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Todd Jensen

Research Associate
Research Assistant Professor

Todd Jensen, Ph.D.


Tate-Turner-Kuralt Building

Room 563-G

325 Pittsboro Street

Campus Box 3550

Chapel Hill, NC 27599

O: 919-962-6543

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Todd Jensen is a research associate in the Jordan Institute for Families and a research assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Jensen is committed to promoting family resilience and youth well-being, and transforming the systems that best support them. He has studied extensively the experiences of families who face shifts in structure, particularly when parental figures exit or enter a household. As a doctoral student, this work was supported by two awards — a Chancellor’s Fellowship from the Royster Society of Fellows and a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. His research on stepfamilies has also been featured by the New York Times and Child Trends.

Jensen currently serves as co-principal investigator on a federally funded, nationwide project aimed at supporting the U.S. Air Force Family Advocacy Program and their efforts to prevent family maltreatment among active duty members. Dr. Jensen serves as an investigator on two additional projects. One is a multi-year grant to support the development, implementation, and evaluation of the Get Ready Guilford Initiative, a large-scale community effort focused on promoting the healthy development and school readiness of children in Guilford County, North Carolina. The other is a multi-year contract to evaluate the Building Bridges Initiative, a state-wide effort in North Carolina to promote family engagement in youth psychiatric residential treatment facilities. Dr. Jensen seeks to bolster prospective social workers’ capacity for evidence-based practice, and optimize their efforts to support families and youth in the community, by teaching graduate courses on human development, research methods, and statistics.

Degrees and Licenses

PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MSW, Brigham Young University
BS, Brigham Young University

Primary Program

Jordan Institute for Families


Safe Zone
Safe Haven

Research and Professional Interests

Youth Development and Well-Being
Family Stress and Resilience
Stepfamily Relationships
Military Families
Quantitative Methods

Principal Investigator

Family Maltreatment Prevention in the United States Air Force


Evaluation of the Get Ready Guilford Initiative
Evaluation of the Building Bridges Initiative

Other Projects

Summer Institute on Implementation Science, Planning Committee Member

Recent Publications

Jensen, T. (2019). Stepfamily processes and youth adjustment: The role of perceived neighborhood collective efficacy. Journal of Research on Adolescence. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/jora.12498

Jensen, T., & Bowen, G. (2018). The prevention of family maltreatment among airmen: A focus on personal resilience. Journal of Family Social Work, 21(2), 129-151.

Jensen, T., & Lippold, M. (2018). Patterns of stepfamily relationship quality and adolescents’ short-term and long-term adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(8), 1130-1141.

Jensen, T. (2017). Constellations of dyadic relationship quality in stepfamilies: A factor mixture model. Journal of Family Psychology, 31(8), 1051-1062.

Jensen, T., & Harris, K. (2017). A longitudinal analysis of stepfamily relationship quality and adolescent physical health. Journal of Adolescent Health, 61(4), 486-492.

Presentations, Workshops and Media

Prevention Science in Action: Platform for New Directions in the Air Force Family Advocacy Program to Prevent Family Maltreatment

Stepfamilies and Kids, Child Trends News Service Video

When Less Really Is More: Putting Data Visualization Best Practices to Work

Developing Comprehensive Examinations to Measure Student Social Work Competencies

Secondary Prevention of Family Maltreatment in the U.S. Air Force: Implications of Research and Evidence-Based Practice


SOWO 810

Evaluation of Social Work Interventions



SOWO 500

Human Development in Context I: Infancy to Adolescence