Faculty Research Interests
Below is a sample of some of the current awards/projects being done at Steinhardt:
Stress, Self-Regulation and Psychopathology in Middle Childhood
Funder: National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Project Period: 4/15/2015-3/31/2016
Research Team: Clancy Blair – Lead Principal Investigator, Cybele Raver and Marc Scott – Investigators
Faculty Department: Applied Psychology & Applied Statistics, Social Science and Humanities
Project Department: Institute Of Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC)
Early adolescence represents a key transition period in development yet little is known, particularly for children in rural poverty, about the ways in which trajectories established in early childhood support or constrain the development of self-regulation with implications for key outcomes. Accordingly, we propose to continue to follow a population-based predominantly low-income longitudinal sample known as the Family Life Project (N=1292 oversampled for African American ethnicity and poverty).
Extensive child, family, home, and school data were collected through two rounds of funding as an NICHD program project with 11% attrition. Data collection beginning at child age 2mos through age 8yrs occurred in 10 home visits, 5 childcare visits, and 8 school visits. In this follow-up, we continue to focus on child self-regulation and stress response physiology, as well as family, peer, school, and neighborhood contexts measured in the first two phases. Data will be collected in 1 home visit (7th grade) and 2 school visits (6th & 8th grades.) We will test specific hypotheses about the influence of the timing and chronicity of poverty-related adversity in families on the development of stress response physiology and self-regulation from early childhood through early adolescence. Most importantly, we will test hypotheses about the ways in which peer, school, and neighborhood contexts increase or decrease risk for key outcomes, including mental health, substance use, and school achievement. Primary innovation in this phase concerns our ability to test key questions about the malleability of self-regulation development and the role of emerging sensitivity to reward and delay in risk taking behavior in early adolescence.
We hypothesize that alterations to the stress response and accompanying self-regulation difficulties will be most severe and most likely to lead to poor outcomes for children facing sustained high levels of poverty-related adversity; however, we also hypothesize that this influence will be moderated by the quality of peer relations, as well as school, and community characteristics. Specifically, for children facing sustained adversity, higher quality peer relations (taking into account potential bidirectional relations between self-regulation and peer quality, including social isolation and affiliation with deviant peers), higher levels of school quality, and higher levels of neighborhood quality will each be associated with improvements in stress responsivity and in self-regulation abilities, and thereby higher achievement, reduced substance use, and better mental health.
To our knowledge this is the first study of its kind to test complex longitudinal relations among adversity, stress response physiology, self-regulation, and key outcomes across multiple geographically and economically defined social contexts in a population-based sample. By testing the malleability of development using a psychobiological model, the proposed research will have clear implications for prevention efforts and efforts to promote positive youth development.
Promoting Children's Learning Outcomes in Conflict-Affected Countries: Generating, Communicating, and Incorporating Evidence for Impact
Funder: Economic and Social Research Council
Project Period: 4/1/2015-3/31/2016
Research Team: J. Lawrence Aber – Lead Principal Investigator, Jennifer Hill – Advisor
Faculty Department: Applied Psychology & Applied Statistics, Social Science, and Humanities
Project Department: Institute Of Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC)
New York University (NYU) has been working with the International Rescue Committee since 2010 on the impact evaluation of the Healing Classrooms project in the Democratic Republic of Congo (funded by USAID). Though the data collection for the impact evaluation finished in 2013, funding from ESRC provides an opportunity to collect a small amount of additional data (geographic (GPS) coordinates of schools) that would allow for consideration of how community-level armed conflict influences outcomes in the impact analysis.
Reducing Crime for Girls in the Juvenile Justice System through Researcher-Practitioner Partnerships
Funder: National Institute of Justice
Project Period: 1/1/2015-6/30/2017
Research Team: Shabnam Javdani – Lead Principal Investigator
Faculty Department: Applied Psychology
Project Department: Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools
Adolescent girls are the fastest growing segments of the juvenile justice (JJ) population. However, according to research by the U.S. Department of Justice, there are currently no effective interventions for this population. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention, called ROSES (Resilience, Opportunity, Safety, Education, Strength), using a rigorous randomized controlled trial research design. ROSES is a 10-week, individualized and comprehensive intervention designed based on national recommendations for gender responsive programming.
