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Message From The Chair

Donna Ferriero, MD, MS

Donna Ferriero, MD, MS

For more than 100 years, our department has distinguished itself in educating the next generation of physicians, delivering excellent clinical care to young patients, and constantly improving treatment options through biomedical research.

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Stephen L. Eyre, PhD

Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics

Associate Professor, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley

Contact Info

3333 California Street, Suite 245

San Francisco, California   94143-0503

Telephone: (415) 860-8634  

Fax: (415) 476-6106




  • Yale University, B.A.  Psychology and Philosophy, 1976-79
  • University of California, San Diego, PhD, Anthropology, 1981-88
  • University of California Regents' Fellow, 1981-84                       
  • National Science Foundation Fellow in Anthropology, 1982-84                       
  • IIE Fulbright Fellow, 1984-5                      
  • Kenneth E. Hill Fellow, 1986                       
  • Jacob K. Javits Fellow, 1986           
  • University of California, San Francisco, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychiatry, 1989-92


Research Interests

  • Anthropology
  • Adolescent and young adult sexuality
  • Adolescent and young adult sexual and romantic relationships
  • Sexual minority adolescent and young adult culture
  • Racial-ethnic adolescent and young adult culture
  • Gender
  • Adolescent and young adult HIV/STI prevention
  • Qualitative methods
  • Cultural cognition

UCSF Program Affiliations

UCSF Department of Anthropology, History, and Social Medicine

University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health


Dr. Eyre is a professor in the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and an associate professor in the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley (UCB). Dr. Eyre is a psychological anthropologist who conducted his early research in Papua New Guinea. His UC research examines cultural knowledge related to sexuality and romantic relationships. His methodology draws from three principal areas: ethnography, domain analysis (cognitive anthropology) and qualitative textual analysis (anthropology, sociology/grounded theory). Dr. Eyre has investigated a range of ages from early adolescence to young adulthood. He has studied adolescent groups including heterosexual African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Chinese Americans and gay/bisexual/transgender African Americans and Whites. He has published articles on such topics as perceived antecedents to sex, the gamesmanship of sex, fidelity management, transgender culture, and young gay/bisexual romance in the Castro District of San Francisco. Dr. Eyre's current research focuses on the culture of sexuality and romantic relationships of heterosexual African American young adults in San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL, and Birmingham, AL. He has designed a multi-regional survey to seek to predict HIV risk based on cultural attributes of each site. Dr. Eyre mentors students in qualitative and mixed methods research.

Current Research

Dr. Eyre’s current research seeks 1) to describe adolescent cognition related to romantic relationships and sex and 2) to develop sexual risk reduction interventions that harness the motivational force associated with peer social cognition.


Dr. Eyre’s main R01 is titled, Culture-Based Prediction of Adolescent HIV Risk Behavior (NICHD 1R01HD051438, Stephen L. Eyre, PI). Consisting of ideas, understandings, beliefs, and subjective knowledge, culture is a determinant of adolescent risk behavior that is shared by adolescents in a given social group. Culture affects adolescent risk behavior because individuals choose roles and select situations leading to risky behavior from among culturally posited options. In this five-year, community-based research project, Dr. Eyre’s research team has studied a particular domain of adolescent culture, that of sex and romantic relationships. The research is focused on a population that has high levels of risk for HIV infection associated with sex and romantic relationships–low to mid-low SES heterosexual African American late adolescents (ages 19-22). The goal of the research is to identify cultural predictors of HIV risk that are generalizable to low to mid-low SES heterosexual African American late adolescents. A first specific aim is to identify, using qualitative methods, cultural models of sex and romantic relationships in samples drawn from communities in three geographically distal cities: Oakland, CA, Chicago, IL and Birmingham, AL. A second specific aim is to compare, using a survey, cultural models related to sex and romantic relationships among samples drawn from the same three sites. A third specific aim is to study the effect of cultural model-determined culturally specified attributes (CSAs) related to sex and romantic relationships on the HIV risk behaviors of these groups. In the same survey, researchers are testing the hypothesis that these CSA measures will predict HIV risk behaviors better than non-cultural self-report measures that have previously been shown to predict HIV risk behaviors in these populations. The proposed research tests an innovative method for identification of group-specific cultural knowledge related to sex and romantic relationships, determines a cultural common denominator that excludes group differences, and develops individual culture-based measures that can be used both to explain HIV risk behavior and to design HIV risk reduction interventions suited to specific populations.

 Another recently funded federal grant is titled Cultural Factors in African American Young Adult HIV Risk (NICHD 3R01HD051438-04S1, Stephen L. Eyre, PI). In this study, researchers determine the content of cultural domains related to relationships and sex and then determine how each domain is subdivided and, finally, how each subdivision is linked to perceived probability of condom use. For example, one domain is reasons to have sex. Researchers ask a first sample to list as many reasons to have sex that they can think of. The lists are analyzed to determine the frequency of different responses. The most frequent responses are placed on cards that are sorted by a second sample. The researchers use cluster analysis to subdivide the sorted items into meaningful groupings of the items. Diagrams of each cluster are then shown to a third sample that is asked to interpret the cluster and also to indicate what percentage of persons who have sex for those reasons would use a condom. Condom values for each cluster are subsequently compared. Transcripts are used to indicate how each cluster is interpreted. Findings have revealed how each domain is conceptualized by the group and how domain subsets relate to the perceived probability of condom use.

Recent Publications (PubMed)

Last updated 07-12-2012