Dr. Jennifer Barber

Jennifer Barber, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist

Professor of Sociology

Jennifer Barber is a Professor of Sociology and a Senior Scientist at the Kinsey Institute. Barber's research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of family sociology, demography, and social psychology, with a focus on young pregnancy, intimate relationships, reproductive control, and intimate partner violence.

From 2008-2012, she directed the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) project, which was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It included weekly surveys from 1,000 18- and 19-year-old women for 2.5 years, along with 75+ semi-structured interviews. Ongoing work with the RDSL dataset integrates statistical and qualitative analyses, and focuses on the types of attitudes, intimate relationships, and contraceptive practices that lead to young pregnancy and to women’s control over reproductive processes.

Current projects focus specifically on (1) how violent and/or demanding intimate partners derail young women's post-secondary education plans, (2) how and why the dissolution of violent and non-violent intimate relationships during the transition to adulthood varies across sociodemographic groups, and (3) how intimate relationships shape young women’s expectations and ability to control heterosexual intercourse and contraceptive use.

In 2020, Barber won the American Sociological Association Family Section’s “Article of the Year” award for her article, “The Dynamics of Intimate Partner Violence and the Risk of Pregnancy during the Transition to Adulthood, published in the American Sociological Review.

 (812) 855-7686

Lindley 428
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405


  • Ph.D., Sociology and Demography, Pennsylvania State University
  • M.A., Sociology, University of Chicago
  • B.S., Statistics and Computer Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research interests

  • Family sociology 
  • Social demography
  • Social psychology
  • Reproductive health
  • Intensive longitundinal data collection
  • Mixed-methods analysis

Selected publications

  • Barber, Jennifer S., Karen Benjamin Guzzo, *Jamie Budnick, Sarah Hayford, Yasamin Kusunoki, and Warren Miller. 2020 (in press). Black-White Differences in Pregnancy Desire during the Transition to Adulthood. Demography.
  • Kusunoki, Yasamin, and Jennifer S. Barber. 2020 (in press). The Dynamics of Intimate Relationships and Contraceptive Use during Emergent Adulthood. Demography.
  • Barber, Jennifer S., Warren Miller, Yasamin Kusunoki, Sarah Hayford, and Karen Guzzo. 2019. Intimate Relationship Dynamics and Changing Desire for Pregnancy among Young Women. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 51(3):143-152.
  • Barber, Jennifer S., Yasamin Kusunoki, Heather H. Gatny, and *Jamie Budnick. 2018. The Dynamics of Intimate Partner Violence and the Risk of Pregnancy during the Transition to Adulthood. American Sociological Review 83(5):1020-1047. (Winner, Family Section of the American Sociological Association’s “Article of the Year” award, 2020.​)
  • Barber, Jennifer S., Yasamin Kusunoki, Heather Gatny, and Robert Melendez. 2017. The Relationship Context of Young Pregnancies. Law & Inequality: A Journal of Theory and Practice 35(2):175-197.

CV available upon request

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