Jacob Kraemer Tebes, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), in the Child Study Center and of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases); Director, Division of Prevention and Community Research, Department of Psychiatry; Director, The Consultation Center; Chief Psychologist, Connecticut Mental Health Center; Program Director, NIDA T32 Postdoctoral Research Training Program in Substance Abuse Prevention

Research Interests

Primary Prevention; Public Health; Social Change; Social Justice; Program Evaluation; Cultural Diversity; Vulnerable Populations; Resilience, Psychological; Community-Based Participatory Research

Public Health Interests

Community health; Psychological Trauma

Research Organizations

Psychiatry: Connecticut Mental Health Center: The Consultation Center | Prevention and Community Research, Division of | Psychology Section | Stress & Addiction Clinical Research Program | Women's Behavioral Health Research, Division of

School of Public Health: Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Faculty Research

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

My primary interests are in community-based research to promote resilience, prevent adolescent substance use, and the integration of cultural approaches into practice, research, and policy. My research is collaborative and often carried out in partnership with community-based organizations, state and municipal agencies, colleagues, and other community stakeholders. This work is conceptualized from a social justice perspective, examines multiple levels (such as the individual, the family, peers, the school, the neighborhood or community, and the broader culture), and takes place in a variety of community settings that involve mostly at risk, traumatized, or clinical populations. Examples of some of these population groups are: bereaved young adults; "sandwiched generation" women caregivers; children of mothers with serious mental illness; maltreated children or children in foster care; urban, low-income adolescents; and persons in recovery from mental illness or addiction. Some of my research involves randomized controlled trials and some involves evaluations of programs or services carried out by public agencies or community-based organizations. Most of this research has been collaborative and conducted in partnership with other investigators, community-based organizations, state and municipal agencies, and community stakeholders. In my evaluation research, I study the operations and effectiveness of programs and services designed for vulnerable populations. To the extent possible, my research is intended to inform professional practice, the design of new programs, the transformation of settings and communities, or the development of data-driven and effective policy. I also have research interests in philosophy of science, community research methodology, and program evaluation. In this work, my colleagues and I have proposed principles for conducting research in community settings, developed innovative approaches to assess community-based phenomena, helped define the emerging field of community science, and examined the characteristics of transdisciplinary research, including transdisciplinary team science.

Extensive Research Description

Below is a more extensive summary my research and scholarly work on 1) understanding and promoting resilience in vulnerable populations; 2) the prevention of adolescent substance use; 3) the integration of cultural approaches into practice, research, and policy, and 4) community research methodology, program evaluation, and philosophy of science.


Resilience. Resilience is characterized by normative development despite adverse circumstances. My colleagues and I have sought to identify risk and protective factors associated with resilience among vulnerable populations, and to promote resilience among at-risk groups. My early research examined risk processes among women who had primary caregiving responsibilities for a child as well as an elder family member, which led to a statewide randomized trial of the effectiveness of mutual support for these “sandwiched generation” women. This trial was among the first to examine the health impacts of mutual support on the children of caregivers. In other studies, my colleagues and I have examined resilience processes among children of mothers with serious mental illnesses and bereaved young adults. More recently, we have studied risk and protective factors for various outcomes involving maltreated and foster care children in the child welfare system.

I have also collaborated with colleagues to examine the effectiveness of interventions that promote community adaptation and resilience among various clinical populations. These have included randomized controlled trials of community-based programs, such as crisis-respite services for persons with serious mental illness or peer support services for persons in recovery from serious mental illness, as well as large-scale studies of the effectiveness of statewide services, such as community support services for persons in recovery; system of care services for children with serious emotional disorders; and multi-systemic therapy for juvenile offenders and their families. In collaboration with colleagues and community stakeholders, my recent research has examined the impact of participatory public art in promoting resilience among low-income adults in recovery from mental illness or addiction, and in promoting community wellness in distressed, under-resourced urban neighborhoods. This community-based participatory research has been transdisciplinary because it has engaged mental health consumers, service providers, artists, city agencies, community members, funders, and researchers throughout the research process.

