G+JI Faculty Fellow 2021-2022
Erica Coates, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Dr. Erica Coates (she/her) is the Director of the Black Early Stages of Social & Emotional Development (BlESSED) Research Group. The research group collaborates with Black families with young children living in socioeconomically disadvantaged contexts in DC to gain a deeper understanding of the numerous culturally specific protective factors that families use to support their young children’s social and emotional development. She is also the co-founder and co-director of the Black Faculty & Staff Association in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown.
Research Project: Pandemic-Related Stressors and Mental Health of Black Mothers from Marginalized Communities: A Mixed Methods Approach
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately negatively affected Black mothers, especially those from low-income communities, both personally and professionally. Guided by intersectionality, this project seeks to elucidate how interconnected systems of oppression – racism, sexism, classism – impact Black mother’s mental health, parenting, and parent-child relationships. Using a mixed methods approach, we aim to acquire a unique collective of mothers’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, examine the effects of stressors associated with systemic racism on Black mothers, and determine the influence of protective mechanisms of social support and racial identity. We expect that mothers’ social support and positive racial identity will buffer the harmful effects of pandemic-related stressors on parenting and parent-child relationships transmitted through better maternal mental health. Focus group data will be used to contextualize our findings and identify additional protective factors.