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Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Jayanthi Mistry

Professor and Chair

Jayanthi Mistry

Professor and Chair

Phone 617-627-2038
105 College Avenue, Medford, MA

I am an applied developmental and cultural psychologist who seeks to understand the multiple and diverse realities of the human experience within and across nations, in an increasingly complex, rapidly changing, and interconnected world. Towards this goal, my scholarship and teaching are based broadly on a sociocultural perspective that recognizes individual development as situated in context, with culture as the meaning-making processes through which individual and context are integrated. A unifying theme of my current research projects is a focus on narratives of developmental processes and transitions, because these foreground individuals as active agents making sense of their encounters with developmental contexts.

Current research projects are broadly aimed at examining the dynamic and fluid processes of development, using interpretive research approaches, including person-centered and idiographic analytic methods. In a current line of research on the development of self and identity, I use a narrative approach to study the processes of identity development and how context matters in the construction of identity. Other ongoing research projects broadly address issues of equity and access, including analysis of narratives of unfair treatment and how narrators make sense of these experiences; perceived discrimination in neighborhood contexts; and narrative analysis of young mothers’ educational and early parenting trajectories.

Prior to joining Tufts University, I worked at the Center for the Development of Early Education at Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu, where I was engaged in research and program development projects for early childhood education. Since then, I have maintained a commitment to developing effective collaborations with practitioners in educational and community-based human service settings. With colleagues on the RISE Project (Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering), we have worked to co-construct curriculum and professional development supports for Head Start teachers, building on children's existing knowledge and experiences in home and community contexts.

Another ongoing collaboration is with the City Lights Writing Collaborative that 'uses writing as a platform for creative youth development, critical thinking, and civic engagement'. This project led by Kerri Bowen (AG00, AG10), the executive director of the Boston Shakespeare Project, consists of collaborative writing projects that connect local middle, high school, and college students to craft and share their stories with the community.

Ph.D., Department of Child Development & Family Studies, Purdue University
M.S., Child Development, M.S. University of Baroda, India
B.S., Child Development, Punjab Agricultural University, India

Theoretical perspectives on the integration of culture and human development; Narratives of identity and place in communities; Navigating multiple cultural worlds, with a focus on ethnic minority, immigrant, and under-represented communities; Interpretive and Narrative Analysis methods in the study of children and families.

Selected Professional Activities: 
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Adolescent Research (2016-current)
  • Associate Editor, Applied Developmental Science (2015-2017)
  • Tisch College Faculty Fellow, Tufts University (2005-2007)
  • Consulting Editor, Child Development (2007-2010)
  • Alumni Achievement Award, HDFS Department, M.S. University, India (1997)
  • Fulbright Lecturing Fellowship (1996-1997)
  • American Association of University Women, Alice Palmer Fellowship (1996-1997)
Selected Publications and Presentations: 

Kiyama, F. & Mistry, (in press). Not all Asians are the Same: Chinese and Vietnamese American Adolescents' awareness of marginalization and invisibility. To appear in the Asian American Journal of Psychology.

Mistry, J. & Kiyama, F. (2021). Navigating Marginalization and Invisibility as Asian Americans in the U.S. American Psychologist, Vol. 76(4): 582-595.

McWayne, C., Mistry, J., Hyun, S., Diez, V., Parker, C., Zan, B., Greenfield, D., Brenneman, K. (2020). A home-to-school approach for family engagement: Leveraging children's familiar knowledge and cultural communities in preschool STEM curriculum. Young Children. Vol. 75(5).

Schildkraut, D., Mistry, J. (2020). Identity, Discrimination, and Civic Engagement. Tufts Research Group on Equity in Health, Wealth and Civic Engagement.

McWayne, C., Mistry, J., Brenneman, K., Zan, B., Greenfield, D. (2020). A model of co-construction for curriculum and professional development in Head Start: The Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE) Approach. Teachers College Record, 122(11).

Pufall-Jones, E. & Mistry, J. (2019). The sociocultural processes of child development. In C. Brown, M. B. McMullen, & N. File (Eds.). The Wiley Handbook of Early Childhood Care and Education. Pp. 59-78. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, Blackwell Publishing.

McWayne, C. M., Mistry, J., Brenneman, K., Greenfield, D., Zan, B. (2018). Supporting Family Engagement in STE Curriculum Among Low-Income Immigrant Families with Preschool Children. Promising Practices for Engaging Families in STEM Learning: Volume in Family-School-Community Partnership Issues (pp. 79-95). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Reddy, J., Mistry, J. & Jacobs, F. (2017). Rapid Repeat Birth: Interpretations about Parenting among Multiparous Adolescent Mothers. Journal of Adolescent Research,Vol. 32, 6: pp. 696-718.

Mistry, J., Li, J., Yoshikawa, H., Tseng, V., Tirrell, J., Kiang, L., Mistry, R., & Wang, Y. (2016). An integrated conceptual framework for the development of Asian American children and youth. Child Development, 87(4), 1014-1042.