Prevention of adolescent substance use. My colleagues and I have also conducted community-based studies of adolescents at-risk for substance use and other problem behaviors. Initially, we examined the effectiveness of teaching school-based decision-making skills to urban, middle income adolescents and their parents so as to prevent adolescent substance use. The focus in this multi-year intervention in middle and high school was on peer resistance strategies within group contexts. We then adapted this intervention for use with urban, low-income adolescents in after-school settings by incorporating positive youth development principles and cultural heritage activities. This revised curriculum was also incorporated into after school day activities in both academically-oriented and recreational settings with middle and early high school youth. Next, we developed a school-based mentoring intervention for urban, low-income high school youth. Although the focus of this intervention was involved both reducing risk and promoting protective factors, the primary goal was to prevent substance use. Each of these interventions were found to be successful in preventing use.

Integration of cultural approaches into practice, research, and policy. My scholarly and practice work has also sought to incorporate an understanding of culture -- broadly defined in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, religion, and ability status – into how services are designed and delivered, how research is conducted, and how policies are established for vulnerable populations. This research has often been combined with other areas of research interest – resilience promotion, adolescent substance abuse prevention, program or systems evaluation. Most recently, this work has led my colleagues and I to collaborate with an urban police department to train officers and command staff on issues of culture and diversity in the workplace and on the job.

Community research methodology, program evaluation, and philosophy of science. For many years, I have had an abiding interest in the philosophy of science and its implications for community research methodology and program evaluation. My work in these areas has focused on the philosophical roots of community research, mixed methods, and community psychology. These interests have also often intersected with my research on resilience, substance use prevention, and culture and diversity.

These interests have also enabled me to pursue a variety of professional roles: research collaborator with colleagues and various community stakeholders; consultant to national, state, and municipal agencies to promote data-driven decision making and evidence-based program development; trainer and coach to build program evaluation capacity in community agencies and public service systems; evaluator of state service systems and large-scale programs; and testifying expert on federal class action litigation through the use of rigorous evaluation research to inform judicial decisions and subsequent policy. These various roles have enabled me to blend research and practice, and have provided opportunities for teaching and mentoring postdoctoral and doctoral fellows as well as faculty.

Philadelphia Community Health Project - a multi-level comparative outcome trial of the impact of an arts-based intervention (mural making through the Porch Light Program) on distressed Philadelphia neighborhoods and on adults in recovery from addiction and mental illness receiving behavioral health services in those neighborhoods. This work uses a community-based participatory research approach to examine risk and protective factors for resilience and recovery from behavioral health disorders, and examines the effectiveness of community-based interventions to promote wellness.

Project Team & Collaborators: Sara Ansell (formerly Philadelphia Mural Arts Program); Arthur Evans (formerly Philadelphia DBHIDS now CEO of APA); Susan Florio (Yale); Jane Golden (Philadelphia Mural Arts Program); Erin Hoffman (TCC); Bronwyn Hunter (formerly Yale now at Univ of Maryland Baltimore County); Tanisha Mair (TCC); Samantha Matlin (Yale & Scattergood Foundation, formerly Philadelphia DBHIDS); Nate Mohatt (formerly Yale, now at Univ. Colorado); Roy Money (formerly Yale); Lauren Moss-Racusin (formerly Yale, now at UCONN); Dana Prince (formerly Yale now Case Western Reserve Univ.); Joe Pyle (Scattergood Foundation); Joan Reilly (Philadelphia Mural Arts Program); Frank Snyder (formerly Yale, now at Central Michigan Univ); Jack Tebes (Yale, PI); Nghi Thai (formerly Yale, now at Central Connecticut State University); Azure Thompson (formerly Yale, now at Columbia)

Pottstown Trauma-Informed Community Connection Project - a multi-level systems intervention and evaluation to build a trauma-informed community in greater Pottstown, PA. This project uses a community-based participatory research approach to evaluate the processes and outcomes of a community coalition focused on trauma-informed practices. The coalition includes early childhood educators, parents, school administrators and teachers, social and community service providers, healthcare organizations, law enforcement, and civic and religious organizations, among others. With funding from several foundations (local and national), PTICC is: 1) conducting training in trauma awareness and trauma-informed practices in all community sectors; 2) establishing trauma-informed service networks; 3) developing community-wide and regional messaging about trauma-informed practices; and d) infusing trauma-informed practices throughout the school district with the implementation of a K-8 social and emotional learning program aligned with PTICC objectives.

