Dr. Lixia Zhang

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Assistant Professor

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Dr. Lixia Zhang is an Assistant Professor at the Raymond A. Kent School of Social Work and Family Science at the University of Louisville. The overarching goal of Dr. Zhang’s research is to examine the impact of adverse family environment on individuals’ health and well-being. She currently has two research lines under this goal. The first line of research concerns family social factors, especially adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that undermine health and development across the life course. Dr. Zhang has completed many studies on ACEs and trauma recently, which all have been published in rigorous academic journals, like Child Abuse & Neglect and Child Maltreatment.

Dr. Zhang's second research line aims to explore the relationships between adverse family physical environment and family members’ functioning and well-being. For instance, she utilized the national longitudinal data of Fragile Family and Child Wellbeing Study, to evaluate the associations between family physical environment and maternal child maltreatment behaviors, while controlling for a series of demographic and family social factors that could serve as confounders (Zhang & Topitzes, 2022). This critical research suggests that adverse family physical environment significantly predicts certain forms of child maltreatment, namely child neglect. The study also contributes to a more complete picture of child maltreatment.

Dr. Zhang is also interested in prevention and intervention strategies to reduce adverse family conditions and avert childhood trauma, especially among disadvantaged children and families. She has been involved in a variety of international, national and state projects to achieve this goal.

Aside from her scientific research, Dr. Zhang is extremely devoted to students’ learning experience and success. She is a strong advocate of inclusive teaching for equitable learning. She welcomes students of all levels and backgrounds to talk with her and work with her.

One fun fact about Dr. Zhang:  She has been practicing minimalism and mindfulness for over 15 years.