P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale

Associate Provost for Faculty | Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy


P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale is an expert on the interface between research and social policy for children and families, a former American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Science Fellow, and the first developmental psychologist to be tenured in a public policy school in the United States. She is professor of human development and social policy at the School of Education and Social Policy and was founding director for seven years of the NICHD-funded center Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University.

She specializes in multidisciplinary research on social issues and how they affect families and the development of children and youth. Much of her work addresses family and program strengths that lead to children's positive social and educational outcomes in the context of economic hardship. Specific topics include two-generation educational interventions for young parents and children, early childhood education, postsecondary education and training for low-income young adults, immigration, welfare reform, maternal employment, marriage and cohabitation, parent-child relationships, and social disparities in health.

Chase-Lansdale is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow in the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. She is the recipient of the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) Social Policy Award as well as the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children. In recent years, Chase-Lansdale has received a grant from the Foundation for Child Development to mentor scholars of color at all levels (undergraduate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral students). She also was selected for the inaugural cohort of the Aspen Institute's Ascend Fellowship, designed to bring innovative leaders together to promote a two-generation approach in policy, practice, and research, with the goal of assisting low-income parents and young children toward educational success and economic security. She serves on the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program, and she recently chaired the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Chase-Lansdale received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan in 1981.

Current Research

Two-Generation Education Interventions. In 2008, Chase Lansdale launched an action-research project on education and workforce programs for young, low-income parents, combined with high-quality, early childhood education programs for children. Currently, she is collaborating with Jeanne Brooks-Gunn of Columbia University, Christopher King of the University of Texas at Austin, Hiro Yoshikawa of Harvard University, and the antipoverty agency Community Action Program (CAP) of Tulsa, Okla., to expand and study a model program called CareerAdvance®. This is a newly created education and workforce development program designed for low-income parents of young children enrolled in CAP’s early childhood education programs. CareerAdvance® also provides a number of key supportive components—career coaches, financial incentives, and peer group meetings—to prepare parents for high-demand jobs in the healthcare sector. To date, the two-generation approach of CareerAdvance® is the only human capital  program with the goal of improving outcomes simultaneously for both parents and children.

Chase-Lansdale’s research program addresses the influence of two-generation interventions on the psychological health, educational attainment, and economic well-being of families and children. She is also collaborating with IPR research associate professor Teresa Eckrich Sommer and the Evanston Community Foundation to develop and study a two-generation program in Evanston, Ill. Funding for her research has come from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Foundation for Child Development.

Selected Publications


Smuts, A., R. Smuts, and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. 2006. Science in the Service of Children: 1893–1935. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Chase-Lansdale, P.L., K.E. Kiernan, and R.J. Friedman (eds.) 2004. Human Development Across Lives and Generations: The Potential for Change. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Duncan, G.J., and P.L. Chase-Lansdale (eds.) 2001. For Better and for Worse: Welfare Reform and the Well-being of Children and Families. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Articles, Chapters, and Policy Briefs

Gardner, R., J. Brooks-Gunn, and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. In press. The two-generation approach to building human capital: Past, present and future. In E. Votruba-Drzal & E. Dearing, eds., Handbook of Early Childhood Development Programs, Practices, and Policies: Theory-Based and Empirically-Supported Strategies for Promoting Young Children's Growth in the United States. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Dunifon, R., K. Kopko, P.L. Chase-Lansdale, and L. Wakschlag. In press. Multigenerational relationships in families with custodial grandparents. In M.H. Meyer & Y. Adbul-Malak, eds., Grandparenting in the U.S. New York: Baywood Publishing.

Yoshikawa, H., A. Nieto, T. Sommer, P.L. Chase-Lansdale, et al. 2016. Money, time and peers in antipoverty programs for low-income families. In C.S. Tamis-LeMonda and L. Balter, eds., Child Psychology: A Handbook of Contemporary Issues. New York: Taylor and Francis.

Sommer, T., T. Sabol, P.L. Chase-Lansdale, and J. Brooks-Gunn. 2016. Two-generation education programs for parents and children. In S. Jones & N. Lesaux, eds., The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education: Linking Science to Policy for a New Generation of Pre-Kindergarten. Boston, MA: Harvard Education Press.

Sabol, T., T. Sommer, P.L. Chase-Lansdale, et al. 2015. Parents' persistence and certification in a two-generation education and training program. Children and Youth Services Review 58: 1–10.

Sabol, T., P.L. Chase-Lansdale, and J. Brooks-Gunn. 2015. Advancing the science of child development: Do we need a new household survey? Journal of Economic and Social Measurement 40(1-4): 221–25.

