Jacob 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 Departments & Organizations

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

School of Public Health

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Interests

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

Research Summary

My primary interests are in community-based research to promote resilience, prevent adolescent substance use, and to integrate 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, and 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 coalitions. 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, and the development of data-driven and effective policy. I also have research interests in philosophy of science, community research methodology, and program evaluation. In that 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 described participatory approaches to interdisciplinary 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 identified risk and protective factors associated with resilience among vulnerable populations, and that 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 examined resilience processes among children of mothers with serious mental illnesses and bereaved young adults. More recently, we studied risk and protective factors for various outcomes involving maltreated and foster care children in the child welfare system.

I have also examined 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 and peer support services for persons in recovery from serious mental illness. With colleagues, I have also studied 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. Recent research has focused on the impact of participatory public art in promoting resilience among low-income adults in recovery from mental illness or addiction, and in revitalizing under-resourced urban neighborhoods. Much of this work has used community-based participatory research methods that engaged community stakeholders, including mental health consumers, service providers, artists, city agencies, community members, funders.

Prevention of adolescent substance use. My colleagues and I have also conducted school- and 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. Finally, along with school and community colleagues, work is in the early stages of evaluating a school-based peer norms intervention to prevent adolescent substance. 

Integration of cultural approaches into practice, research, and policy. My scholarship and practice 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 work often has been combined with other areas of research interest – resilience promotion, adolescent substance abuse prevention, program or systems evaluation. Recently, my colleagues and I collaborated 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. I have a longstanding interest in how we conceptualize and conduct research in community settings, how we evaluate programs and services, and in the philosophy of science. My scholarship in these areas has examined philosophical roots of community research, mixed methods, and community psychology, and has intersected with work on resilience, substance use prevention, and culture and diversity.

As a clinical/community psychologist, I feel fortunate to have been able to pursue various professional roles that have resulted in a practical public health benefit to individuals, families, and communities. These roles have included: serving as a 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 to enhance organizational performance; 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 roles have enabled me to blend research and practice, and provided opportunities for teaching and mentoring postdoctoral and doctoral fellows as well as early career faculty.

Philadelphia Community Health Project / Mural Arts Evaluation - 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 SUNY Downstate).

Pottstown Trauma-Informed Community Connection - 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 -- the Pottstown Trauma-Informed Community Connection (PTICC) -- 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 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); Ashia Cooper (Pottstown Health & Wellness Foundation); Wendy Egoff (Salvation Army); Alyson Ferguson (Scattergood Foundation); Susan Florio (Yale); Amy Heberle (formerly Yale, now at Clark Univ.); Erin Hoffman (TCC); Valerie Jackson (Pottstown School District); Leslie Faith Jones (Montgomery County Public Defender's Office); Karen Kile (PEAK); Laurie Kolka (Pottstown School District); Samantha Matlin (Scattergood Foundation & Yale); Kirsten Murray (Creative Health Services); Caitlin O'Brien (Scattergood Foundation); Suzanne O'Connor (United Way of GPSNJ); Jenna Ostrowski (Creative Health Services); Ashley Pultorak (formerly Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation); Joe Pyle (Scattergood Foundation); Mary Rieck (Pottstown School District & PEAK Program); Steven Rodriquez (Pottstown School District); Jeff Sparagana (Pottstown School District); Michael Strambler (Yale); Jack Tebes (Yale, Evaluation PI); Captain Bob Thomas (Pottstown Police Department); Andy Trentacoste (Creative Health Services), and other PTICC members.

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), and the IRCSSA Consortium.

Building Agency Capacity for Program Evaluation (BECI) - is a tailored program of consultation and training across two years to build program evaluation capacity in almost 50 organizations in Greater Philadelphia.  Organizations include those providing services in various areas: behavioral health, the arts, education, social services, health & wellness, and housing and homelessness. In order to sustain individual and organizational gains made,  BECI also provides graduating organizations of the two-year program entry into the Philadelphia Program Evaluation Learning Collaborative. The Collaborative provides organizations with ongoing consultation/coaching, group training, peer learning, and resource sharing to ensure sustained organizational performance in evaluation, quality improvement, and data use.

Project Team & Collaborators: Cindy Crusto (Yale); Alyson Ferguson (Scattergood Foundation); Susan Florio (Yale); Maegan Genovese (Yale); Amy Griffin (Yale); Elizabeth Grim (Yale); Erin Hoffman (TCC); 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 DCYF / Yale Partnership - was a public-academic partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth, and Families and Yale University known as the Rhode Island Data Analytic Center.  The Center conducted studies of the system of care in behavioral health, juvenile justice, and child welfare, as well as 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. The Center was established in 2006 and continued through 2017, and was preceded by several federally-funded collaborative research initiatives between Rhode Island DCYF and The Consultation Center at Yale from 1994 - 2006.  

