Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Intervention
Erin Godfrey is assistant professor of Applied Psychology in the Psychology and Social Intervention program in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Development, and Education. Drawing on theories and methods form social, developmental and community psychology, her research explores how individuals interact with, understand, and are influenced by the social, economic and political systems in which they are embedded, both in the United States and internationally.
Supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the American Psychological Foundation (APF), her first line of research explores the development and consequences of perceptions of the status quo, social inequity and poverty among families and adolescents from disadvantaged and immigrant backgrounds. Questions guiding this work include: What is the nature and etiology of these perceptions? How do individual, familial and contextual factors relate to individual differences in these perceptions? What are the consequences of these perceptions for family process and individual identity, well-being, and academic outcomes? What are the implications for civic engagement and social change? Previous work in this area examined the interplay between maternal justifications of the social system (system justification), maternal mental health and early child behavior. Current work includes the role of school and classroom climate in the development of critical civic attitudes, neighborhood income inequality and subjective socioeconomic status and their relations with health and well-being, perceptions of desirable and undesirable American qualities among immigrant parents of young children and perceptions of societal inequality among Zulu families in South Africa.
In her second line of research, Godfrey is concerned with characterizing the quality of social service settings that are meant to improve the lives of families and children. Drawing on theory and methods from community and organizational psychology, this work uses multilevel methods to rigorously examine setting characteristics and their influence on setting participants. Questions guiding this work include: How are social service settings best characterized and measured? What features contribute to a quality setting? Which setting features improve access to services provided? Which setting features contribute to desired outcomes for setting participants and their families? Previous work in this area explored caseworker-recipient interaction in welfare offices, linking these to trajectories of economic outcomes and child outcomes. Current work includes multilevel measurement of school quality across developing and middle income countries and supply- and demand-side factors relating to the access and use of government-sponsored grants and services among Zulu families in South Africa and their relationship to family process and child well-being.
Godfrey received her B.A. in Psychology and Policy from Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in Community and Developmental Psychology from New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. She was formerly a research associate at The Urban Institute in Washington, DC.