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P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale

Professor Emerita of Human Development and Social Policy

PhD, Developmental Psychology, University of Michigan, 1981

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)/Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Congressional Science Fellow, and the first developmental psychologist to be tenured in a public policy school in the United States. She is the Vice Provost for Academics at Northwestern University, as well as the Frances Willard Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at the School of Education and Social Policy. Chase-Lansdale co-directs the Northwestern Two-Generation Research Initiative and was founding director for seven years of 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 human capital interventions for young parents and children, early childhood education, postsecondary education and training for low-income young adults, family well-being, parent-child relationships, welfare reform, maternal employment, marriage and cohabitation, immigration, and social disparities in health.

Chase-Lansdale is a fellow of the National Academy of Education, 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, the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Policy for Children, and a grant award from the Foundation for Child Development to mentor students of color. She was also a member of 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 opening opportunities for low-income parents and young children to achieve greater educational success and economic security. She served on the National Advisory Committee of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and she chaired the NIH Study Section on Social Sciences and Population Studies as well as the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is currently a member of the Harvard University Board of Overseers. Chase-Lansdale received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan in 1981.

Current Research

Two-Generation Human Capital Interventions. In 2008, Chase Lansdale launched a research project on CareerAdvance®, a model, two-generation education intervention, developed and run by the antipoverty agency CAP Tulsa (Community Action Project of Tulsa County, OK). CareerAdvance® combines education and workforce training for young, low-income parents, with high-quality, early childhood education programs for children. The original research project has evolved into three longitudinal studies that continue into present day.

Together with IPR research associate professor Teresa Eckrich Sommer and IPR developmental psychologist Terri Sabol, Chase-Lansdale evaluates the influence of CareerAdvance® on the psychological health, educational attainment, and economic well-being of families and children. CareerAdvance® provides not only educational programs for both parents and children, but also a number of key supportive components—career coaches, financial incentives, and peer group meetings—to prepare parents for careers in the healthcare sector.

Chase-Lansdale collaborates with Jeanne Brooks-Gunn of Columbia University, Christopher King of the University of Texas at Austin, Amanda Morris of Oklahoma State University, Hiro Yoshikawa of New York University, and CAP Tulsa to continuously expand and study this model, two-generation intervention.  

In addition to her work with CAP Tulsa, Chase-Lansdale collaborates with Sommer and Sabol on the program design and research of Utec, Inc, a nonprofit serving formerly incarcerated fathers and their young children (Lowell, MA). 

Funding for Chase-Lansdale’s research has come from the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Foundation for Child Development; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Selected Publications


Smuts, A.B., Smuts, R.W., Smuts, R.M., Smuts, B.B., & Chase-Lansdale, P.L. (2006). Science in the service of children: 1893-1935. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Kiernan, K., & Friedman, R.J. (2004). Human development across lives and generations: The potential for change. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Duncan, G.J., & Chase-Lansdale, P.L. (2001). For better and for worse: Welfare reform and the well-being of children and families. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Chase-Lansdale, P.L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (Eds.).  (1995). Escape from poverty: What makes a difference for children? New York: Cambridge University Press.

Articles, Chapters, and Policy Briefs

Sommer, T.E., Schneider, W., Chor, E., Sabol, T.J., Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Brooks-Gunn, J., … King, C. (2019). The effects of a two-generation human capital program on children’s attendance in Head Start. (revise/resubmit).

Sabol, T.J., Chor, E., Sommer, T.E., Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Morris, A., Brooks-Gunn, J.,  Yoshikawa, H., King, C. & Guminski, S. (2019). The effects of a two-generation education intervention on young children’s outcomes in Head Start. (revise/resubmit).

Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Sabol, T.J., Sommer, T.E., Chor, E., Cooperman, A.W., Brooks-Gunn, J., Yoshikawa, H., & Morris, A. (2019). Effects of a two-generation human capital program on low-income parents’ education, employment and psychological well-being. The Journal of Family Psychology. doi:10.1002/pam.21799

Sommer, T.E., Gomez, C.J., Yoshikawa, H., Sabol, T., Chor, E., Sanchez, A., Chase-Lansdale, P.L., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2018). Head Start, two-generation ESL services, and parent engagement. Early Childhood Research Quarterly. doi: 10.1016/j.ecresq.2018.03.008

Sommer, T.E., Sabol, T.J., Chor, E., Schneider, W., Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Brooks-Gunn, J., Small, M. King, C., & Yoshikawa, H. (2018). A two-generation human capital approach to anti-poverty policy. The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences, 4(3), 118-143. doi: 10.7758/RSF.2018.4.3.07.

Sommer, T.E., Sabol, T.J., Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Small, M., Wilde, H., Brown, S., & Huang, Z.Y (2017). Promoting parents’ social capital to increase children’s attendance in Head Start: Evidence from an experimental intervention. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness 10(4), 732-766. doi:10.1080/19345747.2016.1258099

Gardner, M., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Chase-Lansdale, P.L. (2017). 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., Kopko, K., Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Wakschlag, L. (2016). Multigenerational relationships in families with custodial grandparents. In M.H. Meyer & Y. Adbul-Malak, (Eds.), Grandparenting in the U.S. (pp.133-159). New York: Baywood Publishing. 

Garfield, C., Duncan, G., Peters, S., Rutsohn, J., McDade, T., Adam, E., Coley, R., and Chase-Lansdale, P.L. (2016). Adolescent reproductive knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs and future fatherhood. Journal of Adolescent Health, 30, 1-7. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.12.010

McKinney, C., Hahn-Holbrook, J., Chase-Lansdale, P.L., Ramey, S., Krohn, J., Reed-Vance, M., Raju, T. N. K., & Shalowitz, M. U. (2016). Racial and ethnic difference in breastfeeding. Pediatrics, 138(2), 1-11. doi10.1542/peds.2015-2388

Sommer, T.E., Sabol, T.J., Chase-Lansdale, P. L., Brooks-Gunn, J. (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 (pp. 135-158). Boston, MA: Harvard Education Press. 

Sabol, T. J., Chase-Lansdale, P. L. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2015). Advancing the science of child development: Do we need a new household survey? Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 40, 221-255.