Nancy Gonzales is Foundation Professor of psychology and dean of natural sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University. Her research examines culturally-informed models of family and youth resilience in low-income communities. Over the past 20 years, her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Helios Education Foundation, and the Institute for Educational Sciences and has contributed important insights into the cultural strengths, challenges, and positive development of Mexican Americans living in the Southwest. This research encompasses multiple collaborations and research studies that collectively span across the lifespan, from birth to young adulthood.
Professor Gonzales also translates findings from culturally-informed developmental studies to design and evaluate programs to reduce minority health disparities and promote academic resilience in secondary and post-secondary educational settings. Her team’s Bridges program for middle school students demonstrated long-term effects to increase school engagement and achievement and prevent multiple problem outcomes up 10 years later, including reduced school dropout and lower rates of mental health and substance abuse disorders in young adulthood. Currently she is working to implement the program in Title I schools and to examine whether emotional, cognitive, and biological self-regulation are key mediating mechanisms through which Bridges produces long term educational benefits and reduced drug and alcohol problems.
Gonzales is also the co-director of the REACH (Research and Education Advancing Children’s Health) Institute.
Ph.D. University of Washington 1992
Dr. Gonzales' primary research interests focus on cultural and contextual influences on adolescent mental health. Her work includes research on the role of neighborhood disadvantage and acculturation on children's mental health and on how these influences are mediated or moderated by family processes within Mexican American and African American families. She also is involved in the development and evaluation of culturally sensitive interventions for Mexican American and African American families.
Areas include: Culture / Ethnic Issues in Prevention Research; Prevention of Mexican American School Dropout and Mental Health Problems; Acculturation and Enculturation of Mexican American Children and Families; Contextual Influences on Adolescent Development