Sabol, T., and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. 2015. The influence of low-income children’s participation in Head Start on their parents’ education and employment. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Chase-Lansdale, P.L., and J. Brooks-Gunn. 2014. Helping parents, helping children: Two-generation mechanisms. The Future of Children 24(1): 13–39.

Garfield, C., G. Duncan, J. Rutsohn, T. McDade, E. Adam, R. Coley, and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. 2014. A longitudinal study of paternal mental health during transition to fatherhood as young adults. Pediatrics 133(5): 836–843.

Sommer, T., P.L. Chase-Lansdale, J. Brooks-Gunn, M. Gardner, D. Rauner, and K. Freel. 2012. Early childhood education centers and mothers’ postsecondary attainment: A new conceptual framework for a dual-generation education intervention. Teachers College Record 114(10): 1–40.

D'Angelo, A., N. Palacios, and P L. Chase-Lansdale. 2012. Latino immigrant differences in father involvement with infants. Fathering 10(2):178–212.

Pittman, L., L. Wakschlag, P.L. Chase-Lansdale, and J. Brooks-Gunn. 2012. "Mama, I’m a person, too!”: Individuation and young African-American mothers’ parenting competence. In Adolescence and Beyond: Family Processes and Development, ed. P. Kerig, M. Schulz, and S. Hauser. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hoyt, L., T. McDade, L. Chyu, G. Duncan, L. Doane, P.L. Chase-Lansdale, and E. Adam. 2012. Positive youth, healthy adults: Does positive well-being in adolescence predict better health in young adulthood? Journal of Adolescent Health 50(1): 66–73.

Trawalter, S., E. Adam, P. L. Chase-Lansdale, and J. Richeson. 2012. Concerns about appearing prejudiced get under the skin: Stress responses to interracial contact in the moment and across time. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 48(3): 682–93.

Adam, E., L. Chyu, T. Till, L. Doane, G. Duncan, P.L. Chase-Lansdale, J. Boisjoly, and T. McDade. 2011. Adverse relationship histories and young adult health: Cumulative effects of low parent support, intimate partner violence, relationship instability, loneliness and loss. Journal of Adolescent Health 49(3): 278–86.

Chase-Lansdale, P.L., A. Cherlin, K. Guttmannova, P. Fomby, D. Ribar, and R. Coley. 2010. Long-term implications of welfare reform for the development of adolescents and young adults. Children and Youth Services Review 33(5): 678–88.

Votruba-Drzal, E., R. Coley, C. Li-Grining, and P. L. Chase-Lansdale. 2010. Child care and the socioemotional development of economically disadvantaged children in middle childhood. Child Development 81(5): 1460–74.

Chase-Lansdale, P. L., A. D’Angelo, and P. Palacios. 2009. A multidisciplinary perspective on the development of young children in Mexican American immigrant families. In Immigrant Families in Contemporary Society, ed. J. Lansford, K. Deater-Deckard, and M. Bornstein, 137–56. New York: Guilford Press.

Palacios, N., K. Gutmannova, and P. L. Chase-Lansdale. 2008. Immigrant differences in early reading achievement: Evidence from the ECLS-K. Developmental Psychology 44(5): 1381–95.

Li-Grining, C., E. Votruba-Drzal, H. Bachman, and P. L. Chase-Lansdale. 2006. Are certain preschoolers at risk in the era of welfare reform? The moderating role of children's temperament. Children and Youth Services Review 28(9): 1102–23.

Smuts, A., with R. Smuts, B. Smuts, and P.L. Chase-Lansdale. 2006. Science in the Service of Children: 1893-1935. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Seltzer, J., C. Bachrach, S. Bianchi, C. Bledsoe, L. Casper, P. L. Chase-Lansdale, et al. 2005. Explaining family change and variation: Challenges for family demographers. Journal of Marriage and Family 67(4): 908–25.

Gordon, R., P. L. Chase-Lansdale, and J. Brooks-Gunn. 2004. Extended households and the life course of young mothers: Understanding the associations using a sample of mothers with premature, low birth weight babies. Child Development 75(4): 1013–38.

Chase-Lansdale, P. L., and E. Votruba-Drza. 2004. Human development and the potential for change from the perspective of multiple disciplines: What have we learned? In Human Development Across Lives and Generations: The Potential for Change, ed. P. L. Chase-Lansdale, K. Kiernan, and R. Friedman, 343–66. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chase-Lansdale, P. L., R. Moffitt, B. Lohman, A. Cherlin, R. Coley, L. Pittman, J. Roff, and E. Votruba-Drzal. 2003. Mothers’ transitions from welfare to work and the well-being of preschoolers and adolescents. Science 299(5612): 1548–52.