectively, the Outstanding Research Achievement Award and the Faculty Scholar Medal for Outstanding Achievement in the Social and Behavioral Sciences. In 2002 the Institute of Scientific Information, Philadelphia, PA granted Professor Belsky the Highly-Cited-Researcher designation. In 2007 he was awarded the American Psychological Association’s Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society. In 2010 he was made a member of the Academy of Europe. He was named among the 200 Eminent Psychologists of the Modern Era in 2014 (Archives of Scientific Psychology). In 2015 he received the Bowlby-Ainsworth Award for Contributions to Attachment Theory and Research from the New York Attachment Consortium. Also in 2015 he was listed among the top 100 “Greatest Living Behavioral and Brain Scientists” based on citation analysis.
Professor Belsky is an internationally recognized expert in the field of child development and family studies. His areas of special expertise include the effects of day care, parent-child relations during the infancy and early childhood years, the transition to parenthood, the etiology of child maltreatment and the evolutionary basis of parent and child functioning. He was a founding and collaborating investigator on the NICHD Study of Child Care and Youth Development (US) and Research Director of The National Evaluation of Sure Start (UK). He is the author of more than 450 scientific articles and chapters and the author/editor of several books.
Dr. Belsky’s research is marked by a focus upon fathers as well as mothers, marriages as well as parent-child relations, and naturalistic home observations of family interaction patterns. It is both basic and applied in its character. Dr. Belsky’s work has been funded, in the U.S., by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the March of Dimes Foundation and the Sara Scaife Family Foundation. In the U.K., he received funding from The Welcome Trust and Department for Education and Skills. He served as a consultant to Vice President Gore on the issue of work and families, attending the White House Conference on Child Care. In the UK he served as consultant on matters of child care and early child development to the Office of the Prime Minister, the Treasury, the Department for Education and Skills/Children, Families and Schools and the committee of the House of Commons overseeing this department.