Associate Professor of Applied Psychology
Phone: (212) 992-7685
Elise Cappella is a clinical and community psychologist whose research integrates education and psychology with the goal to better understand what disrupts, and alternatively, promotes children's positive adaptation in schools and communities. Cappella has identified academic and social-emotional functioning among low-income children as priority areas of interest, with a particular focus on the social processes of schooling. With grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Spencer Foundation, she has studied predictors of academic achievement among students at risk for failure, and has designed and examined an intervention to enhance girls' social development and reduce relationally aggressive behavior. With colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Juvenile Research, and funding from the Institute for Education Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and NIMH, Cappella has worked with school and community partners to implement and study a mental health model focused on learning for disruptive children in high poverty schools. Cappella was awarded an Early Career Research Award from the Society for the Study of School Psychology, and a Community Collaborative Grant from the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, to adapt and study a teacher consultation model focused on improving classroom processes in urban elementary schools. Within the context of a NIMH-funded developing center (LINKS: Leading Innovations for Neighborhoods, Kids, and Schools) she examined the effectiveness of this program -- BRIDGE -- on classroom interactions and child behaviors in NYC schools. Finally, as a co-PI on an IES efficacy study, Cappella participated in a school-randomized control trial of a theory-based program to align parents and teachers around temperament-based strategies to promote children's behavior and learning. Beyond intervention research, Cappella studies children's social relationships and behaviors in classrooms and schools, with the long-term goal to create ways to activate peer leaders toward the development of positive social environments for learning. In addition, Cappella and colleagues have a recent Spencer Foundation grant to examine in a national sample the academic and psychosocial trajectories of children across the middle school transition. Methodological approaches include multilevel modeling, RCTs, community-based participatory research, mixed method research, systematic observational methods, and social network methods. Cappella studied history as an undergraduate at Yale University and received her doctorate in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.