After completing high school at Orchard Park Central in upstate New York, Dr. Barker attended the State University of New York at Buffalo where he earned B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology. As an undergraduate he served as a research volunteer conducting family surveys for a study of parent-child relations in families. Shortly after entering graduate school he was invited to collaborate on an investigation of the environmental disaster known as the “Love Canal,” a toxic waste site located in a residential area of Niagara Falls, NY. He conducted interviews with families in the Love Canal area, focusing on their efforts to cope with this unprecedented disaster. While attending graduate school Dr. Barker served as a graduate assistant at the Center for the Study of Human Groups and at the Multidisciplinary Center for the Study of Aging. As a graduate student his areas of concentration included; group dynamics, leadership, stress and coping, statistics and qualitative research methods. For his doctoral dissertation he investigated the processes of emergent leadership and cultural evolution in groups. Throughout graduate school Dr. Barker served as an adjunct instructor at SUNY/Buffalo, Fredonia State College, Jamestown Community College, and the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
Following graduate school Dr. Barker accepted a faculty position in the Department of Sociology at Gannon University, receiving tenure in 1990. He has served as Chairperson for the Social Services Department, the Department of Social and Organizational Studies and continues to serve as Program Director of Sociology. During 2006 and 2007 he participated in the development of a new Ph.D. program in Organizational Learning and Leadership and served as Program Director from 2007-2015. During his tenure at Gannon he was elected chairperson of several standing committees, including the Faculty Research Committee and the University Review Council. In 1999 he was elected President of the Faculty Senate. He has also served as a working group chairperson for three Middle States Commission reviews. His community service activities have included survey research for the United Way of Erie County, research analyst for the Mayor’s Task Force, program evaluator and case manager for the Sarah Reed Partial Hospitalization Program, provided community workshops on stress and coping, served as an evaluation consultant for the Erie Homes for Children and Adults, and serves as a Board Member for Meals on Wheels. He has presented numerous papers at academic conferences on the topics of group dynamics and stress and coping. His most recent publications include; Self-selection for Stressful Experiences, appearing in the journal Stress and Health; Evaluation of the House of Healing: An Alternative to Female Incarceration, appearing in the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, and Antecedents of Stressful Experiences: Depressive Symptoms, Self-Esteem, Gender, and Coping, appearing in the International Journal of Stress Management. In the spring of 2007 he was awarded a sabbatical leave to continue his research on stress and coping. In 2009 he became a member of the Editorial Board for the International Journal of Stress Management. His current research focuses on the impact of personal resources and social identity as resistance factors in the occurrence of stressful life events, chronic stress, and daily hassles.
Dr. Barker resides in Harborcreek with his wife, Katie, who is an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at Gannon. He has two daughters, Faith and Jessica, and is the proud grandparent of four; Jonas, Marla, Kylen, and Lilyana. "My wife and family are the most precious part of my life, I love them dearly."
My current research activities include an ongoing interest in the area of stress and coping. Specifically, I am involved in identifying dimensions of chronic stressors and daily hassles applicable to college students, and to ascertaining the factors associated with their occurrence prospectively. My interest in stress and coping began with my experience examining the stress and coping responses of families to the Love Canal disaster in Niagara Falls, NY.
Other ongoing research includes a spatial analysis of crime to ascertain how geographic location, socioeconomic variables, and demographic factors affect crime rates in an urban setting. I am also currently involved in a study to ascertain student perceptions of empathy in teaching.
Over the past three years I have presented papers/posters at several conferences that include the following;
Barker, D.B. Stress Generation of First-Year College Undergraduates.
Eastern Psychological Association Meetings. March 2, 2018, Philadelphia, PA.
MacPhedran, A.K., PT, PhD, CCS, Barker, D.B., PhD, Fogarty, K., PhD,
Vangsnes, E., PhD, & Marbey, M., M.D., F.A.C.C. (2017, February 16). A
mixed-methods approach to understanding the association between changes
in functional status and quality of life after elective open heart surgery
[Poster presentation]. San Antonio, TX: 2017 American Physical Therapy
Association Combined Sections Meeting.
Barker, D.B., & Titzel, M. R. Stress and coping of family caregivers across the
stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. Eastern Sociological Society Meetings
February 25, 2017. Philadelphia, PA.
Barker, D.B. (2017, June 3). Three dimensions of political self-presentation in the
communication of values: Values images revealed. Theatre of Resistance –
Part 2 [Panel presentation]. New York, NY. Left Forum.
Barker, D.B. Identity salience, identity commitment, distress and
resources: Precursors to stressors experienced in a role domain. Paper
presented at the Eastern Psychological Association. February 22, 2015.