Jaipaul Lalla Roopnarine

Pearl S. Falk Endowed Professor

Dr. Roopnarine is the Pearl S. Falk Professor of Human Development and Family Science. He is Professor Extraordinary of Developmental Psychology, Anton de Kom University of Suriname, Paramaribo, Suriname, and research scientist at the Family Development Centre at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. He served as a consultant to the Roving Caregiver Program, a home-based intervention program implemented in several Caribbean countries to improve early parent-child relationships and children’s cognitive and social skills, and assisted in the revision of the national early childhood curriculum for the government of Guyana. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and also an Indo-U.S.-Subcommission Professor of Psychology at the University of Delhi, India, the Nehru Distinguished Visiting Professor at Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Gujrat, India, minority scholar in residence at The Pennsylvania State University, and held visiting appointments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Cornell University, The City University of New York, and The University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Caribbean Journal of Psychology.


Ph.D., Child Development, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (1980)

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin (1975)

Research Focus

Risk and protective factors and father-child relationships and cognitive and social outcomes in children across cultures, Caribbean family socialization patterns and childhood outcomes, early childhood education in international perspective, children’s play across cultures, immigrant families and schooling in the U.S.

Research Projects

Paternal and Maternal Cognitive and Social Engagement in Caribbean and African Countries: Links to Preschoolers Literacy and Social Skills

There has been increasing attempts to discern culture-specific from pan-cultural processes and outcomes in human development. In an attempt to further examine cultural developmental pathways to childhood development, we tapped into the UNICEF Micro-Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) to determine links between fathers’ and mothers’ engagement in social and cognitive activities and preschoolers’ early literacy and social skills in 6 Caribbean and 25 African countries. In the first set of analyses, we found inconsistent patterns of associations between mothers’ and fathers’ cognitive and social engagement and preschoolers’ cognitive and social skills across Barbados, Belize, the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname. Preschool enrollment, literacy materials in the home, and material wealth were the most consistent predictors of children’s early literacy skills across Caribbean countries. A meta-analysis revealed that across the African countries, maternal and paternal cognitive engagement and preschool education were more consistently associated with children’s early literacy skills. These results underline the importance of early parent-child cognitive engagement and access to early education and literacy materials in the home for early childhood development in developing countries.

Depressive Symptoms in Fathers and Interpersonal Violence and Children’s Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors

Depressive symptoms and interpersonal violence perpetrated by men have negative effects on children’s social and cognitive functioning. With funding from the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Elif Dede Yildirim (former doctoral student in HDFS and now Assistant Professor at Auburn University) and I assessed (a) the impact of relationships skills education on depressive symptoms in fathers and (b) the associations between depressive symptoms in fathers and interpersonal violence and childhood outcomes via paternal warmth and avoidance of destructive conflict behaviors. Utilizing data from the eight site Building Strong Families (BSF) intervention program, we were able to demonstrate that relationship skills education led to decreases in depressive symptoms in fathers over time and that avoidance of destructive conflict behavior mediated the association between interpersonal violence and children’s externalizing behavior for those who received relationship skills education. The links between interpersonal violence and children’s behavioral difficulties were more direct for noncompliers of the intervention and control group fathers.

Depressive Symptoms in Fathers and Interpersonal Violence and Early Literacy Skills and Children’s Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors in Caribbean Countries

We are currently exploring the mediating role of social support, ethnic and religious socialization, and the quality of couple relationship on the associations between depressive symptoms and interpersonal violence perpetrated by men and preschool children’s social and cognitive skills in Guyana, Jamaica, and Suriname. Children are first assessed as they begin preschool and are followed through kindergarten and first-grade. Participants are from diverse family constellations (e.g., married, common-law, visiting unions) and ethnic groups (African Caribbean, Indo Caribbean, Mixed-ethnic) across socioeconomic backgrounds. The goal is to determine the sustained effects of fathers’ personal and interpersonal functioning on children’s social and literacy skills as they make the transition to formal schooling in developing countries.


CFS 467/667 - Child and Family in Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Recent Publications

  • Roopnarine, J. L., & Yildirim, E. D. (2019). Fathers across cultures: Developmental and clinical issues. London: Routledge.
  • Smith, P. & Roopnarine, J. L. (Eds.). (2019). The Cambridge Handbook on play: Developmental and disciplinary perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University of Press.
  • Roopnarine, J. L., Johnson, J. E., Quinn, S., & Patte, M. (Eds.). (2018). Handbook of international perspectives on early childhood education. New York: Routledge.
  • Roopnarine, J. L. & Yildrim, D. E. (2018). Paternal and maternal engagement in play, storytelling, and reading in five Caribbean countries: Associations with preschoolers’ literacy skills. International Journal of Play, 7, 132-145
  • Roopnarine, J. L., Krishnakumar, A., Logie, C., Narine, L. & Davidson, K. L. (2018). Moderating role of neighborhood characteristics on the associations between parenting practices and children’s early language skills in Trinidad and Tobago. Caribbean Journal of Psychology, 2, 24-45.
  • Roopnarine, J. L., Yang, Y., & Krishankumar, A. (2018). Moderating role of social support on the associations between individual level factors and depressive symptoms in young adults in Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. West Indian Medical Journal. 66, 294-298.
  • Yildirim, E. & Roopnarine, J. L. (2017). Nonviolent discipline, Physical assault, and psychological aggression in five Caribbean countries: Associations with preschoolers’ early literacy and social skills. International Journal of Psychology, DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12465
  • Yildirim, E. & Roopnarine, J. L. (2017). Paternal and maternal engagement across six Caribbean countries and childhood outcomes. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 53, 64-73.
  • Roopnarine, J. L., & Yildirim, E. (2017). Influence of relationship skills education on pathways of associations between paternal depressive symptoms and IPV and childhood behaviors. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 19, 223-233.
  • van der Kooij, I. W., Nieuwendam, J., Moerman, G., Boer, F., Lindauer, R.J. L.Roopnarine, J. L., & Graafsma. T. L. G. (2017). Perceptions among Creoles and Maroons on corporal punishment in Suriname. Child Abuse Review, 26, 275-288.
  • Roopnarine, J. L., & Yildirim, E. (2017). Association between relationship education and depressive symptoms in fathers with young children: A Complier Average Causal Effect Estimate. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 87(4), 402-413.
  • Roopnarine, J. L. & Chadee, D. (Eds.) (2016). Caribbean psychology: Indigenous contributions to a global discipline. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association.
  • Gielen, U., & Roopnarine, J. L. (2016). Childhood and adolescence: Cross-cultural perspectives and applications. (2nd ed.). Santa Monica, CA: Praeger.
  • Krishnakumar, A., Narine, L., & Roopnarine, J. L., & Logie, C. (2016). Prevalence and socio-cultural predictors of mental health disorders among mothers in Trinidad and Tobago: Examining ethnic variations. International Journal of Psychology. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12383
  • Roopnarine, J. L., Logie, C., Davidson, K. L., Krishnakumar, A., & Narine, L. (2015). Caregivers’ knowledge about children’s development in three ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago. Parenting Science and Practice, 15, 229-246.
  • Roopnarine, J. L., Krishnakumar, A., Narine, L., Logie, C., & Lape, M. (2014). relationships between parenting practices and preschoolers’ social skills in African, Indo, and Mixed-Ethnic families in Trinidad and Tobago: The mediating role of ethnic socialization. Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology. Online October 30, 2013 DOI:10.1177/0022022113509894