Preliminary data suggest promising results, feasibility, and high satisfaction reported by girls. This proposal seeks to determine whether ROSES meets criteria for effectiveness by comparing outcomes for girls in the JJ system randomly assigned to receive either the ROSES (N=150) or a control condition (N=150). Violent, drug, and other offenses (e.g., running away), mental health, and recidivism data will be collected at 5 time points for an ethnically and racially diverse sample of girls aged 12-17. Data include validated and reliable youth and parent reports, clinical-rated mental health symptoms, drug urinalysis, recidivism, and interviews with JJ practitioners.
The author has partnered with key stakeholders from the New York City (NYC) Administration for Children’s Services, Division of Youth and Family Justice (DYFJ). DYFJ has identified reducing girls’ crime as a key challenge in NYC, and the ROSES intervention was piloted in NYC to ensure feasibility.
This project will evaluate ROSES through researcher placement (Area 2) within DYFJ. Specific aims include: 1) examine the extent to which youth, parent, and clinician-reported outcomes are better at mid-treatment (Time 2), immediately post-treatment (Time 3), and 6-month follow up (Time 4) for ROSES versus control, 2) examine whether recidivism and drug use (urinalysis) is reduced 1 year and 6 months, respectively, post-intervention for ROSES versus control, and 3) identify key strategies for reducing girls crime through interviews with DYFJ stakeholders. For aims 1 and 2, multivariate and repeated measures analysis of variance will examine changes in outcomes between intervention and control groups over time. For aim 3, consensual qualitative research will generate emergent themes in DYFJ interviews.
This project will generate full datasets, interim/final reports of evaluation findings, newsletters for a general audience, a practitioner-oriented intervention manual, and peer-reviewed publications for the scientific and practitioner communities. This project can promote effective practice for girls involved in the juvenile justice system, impact policy (e.g., ROSES as an alternative to incarceration), and build theory regarding how to reduce girls’ crime.
American Teacher Preparation in the Twenty-First Century the Social Forces, Historical Trends, and Current Debates That Shape an Era
Teacher Preparation is in significant turmoil. New accreditation standards for university schools of education, the rapid growth of alternative providers from Teach for America to Phoenix University, the continuing criticism from organizations like the National Council on Teacher Quality and others, and new efforts by the federal Department of Education to rank education schools leave many teacher educators feeling besieged and many outside observers confused and frustrated. Reading the growing literature on today’s teacher education one finds that most commentators, and indeed most researchers, fall into one of two camps--those who seek to protect and improve the status of university teacher preparation primarily by raising standards and those who have given up on university efforts and who seek to foster the growth of alternative providers by eliminating barriers to new players in the field. Too few scholars have stepped back to examine the social, political, and historical forces that have shaped and are shaping the current moment and are likely to shape the future.
As an historian of education I will to use the disciplinary skills of an historian to take a fresh look at the debates of the last three decades and place the development of programs and the contest of educational ideas in a larger historical context. In the three editions of American Higher Education in the Twenty- First Century, Social, Political, and Economic Challenges (1995, 2005, 2011), Philip G. Altbach, Patricia J. Gumport, and Robert O. Berdahl have traced tensions around long standing issues of race, continuing calls for accountability measures and tests of learning outcomes, technology, followed later by calls for deregulation and decentralization and new concerns about access, affordability, and accountability; all of which have shaped American colleges and universities in the early years of the twenty-first century. No similar study of teacher education has been done.
I plan to do it, albeit in a shorter single-author form. An historical look at a relatively short era of three decades that examines the issues and alternatives in teacher education and reform movements on university campuses that have emerged during these years will allow greater understanding of some of the larger social, political, and historical forces that have shaped recent developments in the preparation of American teachers. My research will focus on questions such as: Why have alternative routes to teaching become so popular since the launch of Teach for America in 1990 after decades in which there were few alternatives to the university-based school of education? What forces in the larger society, in policy discussions about education, and in higher education led to such rapid change? Why have efforts to reform university-based programs, sometimes backed by significant financial and intellectual resources, received so little attention beyond the world of teacher educators themselves? Why is there so little agreement about what constitutes a good teacher preparation program? Finding even tentative answers to these questions might well help campus- and alternative program-based practitioners, as well as policy makers, chart the future with greater clarity.