Project Team & Collaborators: Robey Champine (Yale); Alyson Ferguson (Scattergood Foundation); Susan Florio (Yale); Amy Heberle (Yale); Erin Hoffman (TCC); Leslie Faith Jones (Montgomery County Public Defender's Office); Laurie Kolka (Pottstown School District); Samantha Matlin (Yale & Scattergood Foundation); Kirsten Murray (Creative Health Services); Caitlin O'Brien (Scattergood Foundation); Suzanne O'Connor (United Way of GPSNJ); Ashley Pultorak (Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation); Joe Pyle (Scattergood Foundation); Mary Rieck (Pottstown School District & PEAK Program); Jeff Sparagana (Pottstown School District); Michael Strambler (Yale); Jack Tebes (Yale, PI).

Team Science Consortium Evaluation - a comprehensive mixed methods evaluation of the Interdisciplinary Research Consortium on Stress, Self-Control, and Addiction that includes an assessment of interdisciplinary team science among a consortium of over 50 scientists from almost 20 disciplines.

Project Team & Collaborators: Emily Cook (formerly Yale, now at Rhode Island College); Susan Florio (Yale); Erin Hoffman (TCC); Samantha Matlin (Yale); Carolyn Mazure (Yale, PI IRCSSA R25); Roy Money (Yale); Rajita Sinha (Yale, PI IRCSSA); Michael Strambler (Yale); Jack Tebes (Yale, PI IRCSSA Evaluation & Co-PI IRCSSA R25); Nghi Thai (formerly Yale & now at Central Connecticut State University)

Building Agency Capacity for Program Evaluation - is a tailored program of consultation and training across two years to build program evaluation capacity in more than 40 organizations in Greater Philadelphia. Organizations include those focused on behavioral health, the arts, education social services, health & wellness, and housing and homelessness. This project also managing the Philadelphia Evaluation Learning Collaborative which provides ongoing technical assistance and support for organizations that have completed the program to sustain gains made.

Project Team & Collaborators: Cindy Crusto (Yale); Alyson Ferguson (Scattergood Foundation); Susan Florio (Yale); Maegan Genove (Yale); Amy Griffin (Yale); Elizabeth Grim (Yale); Bronwyn Hunter (formerly Yale now at Univ Maryland Baltimore County); Joy Kaufman (Yale); Samantha Matlin (Scattergood Foundation & Yale); Cailtin O'Brien (Scattergood Foundation); Joe Pyle (Scattergood Foundation); Jack Tebes (Yale-PD).

Rhode Island Data Analytic Center - a public-academic partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families and Yale University that includes monitoring of services for children, adolescents, and families; examining processes and outcomes of services; using data to inform best practices, service enhancement, and policy development; and conducting field research and administrative studies to answer questions that can lead to improvements in the lives of children and families. Aspects of this work includes identifying risk and protective factors for resilience and substance use, and examining the effectiveness of community-based interventions.

Data Analytic Center Team & Collaborators: Christian Connell (Yale, Co-PI); Cindy Crusto (Yale); Colleen Caron (RI DCYF); Susan Florio (Yale); Maegan Genovese (Yale); Erin Hoffman (TCC); Joy Kaufman (Yale); Aliza Lipman (TCC); Dana Prince (formerly Yale now at Case Western Reserve Univ.); Leon Saunders (RI DCYF); Christine Steeger (formerly Yale now at Univ. Washington); Jack Tebes (Yale, PI); Sara Vidal (formerly Yale now at Westtat).

