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Geoffrey Greif

Geoffrey Greif

Distinguished University Professor

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Dr. Geoffrey Greif is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work where he has worked since 1984. He was Associate Dean from 1996 to 2007. He received his MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD from the Columbia University School of Social Work. He is the author of more than 150 journal articles and book chapters and fifteen books including four that are co-edited. These include: When Parents Kidnap (co-authored with Dr. Rebecca Hegar); Single Fathers; Beating the Odds: Raising academically successful African American males (written with Drs. Freeman Hrabowski and Ken Maton); Overcoming the Odds: Raising academically successful African American young women (written with Hrabowski, Maton, and Monica Greene); and Group work with populations at risk (co-edited with Dr. Carolyn Knight).


Within the past few years, Dr. Greif has explored horizontal relationships with the publications of Buddy System: Understanding male friendships, Two Plus Two: Couples and their couple friendships (with Dr. Kathleen Holtz Deal) and Adult Sibling Relationships, written with Dr. Michael Woolley (2016). A new book, In-law relationships: Mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons was published in 2021. In 2001, Dr. Greif chaired Governor Parris Glendening’s Commission to study sexual orientation discrimination in Maryland. Between 2011 and 2016, Dr. Greif co-led a fathering group for federal detainees at a Detention Center in Baltimore and, more recently, ran a group for fathers at a residential employment center.


He is a member of various community-based boards, including the Open Society Institute Leadership Council and the Shriver Hall Concert Series, where he chaired the board. He also served on the Board of Social Work Examiners in Maryland and the board of WYPR, the local National Public Radio Station. His current research, teaching, and practice interests include child abduction, family therapy, adult friendships, adult family relationships, and interracial families. He has received more than 20 Dean’s teaching awards from the School of Social Work. In 2007, he was named the Educator of the Year by the Maryland Chapter of NASW and in 2010 he received the University of Maryland Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2018, he was named the UMB teacher of the year and in 2020 he was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. He has appeared on numerous television and radio programs and his research has been cited in major news outlets throughout the world. Most notably, in SocINDEX, when searching with the terms “Beatles” and “social work,” his is the only article that appears!


Read Dr. Greif's Blog at Psychology Today

Expertise & Interests

  • Family Therapy
  • Group Work
  • Child Abduction
  • Single Parents
  • Friendships

MSW, University of Pennsylvania 
PhD, Columbia University

Recent Publications

Greif, G. L. & Woolley, M. (2016). Adult sibling relationships. New York: Columbia University Press.


Greif, G. L. & Knight, C. (Editors). (2017). Group work with populations at risk, Fourth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.


Greif, G. L. & Woolley, M. E. (2021). In-law relationships: Mothers, daughters, fathers, and sons. New York: Oxford University Press.


Relationship Quality, Trust, and Interpersonal Support. Journal of Family Social Work, 23, 392-407. Saviet, M & Greif, G. L. (2021). 


Relationships between parents-in-law and children-in-law of differing racial or ethnic backgrounds: An initial qualitative exploration. Advances in Social Work, 21, 154-175.


Leitch, J., Greif, G., L., Saviet, M. & Sumerday, D. (2021). Social work education at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic:


Narrative reflections and pedagogical responses.  Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 41, 446-466. 


Rosen, J. & Greif, G. L. (2021). The voices of interracial and interethnic couples raising biracial, multiracial, and bi-ethnic children under 10 years old. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal.


Greif, G. L., Stubbs, V., & Woolley, M.E. (In press). "Clinical Suggestions for Family Therapists based on Interviews with White Women Married to Black Men" Contemporary Family Therapy.