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
    View All People

    contact info:

    image of book cover

    Prof Seanna (Shawna) Leath studies how cultural and ecological factors inform positive developmental outcomes among Black youth and young adults, with a particular focus on gendered and racialized processes. 

    She directs the Fostering Healthy Identities and Resilience (FHIRe) Collaborative, a diverse and incredible research team of undergraduate and graduate students and community partners who are collectively invested in Black women and girls’ health and wellness. Within the lab, we use Black feminist epistemologies and interdisciplinary approaches in education and psychology to understand how intersectional systems of oppression (e.g., ableism, classism, racism, and sexism) influence Black women and girl’s daily experiences, as well as their health and wellness across the lifespan. 

    We draw upon quantitative (cross-sectional surveys, daily diary, and longitudinal surveys) and qualitative (individual interviews, focus groups, and case studies) methods to examine Black women and girls’ developmental trajectories related to gendered racial identity, academic performance, social connection, and mental health. 

    Additionally, we strive 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. To learn more about some of our recent projects, visit 

    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.