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Larissa Gaias

Larissa Gaiais is an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at UMass Lowell.
Larissa Michelle Gaias, Ph.D Assistant Professor


Educational equity; anti-bias and culturally responsive interventions; school mental health; social-emotional and behavioral development; prevention and implementation science; community partnerships.

Research Interests

The research of Larissa Gaias, Ph.D. examines how school contexts can better support the development of students who have been historically marginalized, particularly youth of color and youth affected by violence. She focuses on integrating an equity lens into the development, implementation, and evaluation of school-based social-emotional, behavioral, and mental health interventions to reduce pervasive racial/ethnic disparities in educational outcomes. Gaias' research integrates perspectives from prevention and implementation science, human development, and educational and community psychology. Gaias is also passionate about building collaborations across research, practice, and policy. She values opportunities to collaborate with districts, schools, educators, community organizations, and policy makers to develop feasible, sustainable, effective, and equitable strategies for supporting students.


  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: School Mental Health & Implementation Science, (2018), School Mental Health Assessment, Research, & Training Center, University of Washington - Seattle, WA
  • Ph D: Family and Human Development, (2018), Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ
    Dissertation/Thesis Title:Exploring the Role of School Practices in Supporting Marginalized Students
  • MS: Family & Human Development, (2015), Arizona State University - Tempe, AZ
    Dissertation/Thesis Title:Integrating Anti-Bias Education into the Measurement of Early Childhood Education Quality
  • BA: Psychology & Environmental Studies, (2011), Bowdoin College - Brunswick, ME

Selected Publications

  • Gaias, L. M., Duong, M. T., Pullmann, M. D., Brewer, S., Smilansky, M., Halbert, M., Carey, C. M., & Jones, J. (2020). Race and ethnicity in education research: A systematic review and recommendations for sampling, reporting, and analysis. Educational Research Review, 31, doi: 10.1016/j.edurev.2020.100356 
  • Gaias, L. M., Cook, C., Nguyen, L., Brewer, S. K., Brown, E. C., Duong, M., Kiche, S., Shi, S., Buntain-Ricklefs, & Duong, M. T. (2020). A mixed methods pilot study of an equity-explicit student-teacher relationship intervention for the ninth-grade transition. Journal of School Health, 90(12), 1004-1018. doi: 10.1111/josh.12968 
  • Taylor, M., Pratt, M., Gaias, L. M., van Huisstede, L., & Gal, D. (2020). Improving parenting to promote school readiness: A preliminary evaluation of the Books Can...© public library program. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 8(2), 47-57. doi: 10.11114/jets.v8i2.4544 
  • Duong, M. T., Nguyen, L., Gaias, L. M., Benjamin, K. S., Lee, K., Buntain-Ricklefs, J., & Cook, C. R. (2020). Using stakeholder input to guide cultural and contextual adaptations for a universal school-based intervention. The Urban Review, 52(5), 853-879. doi: 10.1007/s11256-019-00547-w 
  • Gaias, L. M., Lindstrom Johnson, S., Bottiani, J. H., Debnam, K. J., & Bradshaw, C. P. (2019). Examining teachers' classroom management profiles: Incorporating a focus on culturally responsive practice. Journal of School Psychology, 76, 124-139. doi: 10.1016/j.jsp.2019.07.017 
  • Gaias, L. M., Lindstrom Johnson, S., White, R. M. B., Pettigrew, J., & Dumka, L. (2019). Positive school climate as a moderator of violence exposure for Colombian adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 63, 17-31. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12300 
  • Gaias, L. M., Gal, D., Abry, T., Taylor, M., & Granger, K. L. (2018). Diversity exposure in preschool: Longitudinal implications for cross-race friendships and racial bias. Applied Developmental Psychology, 59, 5-15. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2018.02.005 
  • Gaias, L. M., Jimenez, M., Abry, T., Granger, K. L., & Taylor, M. (2018). Kindergarten teachers' instructional priority misalignment and job satisfaction: A mixed methods analysis. Teachers College Record, 120(12), 1-38. 
  • Gaias, L. M., Lindstrom Johnson, S., White, R.M.B, Pettigrew, J., & Dumka, L. (2017). Understanding school-neighborhood mesosystemic Effects on adolescent development. Adolescent Research Review, 3(3), 301-391. doi: 10.1007/s40894-017-0077-9 
  • Gaias, L. M., Abry, T., Swanson, J. & Fabes, R. A., & Bradley, R. H. (2016). Considering child effortful control in the context of teacher effortful control: Implications for kindergarten success. Learning and Individual Differences, 45, 199-207. doi: 10.1016/j.lindif.2015.11.016 
  • Gaias, L.M., Raikkonen, K., Komsi, N., Gartstein, M.A., Fisher, P.A., & Putnam, S. P. (2012). Temperamental differences in infants, children, and adults in the United States and Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 53, 119-128. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9450.2012.00937.x

Selected Presentations

  • Gaias, L. M. & Duong, M. T. (2020, November). Race and ethnicity in education research: A systematic review and recommendations for sampling, reporting, and analysis. Paper presented at the 2020 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health Research Summit. Virtual Conference. 
  • Gill, T., Curry, C., Pullmann, M., Gaias, L. M., & Cunningham, D. (2020, November). The Disproportionality in Discipline Assessment for Schools: Toward reducing schools' racial educational and health disparities. Conference session at the 2020 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health, Virtual Conference. 
  • Gaias, L. M., Brewer, S. K., Nguyen, L., Lee, K., Cook, C., & Duong, M. (2019, November). RELATE: Building positive student-teacher relationships to reduce racial disparities during the high school transition. Conference session at the 2019 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health, Austin, TX.

Selected Contracts, Fellowships, Grants and Sponsored Research

  • Development of RELATE (Relationships to Enhance Learners' Adjustment to Transitions and Engagement) (), Grant - Institute of Education Sciences Duong, M.T. (Principal), Cook, C.R. (Co-Principal), Gaias, L. (Co-Investigator) 
  • Loan Repayment: Developing, Evaluating, and Implementing School-Based Interventions to Enhance Equity and Reduce Minority Health Disparities (2019), Contract - National Institute of Minority Health Disparities Gaias, L. 
  • SMART Prep (2018), Fellowship - Institute of Education Sciences Gaias, L. 
  • Graduate Research Fellowship (2013), Fellowship - National Science Foundation Gaias, L. 
  • Challenges for Schools for a Culture of Peace in Post-Conflict Colombia: Collaboration with the Observatory for Forced Displacement at the University of Cartagena, Colombia (2016), Grant - National Science Foundation & United States Agency for International Development Gaias, L.