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Selcuk Sirin

Professor of Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology


As an applied psychologist, I use empirical research methods to better understand the needs of children and families, and to arm professionals and policy makers with this knowledge so as to better address the needs of the most vulnerable. As summarized in Figure 1, the goal, that unites all of my work, is to enhance the lives of marginalized children using development in context as a general framework. I focus on immigrant children in New York, Muslim youth in the US, refugees in Turkey and Norway, and students at risk in US schools.

I have published my work in top journals, such as Child DevelopmentDevelopmental PsychologyReview of Educational Research, and Pediatrics, in an effort to inform scholars, practitioners, and policy makers about marginalized children. I have also made a concerted effort to get my work to a wider audience both locally and globally, as I believe strongly in “giving scientific knowledge away.” I have served on several policy committees such as the National Academy of Sciences, the Urban Institute, and the Migration Policy Institute. I have collaborated with UNESCO and Save the Children, in their efforts to improve the lives of refugee children.

Currently, I direct the following research projects in his research lab.

New York City Academic and Social Engagement Study (NYCASES) is a three-year longitudinal study of urban youth through high school. The study will identify the degree to which individual, family, and school characteristics predict the changes in educational outcomes of youth throughout their high school years, from 10th grade to 12th grade. The first wave of data were gathered in Spring 2008 semester with a cohort of 517 10th graders. This project is funded by NYU Challenge Grant and the Spencer Foundation.

The Longitudinal Immigrant Families and Teachers Study (LIFTS) is a three-year examination of parent and teacher perceptions of first graders with immigrant parents. The goal of this study is to understand how parent and teacher practices and values influence their perception of children’s academic achievement and psychological well-being. The first wave of data was gathered during the Spring 2007 with a cohort of 191 first graders. This project is funded by the Foundation for Child Development.

Meta-Analysis of Immigrant Paradox . Why do new immigrants tend to have more positive developmental and educational outcomes than those who are more acculturated to the United States? Dr. Sirin has designed a meta-analysis with Dr. Amy Marks (Suffolk University) to answer this much debated question immigrant paradox. Once completed in the next two years the project will not only provide the first meta-analytic review in the literature, but it will also identify critical moderators of acculturation-outcomes relations such as the role of ethnic origin (e.g., Asian vs. Latino), developmental phase (e.g., early childhood, middle childhood, adolescence and young adulthood), and research methodology (e.g., the type of acculturation measure and outcome measures). This project is funded by Jacobs Foundation.

NYU-Bahcesehir Collaborative Research Project is an international collaboration to build research capacity and to create an opportunity for Turkish and American students and faculty to better understand each other’s cultures through research and scholarship.

Selected Publications

  • Sirin, S. R. & Aber, L. (Eds.). (2017). Syrian refugee children. [Special issue]. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies.
  • Sirin, S. R., & Balsano, A. B. (Eds.). (2007). Pathways to identity and positive development among Muslim youth: International perspectives [Special issue]. Applied Developmental Science, 11(3).
  • PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL ARTICLES: *graduate, or **undergraduate student at time of publication
  • Sirin, S.R, Sin, E.J*,Clingain, C*., & Rogers-Sirin, L. (2019). Acculturative stress and mental health: Implications for immigrant-origin youth. Pediatric Clinics of North America.
  • Sirin, S. R. & Aber, J. L. (2018). Increasing understanding for Syrian refugee children with empirical evidence. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 13(2). 7-18.
  • Sirin, S. R., Plass, J. L. Homer, B. D. Vatanartiran, S., & Tsai, T. (2018). Digital game-based education for Syrian refugee children: Project Hope. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 13(2). 1-6.
  • Oppedal, B., Ozer, S., & Sirin, S. R. (2018). Traumatic events, social support and depression: Syrian refugee children in Turkish camps. Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, 13(2). 46-59.


Human Development Research and Policy

The Human Development Research and Policy program prepares students to pursue careers as research project directors, research coordinators, and more.

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Research Methods in Applied Psychology II

In-depth look at specific quantitative and qualitative methodologies in the social sciences discussed and application of methodological understanding gained in previous research methods course, including: developing skills in coding and analyzing data, assessing and improving reliability of measures, and presenting results. Students also learn about special problems of design and measurement when research extends beyond the individual.
Course #
APSY-UE 1137
Applied Psychology

The Development of Immigrant Origin Youth

This course is designed to introduce students to research on the adaptation of immigrant origin youth. The course will concentrate on psychological, anthropological, sociological, and educational contributions to the study of immigrant children and adolescents. We will review the growing presence of immigrant youth in public schools in the United States and other post-industrial societies. We will consider a variety of stressors involved in the process of immigration along with the concomitant repercussions on the martial dyad, family relationships, and on the children themselves. We will explore the relevant literature on community forces, marginality, and minority status. We will consider the new research efforts to describe the various pathways immigrant children take in (trans)forming their developing identities. Lastly, we will examine the critical role of the educational experience on the adaptation of immigrant youth.
Course #
APSY-GE 2527
Applied Psychology