Larissa Gaias, PhD

Assistant Professor, Psychology
University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • Biography
  • Projects
  • Publications

Larissa Gaias, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dr. Gaias’ program of research focuses on child and adolescent development in schools and other informal education contexts. In particular, she focuses on how schools can reduce pervasive educational disparities and better support the academic achievement, socio-emotional development, and behavioral health of marginalized youth, including students of color and youth affected by violence, both within the United States and internationally. Her work uses a prevention science lens to develop, implement, and evaluate school-based programs and policies to reduce disproportionality and enhance equity in educational and behavioral outcomes. She is passionate about developing partnerships with school districts, policy makers, and other community organizations to establish collaborative projects that translate research into action.

This large scale efficacy study, conducted in 12 high schools in four states (VT, NH, IL, MD), tests whether the RENEW (Rehabilitation, Empowerment, Natural supports, Education and Work) program can improve social-emotional functioning and academic performance for the estimated 5-10% of high school students at risk for school failure due to mental, emotional, and behavioral (MEB) challenges.
This project will iteratively develop and pilot a brief professional development training to enhance teachers' skills in establishing, maintaining, and restoring relationships with high school students, particularly those from marginalized racial/ethnic groups.
The goal of the Minority Engagement and Disproportionality Reduction project (MENDR) is to develop an authentic research partnership between Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and the University of Washington School Mental Health Research, Assessment, and Training (UW SMART) Center, focused on the problem of practice of racial and ethnic disproportionality in discipline. Through MENDR, we will improve SPS’s capacity to use research – to identify schools with disproportionality and causes of disproportionality – and engage in a joint effort to develop, implement, and test an approach for disproportionality prevention and reduction.
Using stakeholder input to guide cultural and contextual adaptations for a universal school-based intervention.(2020)The Urban Review, Advanced Online Copy
Race and ethnicity in educational intervention research: a systematic review and recommendations for sampling, reporting, and analysis(2020)Educational Research Review31:
The influence of a blended, theoretically-informed pre-implementation strategy on school-based clinician implementation of an evidence-based trauma intervention.(2019)Implementation Science14(54):1-16.
Examining teachers’ classroom management profiles: Incorporating a focus on culturally responsive practice(2019)Journal of School Psychology76:124-139.
Positive school climate as a moderator of violence exposure for Colombian adolescents(2019)American Journal of Community Psychology63:17-31.
Diversity exposure in preschool: Longitudinal implications for cross-race friendships and racial bias(2018)Applied Developmental Psychology59:5-15.
Kindergarten teachers’ instructional priority misalignment and job satisfaction: A mixed methods analysis(2018)Teachers College Record120(12):1-38.
Understanding school-neighborhood mesosystemic effects on adolescent development(2017)Adolescent Research Review3(3):301-391.
Considering child effortful control in the context of teacher effortful control: Implications for kindergarten success(2016)Learning and Individual Differences45:199-207.