Yoonsun Choi, MSW, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

The School of Social Service Administration

The University of Chicago



Yoonsun Choi is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration. Her fields of special interest include minority youth development; effects of race, ethnicity, and culture in youth development; children of immigrants; Asian American youth; and prevention of youth problem behaviors. Professor Choi teaches courses in research methods and immigrant adolescents for masters' students and foundation statistics for doctoral students.


Professor Choi's research seeks to understand the familial and environmental processes that influence and impact ethnic minority children and their development and serves to inform the development of age- and culturally appropriate preventive interventions. She has conducted a series of interrelated research projects to identify the multiple developmental trajectories of Asian American youth and the factors that predominate in the determination of these outcomes. Her research has been supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Pre-Doctoral Traineeship in Prevention Research and NIMH Dissertation Research Grant Award in Mental health while at the Social Development Research Group, the University of Washington-Seattle. Professor Choi was also a recipient of the Research Scientist Development Award (K01) from NIMH. Funded by R01 Research Project Grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development (NICHD), one of her current research projects, the Midwest Longitudinal Study of Asian American Families (ML-SAAF), examines Asian American adolescent development and how their parents can help maximize youth potential. This study is particularly interested in the role of culture in family (such as culturally unique family processes, parent-child cultural conflicts), racial prejudice and discrimination, ethnic identity, and culture change and formation (acculturation) that may all be unique issues of adolescent behavior for this target group as well as other ethnic and immigrant youth. Details of ML-SAAF can be found in www.mlsaaf.org.


Professor Choi received a B.A. in English/Education from Ewha University (Seoul, Korea), an M.S.S.W. from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Washington-Seattle. Her background also includes several years of clinical social work practice experiences in a variety of agencies with diverse populations. She worked with ethnic minority youth with severe emotional and/or behavioral problems and their families, children in foster care, mentally ill immigrant adults, and HIV+ immigrants with limited English proficiency. Professor Choi actively promotes the field of social work research, education and practice. She served as the Vice President for the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) and was the Program Chair for the SSWR 2012 Annual Conference, held in Washington D.C.

Principal Investigator