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Fernanda L. Cross

Assistant Professor of Social Work

Fernanda L. Cross

Cross received her MSW from the School of Social Work and a PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of Michigan. Her research program utilizes a strength-based approach to examining family and cultural factors that promote healthy development and mitigate the risk of poor psychological and/or educational outcomes for Latinx adolescents and families. She is particularly interested in examining the role undocumented status plays in family processes and adolescents’ outcomes, as well as the protective effects of ethnic-racial socialization and identity development. To inform her research, Cross utilizes qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methodologies, and she draws on not only her personal experience as a Latinx immigrant but also her dozen years of involvement in the Latinx immigrant community of southeast Michigan as both an advocate and a Portuguese/Spanish interpreter.

Research Interests/Focus

Latinx mixed-status families, undocumented immigrants, ethnic-racial socialization, discrimination experiences, adolescent mental health and academic outcomes


Year Degree   School
2019 PhD Developmental Psychology University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
2010 MSW Interpersonal Practice/Children & Youth University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Cross, F. L. & Gonzalez Benson, O. (2021). The Coronavirus pandemic and immigrant communities: A crisis that demands more of the social work profession. Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work.

Montoro, J., Miller, S., Cross, F. L., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2021). Parent-adolescent dissimilarity in ethnic-racial identity exploration: Implications for adolescent family cohesion and depressive symptom.

Cross, F. L., Medina, A., Montoro, J., Medina, M., Pinetta, B., Miller, S., Tran, M., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2020). Illuminating ethnic-racial socialization among undocumented Latinx parents and its implications for adolescent psychosocial functioning. Developmental Psychology, 56(8), 1458-1474.

Pinetta, B., Martinez, S. B., Cross, F. L., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2020). Inherently political? Associations of parent ethnic-racial socialization and sociopolitical discussions with Latinx youth's emergent civic engagement. American Journal of Community Psychology, 66(1-2), 94-105.

Cross, F. L., Marchand, A., Medina, M., Villafuerte, A., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2019). Academic socialization, parental educational expectations, and academic self-efficacy among Latino adolescents. Psychology in the Schools, 56, 483-496.

Cross, F. L., Rivas-Drake, D., Rowley, S., Mendez, E., Ledón, C., Waller, A., & Kruger, D. (2019). Documentation status concern as a predictor of Latino parent school involvement. Translational Issues in Psychological Science, 5(1), 29-41.

Constante, K., Cross, F. L., Medina, M., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2019). Ethnic socialization, family cohesion, and ethnic identity development over time among Latinx adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Cross, F. L., Hoffman, A., Constante, K., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2018). Ethnic-racial identity content and the development of depressive symptoms among Latino adolescents. Development and Psychopathology, 30(5), 1557-1569.

Constante, K., Marchand, A., Cross, F. L., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2018). Understanding the promotive role of familism in the link between ethnic-racial identity and Latino youth school engagement. Journal of Latina/o Psychology.

Camacho, T. C., Bañales, J., Cross, F. L., Marchand, A., & Rivas-Drake, D. (2016). Psychological aspects of ethnic/racial identity and their associations with social behavior. Social Issues in Living Color: Challenges and Solutions from the Perspective of Ethnic Minority Psychology. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger Books.

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