Professor, Applied Developmental & Educational Psychology; Director, Boston College Institute of Early Childhood Policy (IECP)
By examining how our earliest encounters with families and educational systems shape development—and how inequality affects these encounters—Rebekah Levine Coley’s work speaks to researchers, students, and community members alike.
Her recent research in economic inequality builds on a career of investigating areas critical to advancing the greater good: family and community poverty; housing and community development; family structure and parenting; father involvement; early childhood education; and youth health risk behaviors.
Coley is a compelling presenter on these topics, chairs and organizes multiple symposia, and serves as principal investigator on several research grants. Her work has appeared in publications as diverse as Science and Teen Vogue.
A leader with several international professional associations, Coley was recently elected co-chair of the Policy and Communications Committee at the Society for Research in Child Development. She’s also co-chair of the Social Policy Committee at the Society for Research on Adolescence and a Consulting Editor with Child Development.
Students working under her leadership know they’ll encounter an environment that challenges them to get beyond “academic journals that only academics read,” as Coley said in an interview. They will have and create opportunities for research that translate into real-world practice that benefits communities.
Investigator, Centre for Children and Families Over the Lifecourse, University of Queensland, Australia
**Professor Coley is looking for new doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars to join her new research grants. Students interested in multi-methods policy-relevant research, particularly those with experience working with racially diverse populations and with Spanish, Cantonese or Mandarin language skills, are particularly encouraged to apply.**
2021-2026 | Targeting Health Disparities through Housing Redevelopment: A Natural Experiment of Housing Quality,Stability, and Economic Integration. (NIH/NIMHD). Principal Investigator. Multi-method natural experiment of public housing redevelopment to address whether improving housing quality, limiting external displacement, and creating mixed-income communities improves children's and adults' physical, mental, and behavioral health.
2021-2023 | Boston College Institute for Early Childhood Policy (Buffett Early Childhood Foundation). Principal Investigator and Director. Cross-disciplinary institute to increase training, research, and interdisciplinary collaboration in the realm of early childhood development, education, and policy.
2021-2023 | Strengths, Assets, and Receipt of Social Services as Protective Factors in the Relationship between Racial Bias and Maternal and Child Health and Developmental Outcomes.(Annie E Casey Foundation). Co-Investigator. Assess how environmental racial bias is linked with maternal and child mental, behavioral, and health among Black families.
2021-2023 | Impact Analysis of Flavor Restrictions and Tobacco 21 Policies on Youth Tobacco Use. (NIH/NCI ). Co-Investigator. Examine the impact of state flavor restrictions and state and federal age 21 tobacco restriction policies on disparities in tobacco use among 14-24 year-old youth.
Resource and Stress Processes Underlying Economic Disparities in Early School Success (National Science Foundation). Principal Investigator. Combines longitudinal data on children’s development and family processes with geocoded data from numerous administrative data sources to delineate resource and stress processes underlying economic disparities in young children’s academic and behavioral success.
ARC Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course (Australian Research Council CE200100025). Co-Investigator. Collaborative research centre seeking to use evidence-based research to reduce intergenerational and long-term economic disadvantage and improve the life chances of poor children and families.
Moving Communities to Opportunity: Exploring Public Housing Redevelopment as a Strategy for Addressing Structural Barriers to Economic Mobility (Russell Sage Foundation & Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). Principal Investigator. Quasi-experimental analysis of whether redeveloping public housing into mixed-income communities affect community resources, stressors, and concentrated disadvantage.
Paternal Influence on Children’s Weight Outcomes (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development). Co-Investigator. Uses longitudinal cohort data to examine predictors of fathers’ parenting behaviors and effects on children’s diet, nutrition, and healthy weight.
Mavis Hetherington Award for Excellence in Applied Developmental Science, American Psychological Association
Fulbright Senior Scholar Award Recipient
Social Policy Award, Society for Research in Adolescence
Editor, Child Evidence Briefs
Co-Chair, Science and Social Policy Committee, Society for Research in Child Development
Steering Committee Member, University-Based Child and Family Policy Consortium
Steering Committee Member, Child Care and Early Education Policy Research Consortium
Consulting Editor, Child Development
Advisory Board Member, Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy