Swisher’s research examines risk factors in the lives of low-income families, and their consequences for family and youth well-being. One recent area of research examines the consequences of parental incarceration for adolescents, with published work documenting associations with elevated levels of depression, delinquency, crime, and substance use. Other research has examined the consequences of neighborhood poverty and exposure to violence for adolescent depression, own violence, and survival expectations. Most recently he is examining trajectories of disadvantaged neighborhood experiences between adolescence and early adulthood, with a focus on inequalities across racial and ethnic subgroups in the United States. Swisher teaches undergraduate and graduate courses related to these research areas, and infuses a strong social policy component in his teaching.
Discusses the effect of direct and indirect exposures to violence-across various contexts- on adolescents' survival expectations. Highlights that violence exposure severely compromises individuals' optimism about the future and places them at risk for behaviors that can further undermine well-being.
Examines the relationship between intergenerational educational pathways and change in crime. Explores the potential mediating roles of family and employment transitions, economic stressors, and social psychological factors.