Selected Publications

  • Foundations for a philosophy of science of community psychology: Perspectivism, pragmatism, feminism, and critical theory. Tebes, J. K. (in press). Foundations for a philosophy of science of community psychology: Perspectivism, pragmatism, feminism, and critical theory. In: M.A. Bond, C.B. Keys, & I. Seranno-Garcia (Eds.), Handbook of community psychology, Volume II: Methods of community psychology: Research & applications. American Psychological Association.
  • Public health concepts in public psychiatry. Iennaco, J., Tebes, J. K., & Jacobs, S. (in press). Public health concepts in public psychiatry. In S. Jacobs & J. Steiner (Eds.). The Yale Textbook of Public Psychiatry. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • From recovery-oriented care to public health: Case studies of participatory public art as a pathway to wellness for persons with behavioral health challenges.

    Mohatt, N. V., Hunter, B. A., Matlin, S. M., Golden, J., Evans, A. C., & Tebes, J. K. (2015). From recovery-oriented care to public health: Case studies of participatory public art as a pathway to wellness for persons with behavioral health challenges. DOI 10.1007/s40737-015-0024-7

  • Gender differences in age of smoking initiation and its association with health.

    Thompson, A. B., Tebes, J. K., & McKee, S. A (2015). Gender differences in age of smoking initiation and its association with health. Addiction Theory & Research, Early Online: 1–8, DOI: 10.3109/16066359.2015.1022159.

  • Twenty-first century science as a relational process: From Eureka! to team science and a place for community psychology.

    Tebes, J. K., Thai, N. D., & Matlin, S. L. (2014). Twenty-first century science as a relational process: From Eureka! to team science and a place for community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 53, 475-490.

  • Historical trauma as public narrative: A conceptual review of how history impacts present-day health.

    Mohatt, N. V., Thompson, A. B., Thai, N. D., & Tebes, J. K. (2014). Historical trauma as public narrative: A conceptual review of how history impacts present-day health. Social Science & Medicine, 106, 128-136.

  • Evaluation in prevention and health promotion. Tebes J.K., Kaufman JS, Connell C, Crusto, CA, & Thai, ND. (2014). Evaluation in prevention and health promotion. In: T Gugliotta & M Bloom (Eds). Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion, 2nd Edition (pp. 69-101). NY: Springer.
  • Beauty, connection, healing, and behavioral health: The role of public art in promoting wellness. Matlin, S. L., Evans, A. C., & Tebes, J. K. (2014). Beauty, connection, healing, and behavioral health: The role of public art in promoting wellness. In: Golden, J. & Mural Arts Associates (Eds). Mural Arts at 30: Growing Up, Growing Out, Putting Down Roots. (pp. 121-127). Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Relationship of risk assessment to placement characteristics in a statewide child welfare population.

    Huang, C. Y., Bory, C., Caron, C., Tebes, J. K., & Connell, C. M. (2014). Relationship of risk assessment to placement characteristics in a statewide child welfare population. Children and Youth Services Review, 46, 85-90.

  • Adult Smoking Initiation Is on the Rise in the US, But Among Whom? Thompson, A.B., Tebes, J. K., McKee. S. A. (2013). Adult Smoking Initiation Is on the Rise in the US, But Among Whom? Smoking Initiation by Age, Race, and Gender From 2002 to 2010. Journal of Women’s Health, 22, 140.
  • A community’s response to suicide through public art: Stakeholder perspectives from the Finding the Light Within project.

    Mohatt, N. V., Singer, J. B., Evans, A. C., Matlin, S. L., Golden, J., Harris, C., Siciliano, C., Kiernan, G., Pelleritti, M., & Tebes, J. K. (2013). A community’s response to suicide through public art: Stakeholder perspectives from the Finding the Light Within project. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52: 197-209.

  • Philosophical foundations of mixed methods research: Implications for research practice. Tebes, J.K. (2012). Philosophical foundations of mixed methods research: Implications for research practice. In Jason, L. & Glenwick, D. (Eds.). Innovative methodological approaches to community-based research. Washington, DC: APA Books, 2012, 13-28.
  • The stress response and adolescents’ adjustment: Impact of child maltreatment.

