Research Interests


Dr. Graves is a child psychologist focused on school-aged populations.

He is broadly interested in how youth from racially diverse backgrounds (particularly African American children) who are successful in their academic and social development differ from their less successful peers. In particular, he seeks to gain a better understanding of how constructs such as parent involvement, teacher-child relationships, racial socialization, and school quality serves as protective factors in relation to positive outcomes.

Procedurally, Dr. Graves utilizes a mixed-methods program of quantitative methods, qualitative interviews, or various syntheses of the two depending on his research questions. His current research is focused on youth development along three inter-related areas:

  1. Developing school and community interventions that focus on children’s strengths.
  2. Analyzing developmental trajectories and ecological contexts (i.e., family, schools, and peers) of academically successful children the use of large-scale datasets. This line of research utilizes the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECSLS), the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS), and the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002.
  3. Professional issues in the field of school psychology related to increasing the effectiveness of service delivery for children at-risk. This includes research to increase the number of ethnically diverse faculty and practitioners, improving the research methods used to study African American children, and to improve school professionals implicit associations (potential, intelligence, ability) when working with African American children.