Theresa S. Betancourt, ScD, MA

Boston College School of Social Work

Theresa S. Betancourt, Sc.D., M.A., is the inaugural Salem Professor in Global Practice at the Boston College School of Social Work and Director of the Research Program on Children and Adversity (RPCA). Her central research interests include the developmental and psychosocial consequences of concentrated adversity on children, youth and families; resilience and protective processes in child and adolescent mental health and child development; refugee families; and applied, cross-cultural mental health research. She has served as Principal Investigator of an intergenerational study of war/prospective longitudinal study of child soldiers and other war-affected youth in Sierra Leone (LSWAY) since 2002. This research and findings on the effects of violence and loss on the lives of war-affected youth led to the development of a group mental health intervention for war-affected youth, the Youth Readiness Intervention (YRI) which has been proven effective in Sierra Leone for improving emotion regulation, interpersonal attitudes and behaviors, daily functioning and social support among war-affected young men and women ages 15-24. Dr. Betancourt has also developed and evaluated the impact of a Family Strengthening Intervention for HIV-affected children and families and is leading the investigation of a home-visiting early childhood development (ECD) intervention, Sugira Muryango (strengthen the family), to promote enriched parent-child relationships and prevent violence that can be integrated within poverty reduction/social protection initiatives in Rwanda. Domestically, she is engaged in community-based participatory research on family-based prevention of emotional and behavioral problems in refugee children and adolescents resettled in the U.S.