Newswise — Valentine’s Day brings proposals, extended families and high expectations.

It can also be a time to confront difficult or unhealthy relationships. 

University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) faculty are available for interviews on discussing relationship dynamics in the following areas:


Healthy Bonds between Black Fathers-in-Law and Sons-in-Law

Assistant Professor Ericka M. Lewis, PhD, MSW, with Professor Michael E. Woolley, PhD, MSW, and Baylor University Assistant Professor Brianna P. Lemmons, PhD, MSW, published findings of a qualitative study in Psychology of Men & Masculinities about what it means to be a good Black father-in-law or son-in-law. The qualitative study interviewed Black married men ranging from ages 29 to 52, with participants being married for as few as four years to up to 17 years. It is a subset of a larger study of 1,200 mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law, fathers-in-law, and sons-in-law completed by Woolley and UMSSW Professor Geoffrey Greif, PhD, MSW. 

Read more here.


Interracial Marriage

Professors Geoffrey Greif and Michael Wooley and former clinical professor Victoria Stubbs published Clinical Suggestions for Family Therapists Based on Interviews with White Women Married to Black Men in Contemporary Family Therapy.

With the number of interracial marriages rising, family therapists need to know what issues these married couples and their families face. The authors analyzed qualitative interviews with 11 White women married to Black men, who were part of a larger study on interracial couples. The authors identified four themes that were relevant to the participants’ experiences and could guide therapy with the family. These were: (1) racial perspective taking; (2) communication patterns; (3) microaggressions; and (4) raising children. Three sub-themes were also identified that were tied to racial perspective taking. These were: (a) White privilege; (b) safety; and (c) social justice. Clinical suggestions for family therapists working with these couples are provided.

Read more here.


Couples and their Couple Friendships and In-law relationships

Professor Geoffrey L. Greif has authored Buddy System: Understanding male friendships, Two Plus Two: Couples and their couple friendships (with Dr. Kathleen Holtz Deal) and Adult Sibling Relationships, written with Michael Woolley (2016). A new book, In-law relationships: Mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons was published in 2021.

Listen here or read more here.


Adolescent Risk Behaviors

Nadine Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS, research associate professor and director of the Prevention of Adolescent Risks Initiative, can talk about sexual reproductive health, aggression and violence of adolescents. She is the Principal Investigator of research projects at both the state and federal levels designed to intervene with system involved youth – those in foster care or the juvenile justice system. These youth have a double vulnerability – adolescence, a critical stage marked by increased risk for negative social and behavioral outcomes including aggression and sexual risk behaviors; and, being removed from their families of origin. Finigan-Carr is also an expert on child sex trafficking.


About the University of Maryland School of Social Work
The University of Maryland School of Social Work, founded in 1961, is highly ranked and respected. Its mission is to develop practitioners, leaders, and scholars to advance the well-being of populations and communities and to promote social justice. As national leaders, they create and use knowledge for education, service innovation, and policy development.