Mistry, J., Easterbrooks, A., Fauth, R., Raskin, M., Jacobs, F., & Goldberg, J. (2016). Heterogeneity among adolescent mothers and home visiting program outcomes. Children and Youth Services Review, 65, 86-93.

Jacobs, F., Easterbrooks, M. A., Goldberg, J., Mistry, J., Bumgarner, E., Raskin, M., Fosse, N., & Fauth, R. (2016). Improving adolescent parenting: Results of a randomized controlled trial of a home visiting program for young families. American Journal of Public Health. Vol 106, No. 2.

Pirie, A., Goldstein-Gelb, W., Landaverde, M., Mistry, J., Kim, J., Pufall-Jones, E. & Contreras, M. (2015). When 'el intérprete' is also the 'learner': an innovative youth empowerment project for immigrant youth. Journal of Youth Development, 10(3). Winter issue.

Mistry, J. & Dutta, R. (2015). Human development and culture: Conceptual and methodological Issues. In W. F. Overton & P. C. Molenaar (Eds.), Theory and method. Volume 1 of the Handbook of child psychology and developmental science (7th ed.). Editor-in-chief: R. M. Lerner. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Mistry, J., Contreras, M., & Pufall, E. (2013). Childhood Socialization and Academic Performance of Bicultural Youth. In V. Benet-Martinez & Y.Y. Hong (Eds.), Multicultural Identity: Basic and Applied Psychological Perspectives. Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199796694.013.002

Mistry, J. (2013). Integration of biology and culture in human development. In R. Lerner & J. Benson (Eds). Embodiment and Epigenesis: Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Understanding the Role of Biology within the Relational Developmental System. Elsevier Press.

Mistry, J., Contreras, M., & Dutta, R. (2012). Culture and Child Development. In Lerner, R.L., Easterbrooks, A., & J. Mistry. (Vol. Eds.) Developmental Psychology. Volume 6 of I. Siegel (Series Ed.) Handbook of Psychology (2nd Ed). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Mistry, J. (2011). Integrative Theoretical Perspectives: Nature and Processes of Development. Invited Commentary. Human Development. 54, 44-48.

Saraswathi, T.S., Mistry, J., & Dutta, R. (2011). Reconceptualizing lifespan development through a Hindu perspective. In L. A. Jensen (Ed.), Bridging cultural and developmental psychology: New syntheses in theory and research, (pp 276-300). Oxford University Press.

Pufall, E. & Mistry, J. (2010). Navigating across cultures: Narrative constructions of lived experience. Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research. 4, 151-167.

Diez, V., & Mistry, J. (2010). Early childbearing and educational attainment in a community of mainland Puerto Rican mothers. Journal of Adolescence Research, 25(5), 690-715.

Mistry, J. & Wu, J. (2010). Navigating cultural worlds and negotiating Identities: A conceptual model. Human Development, 53, 5-25.

Mistry, J., Jacobs, F., & Jacobs, L. (2009). Cultural relevance as program-to-community alignment. Journal of Community Psychology, 37(4), 487 – 504.

Mistry, J., I. Deshmukh, & Easterbrooks, M.A. (2006). Culture and Infancy. In A. Slater & M. Lewis (Eds.), Introduction to Infant Development, 2nd edition, New York: Oxford University Press.

Mistry, J. & Diez, V. (2004). Culture and childhood. In H. Goelman & S. Marshall (Eds.) Multiple Lenses, Multiple Images: Perspectives on the Child Across Time, Space and Disciplines. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press.

Mistry, J., Chaudhuri, J., & Diez, V. (2003). Ethnotheories of parenting: Integrating culture and child development. In R.M. Lerner, F. Jacobs, & D. Wertlieb (Eds.) Handbook of Applied Developmental Science: Promoting positive child and family development. CA: Sage Publications.

Mistry, J. & Saraswathi, T.S. (2003). The cultural context of child development. In Lerner, R.L., Easterbrooks, A., & Mistry, J. (Vol. Eds.) Developmental Psychology. Volume 6 of I. Siegel (Series Ed.) Handbook of Psychology. Vol. 6. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Mistry, J. (2001). Narratives in cultural socialization. Human Development, Vol. 44(6), 337-339.

Mistry, J. Rogoff, B. (2001). What is the meaning of meaningful purpose in children's remembering? Istomina Revisited. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 8(1), 28-41.

Rogoff, B., Mistry, J., Goncu, A. & Mosier, C. (1993). Guided participation in cultural activity by toddlers and caregivers. Monographs of the society for research in child development, 58(8), Serial #236.

Teaching/Courses Taught: 
CSHD 062: Childhood across Cultures
CSHD 066: Self & Identity: Navigating Place in Community
CSHD 144: Ethnographic & Qualitative Research in Applied Social Sciences
CSHD 211: Theories of Human Development