Research at the Boston College School of Social Work is about more than publishing papers—our faculty and students analyze emerging trends in hopes of breaking new ground in the field, and uncovering innovative ways to address social problems locally and globally.    

Our Research Focus


Improving the Lives of Priority Populations

Our researchers are committed to fully engaging with people to understand their lived experiences in order to co-design the most effective interventions and programs. BCSSW research focuses attention on communities that experience disproportionate social, health, and economic disparities in the United States, including the following:

Latinx Communities

Black Communities

Homeless and Housing Insecure Communities

Older (or Aging) Populations

Low-wage Workers

Child and Family Well-being

Many factors contribute to child and family well-being, including maternal access to prenatal care, environmental factors such as housing and food insecurity, and even societal issues like structural racism. Our researchers are focused on numerous topics related to child well-being including:

Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Child Abuse Prevention

Positive Parenting  

Maternal Health 

Focus on Fathers 

Global Research

BCSSW faculty forge strong collaborative relationships with government officials and policymakers to ensure effective interventions can be scaled and sustained, and our implementation partners include leading humanitarian organizations and local NGOs. Our global research includes the following areas of focus:

Research Partnerships in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)

Refugees and Migrants

Children and Families in Humanitarian Settings

Environment and Sustainable Development

Community-engaged Research

A key strength of our partnerships is application of novel approaches that enable community members to engage in intervention planning, design, and implementation. These methods center community voice, enable shared decision-making, and ensure culturally appropriate and relevant interventions and outcome measures. Our methods prioritize:

Research-Practice Partnerships 

Participatory Research and Design

Participatory Modeling

Place-based Research

Centers, Labs, & Programs

item match your criteria

Affirm Lab
<p>The Affirm Lab conducts research on youths who are stigmatized for their race, gender, and/or sexual identity as well as on the methods used to improve their care. The goal of the research is to improve the mental health and overall well-being of stigmatized youths.</p>
Cell to Society
<h3>Contact: <a href="">Jessica Black</a></h3>
<p>Merging neuroscience and social work, the Cell to Society Lab examines neuroimaging studies of at-risk children and teenagers to understand the impact of social context on brain development.</p>
Center for Social Innovation
<p>The Center promotes faculty research and expertise in the design, implementation, and assessment of innovative social interventions to complex social problems. CSI's goal is to improve life in diverse and vulnerable communities through sustainable approaches focused on data, iteration, and collaboration.</p>
Center on Aging & Work
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<p>The Center promotes opportunity, choice, and quality of paid and unpaid work across the lifespan, with a focus on older adults. The Center's research studies and engagement with a multi-disciplinary network of scholars and practitioners strives to translate research into practice.</p>
Macondo Lab
<p>The Macondo Lab, which stands for &quot;Mothers and Children of All Nations Defying the Odds,&quot; conducts research into mental health issues facing immigrant families, with a special focus on Venezuelan families who have migrated to Colombia and Latinx families living in the U.S.</p>
Racism-based Violence Injury & Prevention Lab
<p>This lab studies the interplay between racism, violence, and trauma among Black emerging adults 18 to 29 years of age. The goal is to provide evidence-based science that informs the development of culturally relevant prevention and intervention practices that combat racism-based violence.<br /> </p>
Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA)
<p>This program investigates key mechanisms shaping child development and mental health, focusing on the resilience of children facing multiple forms of adversity such as poverty, conflict, and infectious disease. The RPCA develops targeted psychosocial interventions that can be delivered effectively in low-resource settings.</p>

By the Numbers


Grants Awarded

Prev. 3 fiscal years


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Paid student research positions


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