Mariah M. Contreras

Mariah Contreras

Mariah M.


Postdoctoral Scholar
Child Study and Human Development, Maternal Child Health, Program Evaluation

Professional Bio

Mariah Contreras, Ph.D., completed her doctoral training in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University in 2015. She holds a B.A. from Colgate University in Educational Studies and Art and Art History and a M.A. from Tufts in Applied Child Development. Her dissertation, Young Mothers’ Early Ethnic-Racial Socialization and Children’s School Readiness, was supported by a National Academy of Education/ Spencer Dissertation Fellowship and is among the first studies to measure and assess ethnic-racial socialization in both a young parent and early childhood sample. She is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Tufts Interdisciplinary Evaluation Research (TIER) project.

Project Description

The purpose of my New Connections study is to use systematic review and meta-analytic techniques to analyze pathways between ethnic-racial socialization and the well-being of children of color.

Why did you apply to New Connections

I sought this opportunity because I was encouraged to see that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation was ready to invest in systematic review and individuals in their early career. I believe that rigorous systematic review and meta-analyses bolster our knowledge base by challenging the “single study” mindset to understand more fully the magnitude and direction of effects across burgeoning fields of developmental science. Additionally, the New Connections program places emphasis on diversifying the perspectives that inform our disciplines; this has always been a goal in my personal scholarship and a charge I take very seriously so I was of course encouraged to see that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation did too.

Research Interests

Dr. Contreras’s program of research focuses on linguistically and ethnically diverse populations in the U.S. context; with specific aims to document the development of adaptive parenting processes (e.g. ethnic-racial socialization) and parent-child dynamics across early childhood, and understand how these processes link to young children’s well-being and school readiness.

The Details
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2017
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio: Creating Healthier, More Equitable Communities
  • Project Name: Examining adaptive pathways between ethnic/racial socialization and the well-being of children of color in the mental health and education domains

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