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Deanna Williamson

Chair & Associate Professor

Agricultural Life and Environmental Sciences

Human Ecology

About Me

Dr. Williamson's broad research interest is the well-being of families and their members within the context of social, economic, and political conditions. A central focus of her current research is the conceptualization and measurement of family functioning in contemporary families. As well, she has examined the influence that policy has on the well-being of families in poverty. Some of her research has explored the impact of health care and social assistance policies on the health behaviours and health of people living in poor families; whether the relationship between health behaviours and health is dependent on income adequacy; and the implications of welfare-to-work policies for the health and development of pre-school children in poverty.

Dr. Williamson is conducting a project entitled Family functioning in everyday life: The experiences of families with young children and diverse compositions, socioeconomic circumstances, and ethno-cultural origins, which offers opportunities for graduate students to pursue Master's and Doctoral research projects. In this study, a critical ethnographic approach is being used to generate in-depth descriptions of the processes engaged in by families as they function in their everyday lives, with attention to social, economic, and political influences, such as social ideals, social and economic policies, and employment conditions on family functioning.


Current Research Grants 

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2013-2018; Family Functioning in Everyday Life: The Experiences of Families with Young Children and Diverse Compositions and Ethno-Cultural Origins; Principal investigator: Williamson, D.L.; Co-investigators: Kushner, K.E., Pitre, N., & Skrypnek, B.J.; $489,000.

Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, University of Alberta, 2016-2017; Needs assessment for enhanced field supervisor engagement within the Human Ecology Practicum Program; Principal Investigator: Chandler, K; Co-Investigator: Williamson, D.L.; $16,840.


Graduate students currently supervised and their research topic/area of interest

  • Razak Oduro (PhD, Human Ecology) – Research interest: Social movements and poverty reduction 
  • Brenda Reynolds (MSc, Human Ecology) – Research interest: Urban Indigenous family functioning processes
  • Emily Hendsbee (MSc (course-based), Human Ecology) – Project focus: Families with a member with a disability