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Shabnam Javdani

Associate Professor of Applied Psychology

Applied Psychology

(212) 992-9739

Shabnam Javdani is a clinical and community psychologist who examines and intervenes in the health and mental health disparities created by persistent inequality. Javdani completed her doctoral work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012, and completed an APA-approved clinical internship in the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago prior to coming to Steinhardt.

The overarching goal of her scholarship is to understand and reduce the development of inequality-related mental health and legal problems and study community and institutional responses to these complex challenges. Javdani's research hopes to advance our understanding of people in context, and to identify meaningful individual- and ecological-level solutions. Javdani approaches this goal with three interrelated areas of inquiry.

The first examines adult and adolescent pathways to violence and disruptive behavior problems. This line of research advances context- and gender-sensitive models to understand crime, addressing the fact that women and girls currently represent the largest growing segments of the criminal and juvenile legal systems. In particular, Javdani investigates the influence of individual and structural trauma (e.g., risky dating relationships), the role of school police and discipline, and access to neighborhood and community resources. At a more macro level, Javdani also investigates the juvenile and criminal legal systems, and how the response of these systems (e.g., policies and practices) may affect outcomes for youth and adults.

The second examines the community and systems’ response to the challenges created by persistent inequality. A particular aspect of this inquiry involves studying the influence of gender. In the context of this work, Javdani conceptualizes and operationalizes gender as both an individual level attribute and a social grouping category with associated gender norms and roles (e.g., Javdani examines women's subjugated roles in intimate partner relationships as a context in which health disparities may arise).

The third integrates research and action to develop and study interventions that target individuals, settings, and systems to reduce and resist inequality, with a focus on evidence-based interventions for youth at risk for legal system contact. For instance, Javdani designed and is experimentally evaluating NYC ROSES, a strengths-based, youth-centered advocacy approach to target changes in girls' opportunity structures (e.g., through providing access to needed resources) and investigates the extent to which such changes are associated with promotion of positive outcomes (e.g., resilience, academic achievement) and reduction of negative outcomes (e.g., arrest/incarceration, mental health symptoms). In addition, Javdani is developing and tailoring a staff training and coaching intervention for incarcerated youth in NYC (SAFE Spaces, with PI Godfrey), and has partnered with the Vera Institute of Justice to examine the practice and policy shifts necessary to end the incarceration of girls at local and national levels.

Across components, Javdani's program of research is characterized by a social justice focus, with an emphasis on the application of research for the urban poor and in under-resourced communities. Javdani uses a variety of methodological approaches, including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methodologies.

Selected Publications

  • Javdani, S. (2019). Policing Education: An empirical review of the challenges and impact of the work of school police officers. American Journal of Community Psychology. (view)
  • Javdani, S., Sadeh, N., White, H.I1., Emerson, E.M., Houck, C., Brown, L.K. & Donenberg, G.R. (2019). Contextualizing pubertal development: The combination of sexual partners' age and pubertal development confers risk for externalizing but not internalizing symptoms among girls in therapeutic day schools. Journal of Adolescence, 71, 84-90.(view)
  • Sichel, C.E., Burson, E., Javdani, S., & Godfrey, E.M. (2019). Theorizing trauma-informed settings: Supporting the staff of youth residential facilities. . American Journal of Community Psychology.
  • Stults, C.B., Javdani, S., Kapadia, F., & Halkitis, P. N. (in press). Determinants of intimate partner violence among young men who have sex with men: The P18 cohort study. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
  • Javdani, S. (in press). Critical Issues in Juvenile Justice Research, Prevention, and Intervention. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community.
  • Jumarali, S., Mandiyan, D. & Javdani, S. (in press). Centering Justice: Transforming Paradigms of Approach, Design and Implementation. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community.


Dissertation Proposal Seminar I

Evaluation & development of research proposals by doctoral students.
Course #
APSY-GE 3001

Research Methods in Applied Psychology I

Overview of diverse research designs & essential components of research methods, including: formulation of questions & hypotheses, identification of variables & operational definitions, sampling, data collection, & basic statistical & psychometric techniques. Students learn the basic elements & logic of social science research & develop a conceptual understanding of statistical & psychometric techniques.
Course #

Research Methods in Applied Psychology II

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