Shelley Clark

Photo of Shelley Clark


Canada Research Chair in Youth, Gender and Global Health

Department of Sociology
McGill University
Peterson Hall Building, Room 348
3460 McTavish Street
Montreal, Quebec, H3A 0E6

Tel.: 514-398-8822
Fax: 514-398-3403
E-Mail: shelley.clark [at] (Shelley Clark)

Departmental Profile

Prof. Clark is a Full Professor in the Department of Sociology and one of the three founders of the Centre on Population Dynamics. She also serves as the Director of the CFI-funded Life History, Health, and HIV/AIDS data laboratory, which aims to make data from longitudinal demographic and health surveys in developing countries more accessible. Her work is closely aligned with CPD’s research axes pertaining to the social determinants of health and family dynamics. Her findings have been published in leading journals, such as Demography, Population and Development Review, Social Forces, and Journal of Marriage and Family, and presented to policy makers at influential international organizations, including the World Bank, WHO, UNFPA/UNICEF, and the Population Council.



Prof. Clark's research specifically examines how adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa make key transitions to adulthood in the midst of an on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic. Much of her work has focused on the risks of HIV/AIDS associated with marriage in sub-Saharan Africa. She finds that for adolescent girls in many African countries, marriage does not provide a safe haven; instead these girls are made acutely vulnerable with respect to HIV. Her additional research demonstrates how the process of searching for a suitable spouse places both adolescent boys and girls at considerable risk. Through her current collaborative project with colleagues in Kenya, Burkina Faso, and South Africa, she is exploring the implications of single motherhood on women’s poverty and children’s health over the life course.



PhD in Public Affairs (1999): Princeton University


Recent Publications

Clark, Shelley, Midanna De Almada, Caroline W Kabiru, Stella Muthuri, and Milka Wanjohi. Forthcoming. “Balancing Paid Work and Child Care in a Slum of Nairobi, Kenya: The Case for Center-Based Child Care.” Journal of Family Studies. (DOI: 10.1080/13229400.2018.1511451)

Clark, Shelley, Sangeetha Madhavan, and Caroline Kabiru. Forthcoming. “Kin Support and Child Health: Investigating Two Approaches in an African Slum.” Social Science Research. (DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.08.001) (NIHMS1503340)

Madhavan, Sangeetha, Shelley Clark, and Yuko Hara. Forthcoming. “Gendered Emotional Support and Women’s Well-Being in a Low-Income Urban African Setting.” Gender & Society. (DOI: 10.1177/0891243218786670)

Clark, Shelley, Alissa Koski, and Emily Smith-Greenaway. 2017. “Recent Trends in Premarital Childbirth in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Studies in Family Planning, 48(1): 3-22 (lead article) (DOI: 10.1111/sifp.12013)

Clark, Shelley and Sarah Brauner-Otto. 2015. “Divorce in Sub-Saharan Africa: Are Unions Becoming Less Stable?Population and Development Review, 41(4): 583-605. (DOI:10.1111/j.1728-4457.2015.00086.x)