Robert Faris

Robert Faris Portrait

Position Title

2247 Social Science and Humanities


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2007
  • M.A., Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000
  • B.A., Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, 1995


For the past decade, I have been using social network analysis to figure out why teens bully each other, drink and do drugs, and engage in dating violence. In a somewhat surreal turn of events, two of these projects led to Emmy-winning collaborations with Anderson Cooper 360, with one focusing on bullying (with Diane Felmlee in 2011), and the other on social media (#Being13, with Marion Underwood in 2015). Much of my research is based on the Contexts study, a North Carolina-based panel survey of adolescents and their social networks that followed over 8,000 adolescents from middle school through high school, with seven waves of data collected between 2003 and 2007. Recently my colleagues and I were awarded an NIH grant to collect a new wave of data from Contexts participants, now in their early 30s, to assess how experiences with structural racism and discrimination during adolescence have shaped their health and life course trajectories.


Faris, Robert and John Faris. 2022. "The Taxonomy of Harm", in Power and Aggression: the Sociology of Bullying, Christopher Donoghue, ed., NYU Press.

Faris, Robert and Liann Tucker. 2022. "Network Stability and the Paradox of Instrumental Cruelty", in Power and Aggression: the Sociology of Bullying, Christopher Donoghue, ed., NYU Press.

Faris, Robert, Diane Felmlee, and Cassie McMillan. 2020. "With Friends Like These: Aggression from Amity and Equivalence." American Journal of Sociology, 126 (3), 673-713. *Winner of the Roger V. Gould Prize

Faris, Robert and Diane Felmlee. 2018. “Best Friends For Now: Egonetwork Stability and Adolescents’ Life Course Goals.” Frontiers in Sociology and Social Research, Volume 2: Social Networks and the Life Course, Duane Alwin, Derek Kreager, and Diane Felmlee, eds.

Felmlee, Diane and Robert Faris. 2016. “Toxic Ties: Networks of Friendship, Dating, and Cyber Victimization.” Social Psychology Quarterly, 79:3:243-262.

Smith, Jeffrey and Robert Faris. 2015. “Movement without Mobility: Adolescent Status Hierarchies and the Contextual Limits of Cumulative Advantage.” Social Networks, 40:139-153.

Faris, Robert and Diane Felmlee. 2014. “Casualties of Social Combat: School Networks of Peer Victimization and their Consequences.” American Sociological Review, 79:2:228-257.

Faris, Robert and Susan Ennett. 2012. “Adolescent Aggression: The Role of Peer Group Status Motives, Peer Aggression, and Group Characteristics.” Social Networks, 34:4:371-378.

Faris, Robert. 2012. “Aggression, Exclusivity, and Status Attainment in Interpersonal Networks.” Social Forces, 90:4:1207-1235.

Faris, Robert and Diane Felmlee. 2011. “Status Struggles: Network Centrality and Gender Segregation in Same- and Cross-Gender Aggression.” American Sociological Review, 76:1:48-73 *Winner of the ASA’s Crime Law and Deviance Section’s James F. Short Award for Best Paper.


Sociology 2: “Self and Society: Introduction to Social Psychology.” 150 students

Sociology 120: “Deviation and Society.” 80 students.

Sociology 195: “Total Institutions.” 15 students

Sociology 295: "Social Network Analysis." Graduate seminar.


NIH (National Institute on Drug Abuse): "Measuring the impact of structural racism and discrimination during adolescence on substance use, psychological distress, and criminal justice outcomes in adulthood" (R01 DA056264-01) 4/01/2022 – 3/31/2026. Amount Awarded: $2,612,515

NSF: "BIGDATA: F: Critical Visualization Technologies for Analyzing and Understanding Big Network Data" (Award # 1741536): $558,000

NIH: "Peer Mechanisms in the Internalizing Pathway to Substance Abuse" (1R01DA037215), 9/15/2014 – 9/31/2017 Co-PI (PI: Andrea Hussong) Amount Awarded: $689,930

UC Davis: Center of Excellence for Visualization, 7/1/2012 – 7/1/2015 Co-PI (PI: Kwan-Liu Ma) Amount Awarded: $550,000

UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow, 2015 ($25,000)