    Cook, EC, Chaplin, TM, Sinha, R., Tebes, JK, & Mayes, LC. (2012). The stress response and adolescents’ adjustment: Impact of child maltreatment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41: 1067-1077.

  • Parental knowledge and substance use among African American adolescents: Influence of gender and grade level.

    Tebes, JK, Cook, EC, Vanderploeg, JJ, Fein, R, Chinman, MJ, Shepard, JK, Brabham, T, & Connell, CM. (2011). Parental knowledge and substance use among African American adolescents: Influence of gender and grade level. J Child Family Studies, 20, 406-413.

  • Providing competency training to clinical supervisors through an interactional supervision approach. Tebes, J. K., Matlin, S. L., Migdole, S. J., Farkas, M. S., Money, R. W., Shulman, L., & Hoge, M. A. (2011). Providing competency training to clinical supervisors through an interactional supervision approach. Research on Social Work Practice, 21, 190-199.
  • Suicidality and depression among African American adolescents: the role of family and peer support and community connectedness.

    Matlin, SL, Molock, SD, & Tebes, JK. (2011). Suicidality and depression among African American adolescents: the role of family and peer support and community connectedness. American J of Orthopsychiatry, 81(1), 108-117.

  • Substance use among Asian American adolescents: Influence of race, ethnicity, and acculturation in the context of key risk and protective factors.

    Thai, ND, Connell, CM, & Tebes, JK. (2010). Substance use among Asian American adolescents: Influence of race, ethnicity, and acculturation in the context of key risk and protective factors. Asian American J of Psychology, 1(4), 261-274. doi:10.1037/a0021703

  • Community psychology, diversity, and the many forms of culture.

    Tebes, J. K. (2010). Community psychology, diversity, and the many forms of culture. American Psychologist,65, 58-59.

  • Impact of a positive youth development program in urban after-school settings on the prevention of adolescent substance use.

    Tebes, J. K., Feinn, R., Vanderploeg, J. J., Chinman, M. J., Shepard, J., Brabham, T., Genovese, M., & Connell, C. M. (2007). Impact of a positive youth development program in urban after-school settings on the prevention of adolescent substance use. Journal of Adolescent Health, 41: 239-247.

  • Community science, philosophy of science, and the practice of research.

    Tebes, J. K. (2005). Community science, philosophy of science, and the practice of research. American Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 213-230.

  • Service access and service system development in a children's behavioral health system of care. Tebes, J. K., Bowler, S. M., Shah, S., Connell, C. M., Ross, E., Simmons, R., Tate, D., Chinman, M. J., & Kaufman, J. S. (2005). Service access and service system development in a children's behavioral health system of care. Evaluation & Program Planning, 28, 151-160.
  • Convergence of sibling risk among children of parents with serious mental disorders. Tebes, J. K., Connell, C. M., Ross, E., & Kaufman, J. (2005). Convergence of sibling risk among children of parents with serious mental disorders. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 14, 29-41.
  • Cognitive transformation as a marker of resilience.

    Tebes, J. K., Perkins, D. V., Irish, J. A., & Puglisi, M. J. (2004). Cognitive transformation as a marker of resilience. Substance Use and Misuse, 39, 769-788.

  • Resilience and family psychosocial processes among children of parents with serious mental disorders. Tebes, J. K., Kaufman, J. S., Adnopoz, J. & Racusin, G. R. (2001). Resilience and family psychosocial processes among children of parents with serious mental disorders. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 10, 115-136.
  • Promoting resilience in children of sandwiched generation caregiving women through caregiver mutual support. Tebes, J. K., & Irish, J. T. (2000). Promoting resilience in children of sandwiched generation caregiving women through caregiver mutual support. Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 20, 139-158.
  • External validity and scientific psychology. Tebes, J. K. (2000). External validity and scientific psychology. American Psychologist, 55, 1508-1509.

Full List of PubMed Publications

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Contact Info

Jacob Kraemer Tebes, PhD
Office Location
389 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
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Mailing Address
Jacob K TebesYale Division of Prevention & Community Research and The Consultation Center
389 Whitney Avenue

New Haven, CT 06511-