Ever since working as a teacher in Zaire in the late 1970s, Dr. Karl Hill has sought to understand the optimal conditions for development. Prior to working at the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group (SDRG), Dr. Hill focused on prosocial development, cognitive development, motivation and the qualitative aspects of performance among young people.
During the last seventeen years on the Seattle Social Development Project (SSDP), and ten years on the SSDP Intergenerational Project (NIDA, Linking Parent Drug Use and Child Development Across Three Generations), his work has focused on understanding development and consequences of antisocial behaviors such as drug use and dependence, crime, and gang membership, and the mechanisms of continuity and discontinuity in these behaviors across generations.
He is also the principal investigator of a study entitled Understanding Alcohol Misuse, Abuse and Dependence in Young Adulthood (funded by NIAAA). This study seeks to understand the relationship between childhood and adolescent patterns of alcohol use and young adult binge drinking, alcohol abuse and dependence, and the social developmental factors that affect this relationship.
Most recently, Dr. Hill has started a NIDA-funded study to examine gene-environment interplay in the development of alcohol and tobacco addiction and related problems. This new research endeavor is being developed through a multidisciplinary team in collaboration with Matt McGue and William Iacono and others at the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research. The study seeks to understand the relationship of social and genetic vulnerabilities that may determine addiction and related behaviors from adolescence through adulthood. Findings from the study will provide reliable information to those designing improved prevention and treatment interventions for these prevalent and costly disorders.
Dr. Hill regularly presents at meetings of the Society for Prevention Research, Society for Social Work Research, Society for Research on Adolescence, Society for Research in Child Development, and the American Society for Criminology and is a standing reviewer on CSR’s Psychosocial Development, Risk and Prevention (PDRP) study section.
In addition to his SDRG research, Dr. Hill has been an active member of the School’s doctoral steering committee, and he enjoys teaching a course in quantitative research methods in the School’s doctoral program and mentoring students in their research.