Seanna Leath

Seanna Leath

Assistant Professor of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Affiliated Faculty
Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
B.A., Pomona College
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    Professor Leath studies variation in the family and school-based experiences of Black youth and young adults, with a particular emphasis on how Black women and girls use personal and cultural assets to offset the harm of living within a white supremacist capitalist patriarchal society (RIL sistah hooks). 

    She directs the Fostering Healthy Identities & REsilience (FHIRE) Collaborative, which includes undergraduate and graduate students, as well as a range of community partners in the St. Louis Area who are invested in Black women and girls’ wellness.

    Dr. Leath has several current lines of research: the interconnected effects of academic ability, social connectedness, and psychological wellbeing on Black women and girls’ educational trajectories; the role of social determinants of health (i.e., educational access and neighborhood contexts) in shaping sociocultural practices within Black families; Black women and girls’ beliefs about freedom and radical healing; and how Black parents integrate their sociopolitical awareness into their parenting practices to develop healthy relationships with their children.

    As we put down roots in St. Louis, folks in the FHIRE Collaborative are working hard to co-create mutually beneficial and sustainable community partnerships, with the goal of leading research and social programming initiatives that directly improve the wellbeing of Black women and girls through developmental science.

    Selected Publications:

    • Leath, S., Butler-Barnes, S., & Haynes-Thoby, L. (2022). “They just keep coming”: Exploring how racialized violence informs racial grief and resistance among Black mothers. Journal of Child and Family Studies.

    • Leath, S., Ball, P., Mims, L., Butler-Barnes, S., & Quiles, T. (2022). “They need to hear our voices”: A multidimensional framework of Black college women’s sociopolitical development and activism. Journal of Black Psychology, 48(3-4), 392-427.
    • Leath, S., Quiles, T., Samuels, M., & Chima, U. (2022). “Our community is so small”: A qualitative exploration of intraracial academic and social norms among Black students attending PWIs. American Educational Research Journal, 59(4), 752-787.
    • Butler-Barnes, S., Leath, S., Iniss-Thompson, M.I., Allen, P.C., & D’Almeida, M.E. (2022). Racial and gender discrimination by teachers: Risks for Black girls' depressive symptomatology and suicidal ideation. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. Advance online publication.
    • Leath, S., Jones, M., & Butler-Barnes, S. (2021). An examination of ACEs, the internalization of the Superwoman Schema, and mental health outcomes among Black adult women. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 22(3), 1-16.