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Stephen S. Leff, PhD
Stephen S. Leff
Co-Director, Health and Behavior Research Affinity Group

Dr. Leff's background is in child clinical psychology, and he has broad training and expertise in intervention research, mixed methods, and in leading a range of federally funded research initiatives. His research goal is to use community-based participatory research (CBPR) to develop and validate school-based aggression and bullying intervention programs and assessment tools for urban minority youth.

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Bio

Dr. Leff is a psychologist who serves as a co-director of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia's Violence Prevention Initiative. He is a nationally recognized leader in aggression and bullying prevention programming, relational aggression, and the CBPR process, which works with community stakeholders to integrate their perspectives into best practice programming.

His research has involved developing and validating a number of aggression interventions for urban minority youth including playground- and lunchroom-based applications, small group interventions for relationally aggressive girls within the schools (Friend to Friend), universal prevention programs for third- through fifth-grade students delivered within the classroom (PRAISE), universal prevention programs for urban adolescents within community-based after-school settings, and a brief multi-edia bullying prevention experience for middle school students (Free2B). A range of different outcome assessment tools have also been developed through this same partnership-based research process and validated across samples.

His notable career accomplishments include:

  • Presentation on "The Need for Evidence-Based Bullying Prevention Programs" to the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus in 2014
  • Congressional briefing on bullying prevention in 2015
  • International Safety Media Award for Free2B Anti-Bullying Program, presented at the 12th World Conference in Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion in 2016
  • Feature on Good Morning America in 2017 for the Violence Prevention Initiative’s bullying prevention effort being recognized as a beneficial and impactful program serving the local community

Education and Training

BA, Duke University (Psychology and Religion), 1989

MA, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Clinical Psychology), 1992

PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (Clinical Psychology), 1996

Fellowship, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (Clinical/Pediatric Psychology), 1998

Titles and Academic Titles

Co-Director, Health and Behavior Research Affinity Group

Co-Director, Violence Prevention Initiative

Research Training Director, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND)

Professor of Clinical Psychology in Pediatrics

Professional Memberships

Bullying Research Network (BRNET), 2009-

Professional Awards

Community Service Award, Peace Islands Institute (for Violence Prevention Initiative), 2014

International Safety Media Award for Free2B Anti-Bullying Program, 2016

Jackson Healthcare Program of Excellence Award (in recognition of the Violence Prevention Initiative’s innovative approach to impacting lives in our community), 2017

Good Morning America recognized the Violence Prevention Initiative and its school-based bullying prevention programs as a beneficial and impactful program serving the local community, 2017

Publication Highlights

Arora PG, Nastasi BK, Leff S.S. Rationale for the cultural construction of school mental health programming. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology. 2017 Jan; 1-11, 2017. doi: 10.1080/21683603.2016.1276812
Leff SS, Paskewich BS, Waasdorp TE, Waanders C, Bevans K, Jawad AF. Friend to Friend: A Randomized Trial for Urban African American Relationally Aggressive Girls. Psychol Violence. 2015 Oct; 5(4):433-443. PMID: 30079272
Leff SS, Waasdorp TE, Paskewich B, Gullan RL, Jawad A, MacEvoy JP, Feinberg B, Power TJ. The Preventing Relational Aggression in Schools Everyday (PRAISE) Program: A preliminary evaluation of acceptability and impact. School Psychol Rev. 2010 Dec; 39(4):569-587. PMCID: PMC3113534
Leff SS, Crick NR, Angelucci J, Haye K, Jawad AF, Grossman M, Power TJ. Social cognition in context: Validating a cartoon-based attributional measure for urban girls. Child Dev. 2006 Sep; 77(5):1351-8. PMID: 16999803

Links of Interest