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Parissa Jahromi Ballard

Assistant Professor, Family & Community Medicine, Wake Forest University

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About Parissa

Ballard's research focuses on positive youth development with a focus on youth civic engagement. Themes in Ballard's work include understanding the diverse routes to civic engagement among adolescents and young adults and the implications of various forms of civic engagement on adolescent and young adult development. Her current project focuses on the intersection of civic engagement and health with the goal of establishing youth engagement strategies to promote adolescent behavioral, mental, and physical health as well as community health.


"Engaging Youth in Communities: A Framework for Promoting Adolescent and Community Health" (with S. Leonard Syme). Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 70, no. 2 (2016): 202-206.

Argues that the process of community engagement has implications for individual health and strong communities. Highlights this topic's importance during adolescence, a developmental window of opportunity during which individuals need meaningful opportunities to contribute to the world around them.

"Longitudinal Links between Discrimination and Civic Development among Latino and Asian Adolescents" Journal of Research on Adolescence 26, no. 4 (2015): 723-737.

Tests the bidirectional links between perceived discrimination and civic beliefs and activism among Latino and Asian late adolescents. Finds that certain civic beliefs and civic activism in high school predicted increased perceptions of discrimination over time while perceiving high levels of discrimination in high school predicted a decrease in the belief that society is fair over time.

"Impacts of Adolescent and Young Adult Civic Engagement on Health and Socioeconomic Status in Adulthood" (with Lindsay Till Hoyt and Mark Pachucki). (2018).

Finds that three forms of civic engagement (voting, volunteering, and activism) during late adolescence and early adulthood are positively associated with subsequent income and education level. Finds that volunteering and voting are favorably associated with subsequent mental health and health behaviors while activism is associated with more health risk behaviors and not associated with mental health.