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My research focuses on resilience and protective factors and the prevention of high-risk behaviors in urban, minority children and adolescents. My work is concerned with promoting academic achievement and high school completion in high-risk urban youngsters. Specifically, I examine the factors that heighten youngsters' vulnerability for maladjustment during normative school transitions. I investigate the role of peer, family and school support; youngsters' attitudes and perceptions about school; their involvement in high-risk behaviors, such as gang involvement, substance abuse, and premature sexual activity; and the role of environmental factors, such as school and neighborhood violence and other demographic variables, school administrative structures and policies, and social setting factors.
My work is conducted on site in urban school settings. Projects are developed in collaboration with school staff and often involve the input of students as well. Currently, I am involved in two major projects. I am conducting an investigation that examines factors associated with school failure and dropout in a predominantly Mexican-American group of urban adolescents. This study departs from a deficits approach and explores the variables that contribute to the academic success of youngsters at risk for school failure. I have also developed a longitudinal study that both examines and intervenes to facilitate the process of adjustment to high school for urban, predominantly low- income, minority adolescents. The intervention provides new freshmen with adult and peer support in the context of thrice-weekly classes in which students are taught important skills for managing the stress associated with the school transition and where they learn decision- making skills also designed to promote coping. The curriculum for these classes is delivered by teachers and upper-class peers who are specially trained to be sensitive to the developmental needs of these youngsters.
Reyes, O., and Jason, L. A. (1993). Pilot study examining factors associated with academic success for Hispanic high school students. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 22,(1), 57-71.
Reyes, O., and Jason, L. A. (1991). An evaluation of a high school dropout prevention program. Journal of Community Psychology,19, 221-230.