Albert Farrell, Ph.D.


Director and
Commonwealth Professor
(804) 828-8796

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 VCU Department of Psychology

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  • Jasmine Coleman
  • Kelly O'Connor
  • Katherine Ross, Ph.D.
  • Erin Thompson

Albert D. Farrell, Ph.D., is Commonwealth Professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Farrell grew up in the Detroit area and is in the first generation in his family to attend college. He received a B.S. in psychology from Michigan State University and a M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Purdue University with a minor in quantitative methods. He completed his predoctoral clinical internship at Brown University Medical School. He has been on the faculty at VCU since 1980.

Dr. Farrell is the founder and director of the VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development. The Institute is one of five National Academic Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Institute provides opportunities for collaborations among faculty from departments across VCU with an emphasis on developing and evaluating programs that focus on enhancing the positive development of youth, particularly those growing up in challenging environments. His research focuses on (a) the development of problem behaviors during adolescence, particularly aggression and bullying; (b) the impact of exposure to community violence and peer victimization on adolescents’ development; and (c) the identification of protective factors that promote the positive development of youth in high risk environments (e.g., those living in communities with high rates of poverty and violence). Since 1992, he has been involved in a collaborative effort with community agencies to develop effective evidence-based violence prevention programs for early adolescents. These interests have led to a series of qualitative and quantitative studies designed to identify factors that promote urban adolescents’ use of effective nonviolent responses to problem situations. Dr. Farrell has published more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals and more than a dozen book chapters. He has been the principal investigator on over $16 million in grants from federal agencies including the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, and has been a co-investigator on numerous other funded projects.

Dr. Farrell has served on several national task forces related to youth violence and on grant review panels for CDC, the National Institute of Mental Health and Institute of Education Sciences. He has served on the editorial boards of seven scientific journals and was associate editor for the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Farrell is a licensed clinical psychologist and a diplomate and charter member of the American Board of Assessment Psychology. He is a fellow of three divisions of the American Psychological Association - Society of Clinical Psychology, Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and Division of Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics. Dr. Farrell has received several honors for his work including the Nan Tobler Award for Review of the Prevention Science Literature from the Society for Prevention Research in 2012, the University Award of Excellence from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013 and the Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia in 2015.