Project Team Collaborators: Christian Connell (Yale, Co-PI); Cindy Crusto (Yale); Colleen Caron (RI DCYF); Susan Florio (Yale); Maegan Genovese (Yale); Erin Hoffman (TCC); Aliza Lipman (TCC); Tanisha Mair (TCC); Samantha Matlin (formerly Yale, now Scattergood Foundation); Dana Prince (formerly Yale, now at Case Western Reserve Univ.); Leon Saunders (RI DCYF); Christine Steeger (formerly Yale, now at U Washington); Michael Strambler (Yale); 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. (2017). 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. (2016). In S. Jacobs & J. Steiner (Eds.). The Yale Textbook of Public Psychiatry. New York: Oxford University Press.

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

    Thompson AB, Tebes JK, McKee SA. Gender differences in age of smoking initiation and its association with health. Addiction Research & Theory 2015, 23:413-420. 2015

  • Evaluation in prevention and health promotion.

    Tebes J.K., Kaufman JS, Connell C, Crusto, CA, & Thai, ND. (2014). In: T Gugliotta & M Bloom (Eds). Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion, 2nd Edition (pp. 69-101). NY: Springer. 2014

  • Beauty, connection, healing, and behavioral health: The role of public art in promoting wellness.

    Matlin, S. L., Evans, A. C., & Tebes, J. K. (2014). 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. 2014

  • Adult Smoking Initiation Is on the Rise in the US, But Among Whom?

    Thompson, A.B., Tebes, J. K., McKee. S. A. (2013). Journal of Women’s Health, 22, 140. 2013

  • Philosophical foundations of mixed methods research: Implications for research practice.

    Tebes, J.K. (2012). In Jason, L. & Glenwick, D. (Eds.). Innovative methodological approaches to community-based research. Washington, DC: APA Books, 2012, 13-28. 2012

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

    Tebes JK. Community psychology, diversity, and the many forms of culture. The American Psychologist 2010, 65:58-9. 2010

  • 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). Evaluation & Program Planning, 28, 151-160. 2005

  • Convergence of sibling risk among children of parents with serious mental disorders.

    Tebes, J. K., Connell, C. M., Ross, E., & Kaufman, J. (2005). Journal of Child and Family Studies, 14, 29-41. 2005

  • Cognitive transformation as a marker of resilience.

    Tebes JK, Irish JT, Puglisi Vasquez MJ, Perkins DV. Cognitive transformation as a marker of resilience. Substance Use & Misuse 2004, 39:769-88. 2004

  • 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). Journal of Child and Family Studies, 10, 115-136. 2001

  • Promoting resilience in children of sandwiched generation caregiving women through caregiver mutual support.

    Tebes, J. K., & Irish, J. T. (2000). Journal of Prevention and Intervention in the Community, 20, 139-158. 2000

  • External validity and scientific psychology.

    Tebes, J. K. (2000). American Psychologist, 55, 1508-1509.

  • Time Trends in Smoking Onset by Sex and Race/Ethnicity Among Adolescents and Young Adults: Findings From the 2006-2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

    Thompson AB, Mowery PD, Tebes JK, McKee SA. Time Trends in Smoking Onset by Sex and Race/Ethnicity Among Adolescents and Young Adults: Findings From the 2006-2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Nicotine & Tobacco Research : Official Journal Of The Society For Research On Nicotine And Tobacco 2018, 20:312-320. 2018

  • Parental Knowledge and Substance Use among African American Adolescents: Influence of Gender and Grade Level.

    Tebes JK, Cook EC, Vanderploeg JJ, Feinn R, Chinman MJ, Shepard JK, Brabham T, Connell CM. Parental Knowledge and Substance Use among African American Adolescents: Influence of Gender and Grade Level. Journal Of Child And Family Studies 2011, 20:406-413. 2011

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

    Tebes JK, Feinn R, Vanderploeg JJ, Chinman MJ, Shepard J, Brabham T, Genovese M, Connell C. Impact of a positive youth development program in urban after-school settings on the prevention of adolescent substance use. The Journal Of Adolescent Health : Official Publication Of The Society For Adolescent Medicine 2007, 41:239-47. 2007

  • Neighborhood sexual violence moderates women's perceived safety in urban neighborhoods

    Hoffman, EE, Mair, T., Hunter, BA., Prince, DM., & Tebes, JK. (2018). Journal of Community Psychology, 46(1), 79-94. 2018

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

    Mohatt NV, Thompson AB, Thai ND, Tebes JK. Historical trauma as public narrative: a conceptual review of how history impacts present-day health. Social Science & Medicine (1982) 2014, 106:128-36. 2014

  • Interdisciplinary team science and the public: Steps towards a participatory team science.

    Tebes, J.K., & Thai, N. (2018). American Psychologist, 2018

  • Team science, justice, and the co-production of knowledge.

    Tebes, J.K., (2018). American Journal of Community Psychology 2018

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

    Tebes JK, Thai ND, Matlin SL. Twenty-first century science as a relational process: from eureka! to team science and a place for community psychology. American Journal Of Community Psychology 2014, 53:475-90. 2014

  • Reflections on the future of community psychology from the generations after Swampscott: A commentary and introduction to the special issue.

    Tebes, J. K. (2016). American Journal of Community Psychology. 2016

See list of PubMed publications

Edit this profile

Contact Info

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

New Haven, CT 06511-