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Stibel Dennett Consortium for Brain and Cognitive Science

Tama Leventhal

Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development
Graduate Program Director (M.A. and Ph.D.)

Tama Leventhal

Tama Leventhal

Eliot Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development
Graduate Program Director (M.A. and Ph.D.)

Phone 617-627-3455
105 College Avenue, Medford, MA
Ph.D., Columbia University

Neighborhood and community context; housing context; family context; poverty and socioeconomic status; social policy; adolescence; immigrant young children

Research Interests: 

My research is at the intersection of child development and social policy. My primary line of research focuses on the role of neighborhood contexts in the lives of children, youth, and families. In this work, I examine whether the neighborhoods where children and youth live matter for their development, for whom they matter most, when they matter most for child development, and how they might matter. Another related line of research, addressing similar issues, centers on housing and residential mobility.

I have been a Co-Investigator on most of the leading experimental and non-experimental neighborhood studies including the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration (MTO), the Yonkers Family and Community Project, and the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN). I was an Adolescence Investigator for Phase IV of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, which followed this birth cohort through 15 years of age, and am one of several investigators continuing to follow this cohort into their early 20s. Most recently, I joined the MacArthur Network on Housing and Families with Children, which is launching a new data collection effort to understand how housing and the interrelated contexts of neighborhoods, schools, and families contribute to the development of young children from low-income families.

I was formerly a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Postdoctoral Urban Scholar and a William T. Grant Scholar and am currently a Foundation for Child Development Changing Faces of America's Children Young Scholar.

Selected Publications and Presentations: 

Coley Levine, R., Leventhal, T. Doyle Lynch, A. , & Krull, M. (in press). Relations between housing characteristics and the well-being of low-income children and adolescents. Developmental Psychology.

Dupéré, V., Leventhal, T., & Vitaro, F. (2012). Neighborhood processes, self-efficacy, and adolescent mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 53(2), 183-193.

Leventhal, T. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2011). Changes in neighborhood poverty from 1990 to 2000 and youth's problem behaviors. Developmental Psychology, 47(6), 1680-1698.

Leventhal, T. & Dupéré, V. (2011). Moving to Opportunity: Does long-term exposure to low-poverty neighborhoods make a difference for adolescents? Social Science and Medicine, 73, 737-743.

Dupéré, V., Leventhal, T., Crosnoe, R. & Dion, E. (2010). Understanding the positive role of neighborhood socioeconomic advantage in achievement: The contribution of the home, child care and school environments. Developmental Psychology, 46(5), 1227-1244.

Popkin, S. J., Leventhal, T., & Weismann, G. (2010). Girls in the 'hood: Reframing safety and its impact on health and behavior. Urban Affairs Review, 45(6), 715-744.

Roche, K. & Leventhal, T. (2009). Beyond neighborhood poverty: Family management, neighborhood disorder, and adolescents' early sexual onset. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(6), 819-827.

Leventhal, T. & Newman, S. (2010). Housing and child development. Children and Youth Service Review, 32 (9), 1165-1174.

Fauth, R., Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2008). Seven years later: Effects of a neighborhood mobility program on poor Back and Latino adults' well-being. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 49, 119-130.

Kohen, D., Leventhal, T., Dahinten, V. S., & McIntosh, C. (2008). Neighborhood disadvantage: Pathways of effects for young children. Child Development, 79(1), 156-169.

Leventhal, T., Xue, Y., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2006). Immigrant differences in school-age children's verbal trajectories: A look at four racial/ethnic groups. Child Development, 77(5), 1359-1374.

Browning, C. R., Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2005). Sexual initiation in early adolescence: The Nexus of parental and community control. American Sociological Review, 70(5), 758-778.

Leventhal, T., Fauth, R, C., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2005). Neighborhood poverty and public policy: A 5-year follow-up of children's educational outcomes in the New York City Moving to Opportunity Demonstration. Developmental Psychology, 41(6), 933-952.

Leventhal, T. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003). Moving to Opportunity: An experimental study of neighborhood effects on mental health. American Journal of Public Health, 93 (3), 1576-1582.

Leventhal, T. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2000). The neighborhoods they live in: Effects of neighborhood residence on child and adolescent outcomes. Psychological Bulletin, 126(2), 309-337.