Christian M. Connell, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Co-Director, Division of Prevention and Community Research, Department of Psychiatry; Director, Child Development and Epidemiological Research, The Consultation Center

Research Interests

Adolescent Behavior; Child Abuse; Child Development; Child Psychiatry; Child Welfare; Evaluation Studies

Public Health Interests

Child Development, Policies, Programs; Child Mental Health; Epidemiology Methods; Health Services Research; Psychosocial risk factors; Risky Behaviors

Research Organizations

Psychiatry: Psychology Section | The Consultation Center

Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

My research interests focus primarily on risk and protective processes impacting outcomes for children involved with the child welfare system, and the evaluation of family- and community-based intervention strategies to promote safety, permanency, and wellbeing outcomes for youth in the child welfare system. As co-principle investigator of the Rhode Island Data Analytic Center, a collaboration with the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families, I am actively involved in a range of research and evaluation initiatives to understand factors that influence child and family wellbeing following incidents of child abuse or neglect, foster care placement, or involvement in other child serving systems (e.g., behavioral health or juvenile justice). These studies are applied in nature and serve to inform system efforts to improve child outcomes through practice and policy responses. I am principle investigator of a multi-year study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Administration of Children and Families (ACF), that examines the effects of community-based wraparound services for families involved with child protective services. In addition, I serve as lead evaluator on multiple ACF-funded demonstration projects to enhance child welfare practice, particularly with respect to the effects of trauma on children.These demonstration projects incorporate a multi-deminsional approach to enhance the child welfare system capacity to identify and more effectively respond to the needs of children, youth, and families impacted by trauma in order to promote healthy wellbeing and reduce the need for longterm system involvement.

A second area of work focuses on the development of substance use and other risky behaviors (e.g., antisocial behavior, risky sexual behavior) among adolescents. This work includes secondary analysis of large-scale epidemiological datasets to investigate both the precursors to riskier developmental trajectories for youth, as well as subsequent outcomes associated with some of these patterns of behavior in young adulthood. I have also served as a co-investigator in two NIDA-funded studies addressing use of tobacco and nicotine products in adolescents and young adults.

Finally, I am broadly interested in the application of advanced multivariate data analytic methods to examine risk and protective processes associated with developmental processes or to examine community-based prevention and intervention effects. I am a scientific advisor to the Yale Postdoctoral Training Program for Substance Abuse Prevention Research; I teach the data analytic and research methods seminar for the training program and am a mentor and advisor to postdoctoral fellows within that program.

Specialized Terms: Adolescent Risk Behavior; Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Child Abuse and Neglect; Child Development; Child Welfare; Clinical Psychology; Community Studies; Consulting Services; Quantitative Methods

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Christian M. Connell, PhD
Mailing Address
389 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511

Child Development & Epidemiological Research Area