Dr. Natasha Johnson is a personality psychologist and social work scholar who utilizes quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods to assess culturally-relevant developmental processes that facilitate resilience for Black youth. Her three research foci are: (1) social identities, (2) vulnerability and resilience in the context of racial discrimination, and (3) racism awareness. She aims to reduce mental health disparities by developing and evaluating sustainable interventions that promote Black youth’s wellness. Dr. Johnson’s current work examines racism awareness development, a phenomenon defined as the cognitive process through which a person knows about, makes meaning of, and understands racial inequality. Her goal is to build empirical evidence for racism awareness influence on Black youths’ development and experiences. She is also developing a psychometric tool, using qualitative and quantitative methods, that will capture youths’ understanding of racial inequality across historical, individual, interpersonal, and institutional contexts. This multidimensional scale of racism awareness will advance scientific knowledge on the developmental process of racism awareness and support intervention programs that address race-related stress.
Dr. Johnson is a Detroit native and Spelman alumna, who earned her MSW and joint PhD in Social Work and Psychology at the University of Michigan.