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  • Associate Dean for Inclusive Excellence
  • Professor
  • Developmental, Social, and Health Psychology
  • Center for Equality and Social Justice
  • Gender and Women's Studies
  • Psychology
  • Health, Society and Populations
  • Developmental, Social, and Health Psychology
  • Diversity and Inclusion
207E Kastle Hall, 251 Patterson Office Tower
Other Affiliations:

Christia Spears Brown


Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin (2003)


My research focuses on how children develop gender and ethnic stereotypes and how that process can be disrupted, and how children and adolescents understand and perceive individual-level and structural (i.e., policy-based) forms of gender and ethnic discrimination. My research is centered around the school context, with a focus on the role of teachers and peers, peer norms, and academic outcomes.    

Specifically, my research focuses on 3 themes.  First, I examine children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of gender and racial/ethnic discrimination.  We have conducted studies about perceptions of discrimination by teachers and coaches (Brown & Bigler, 2004; Brown, 2006), and studies about sexual harassment experienced by girls (Leaper & Brown, 2008; Jewell & Brown, 2014).  I have examined ethnic peer and teacher discrimination faced by immigrant children and their parents, funded by the Foundation for Child Development and UK Center for Poverty Research (Brown & Chu, 2016; Brown, 2017; Brown, 2019). More recently, we are focusing on how the sexual harassment and the sexual objectification of middle school girls negatively affects their academic outcomes (Brown, 2019; Nelson & Brown, 2019), and how middle school youth experience and intervene in instances of gender-based harassment directed at low gender-typical adolescents (Tam & Brown, 2019).     

Second, I examine the development of social group stereotypes. I have examined children’s stereotypes about immigrants (Brown, 2011), Muslims (Brown et al., 2017), gender non-conforming boys and girls, and with Rachel Farr, children in same-sex families.  As part of this focus, we also look at ways to reduce stereotypes among children (Aboud & Brown, 2011).

Finally, we examine how children understand social inequality and politics.  For example, with Prof. Rashmita Mistry, we have studied how children understand the overlap between race and poverty (Brown, Mistry, & Bigler, 2007). We recently published a multi-site study across the US, headed by Rebecca Bigler and Meagan Patterson, looking at how children understand the impact of gender on politics and their understanding of the political process (Patterson et al., 2019).  

Selected Publications:


  • Brown, C. S. (2021).  Unraveling BIas: How Prejudice Has Shaped Chidlren for Generations and Why It is Time to Break the Cycle. Ben Bella.


  •  Brown, C. S. (2014).  Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes.  Ten Speed Press.


  • Brown, C. S.  (2017). Discrimination in Childhood and Adolescence: A Developmental Intergroup Approach. Psychology Press/Taylor & Francis.       


  • Rutland, A., Nesdale, D., & Brown, C. S. (2017).  Handbook of Group Processes in Children and Adolescents. Wiley-Blackwell.


  • Brown, C. S., Biefeld, S. D.*, Elpers, N.* (2020). A bioecological theory of sexual harassment of girls: Research synthesis and proposed model. Review of General Psychology.
  • Brown, C.S. (2020). Can conceptions of respect be useful in reducing prejudice and discrimination? Invited Commentary to Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development.
  • Salomon, I.* & Brown, C. S. (2020) Engage, ignore, stand up: Exploring how (and why) early adolescents respond to sexual harassment. Journal of Adolescent Research.
  • Tam, M.* & Brown, C. S. (2020). Early adolescents’ responses to witnessing gender-based harassment differ by their perceived school belonging and felt gender typicality. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research.
  • Brown, C. S. & Tam, M.* (2020). Gender-based discrimination in childhood and adolescence. In I. Wang & D. P. VanderLaan (Eds.), Gender and Sexuality Development: Contemporary Theory and Research. Springer.
  • Brown, C. S. & Tam, M.* (2019). Ethnic discrimination predicting academic attitudes for Latinx students in middle childhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.
  • Brown, C. S., Mistry, R.M., & Yip, T. (2019). Moving from the margins to the mainstream: Equity and justice as key considerations for developmental science. Child Development Perspectives, 13(4), 235-240.
  • Brown, C. S. (2019). The importance, and the challenges, to ensuring an inclusive school climate. Invited Commentary on Special Issue, “Promoting inclusive school climate: Multiple approaches to uniting students across groups.” Educational Psychologist.
  • Brown, C. S. & Anderson, R.E. (2019). It's never too young to talk about race and gender. Invited Op-Ed. Human Development.
  • Brown, C. S. (2019). Sexualized gender stereotypes predict girls’ academic self-efficacy and motivation across middle school. International Journal of Behavioral Development.
  • Patterson, M. M., Bigler, R. S., Pahlke, E., Brown, C. S., Hayes, A. R., Nelson, A.*, & Ramirez, C.* (2019). Toward a developmental science of politics. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development.
  • Tam, M.,* Jewell, J.A.*, & Brown, C. S. (2019). Gender-based harassment in early adolescence: Group and individual predictors of perpetration. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.
  • Salomon, I.* & Brown, C. S. (2019). The selfie generation: Examining the relationship between social media use and early adolescent body image. Journal of Early Adolescence, 39, 539-560. **One of the journal’s top 20 most downloaded articles.
  • Nelson, A.A.* & Brown, C. S. (2019). Too pretty for homework: The academic correlates of sexualized gender stereotypes among adolescent girls. Journal of Early Adolescence, 39, 603-617.
  • Brown, C. S. & Juvonen, J. (2018). Insights about the effects of diversity: When does diversity promote inclusion and for whom? Commentary for Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Special Issues on Diversity & Inclusion.       
  • Brown, C. S. & Tam, M.* (2018). Parenting Girls and Boys. In M. Bornstein (Ed.) Handbook of Parenting (3rd Ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.                 
  • Brown, C. S. & Salomon, I.* (2018). Adolescents’ responses to gendered harassment and discrimination: Effective strategies within a school context. In M. Monteith & R. K. Mallett (Eds.), Confronting Prejudice and Discrimination: The Science of Changing Minds and Behaviors. New York: Elsevier.
  • Farr, R., Salomon, I.*, Brown-Iannuzzi, J. L., & Brown, C. S. (2018). Elementary school- age children’s attitudes toward children in same-sex parent families. Journal of GLBT Family Studies, 1-24.
  • Brown, C. S., Tam, M.*, & Aboud, F. E. (2018). Ethnic prejudice in young children in Indonesia: Intervention attempts using multicultural friendship stories. International Journal of Early Childhood.
  • Leaper, C. L. & Brown, C. S. (2018). Sexism in childhood and adolescence: Recent trends and advances in research. Child Development Perspectives.
  • Brown, C. S. (2017). Perceptions of intergroup discrimination. In A. Rutland, D. Nesdale, & C.S. Brown (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Group Processes in Children and Adolescents, 269-291. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.  
  • Brown, C. S. & Stone, E.* (2017). Environmental and social contributions to  children’s gender-typed toy play: The role of family, peers, and media. In Gender-Typing of Children’s Toys: Causes, Correlates, and Consequences. American Psychological Association.

  • Brown, C. S., Ali, H.*, Jewell, J. A.*, Stone, E.* (2017). U. S. children’s stereotypes and prejudicial attitudes toward Arab Muslims. Analysis of Social Issues and Public Policy.

  • Brown, C. S. (2017). School context influences the ethnic identity development of immigrant children in middle childhood. Social Development.

  • Brown, C. S. & Stone, E.* (2016). Gender stereotypes and discrimination: How sexism impacts development. In Stacey Horn, Martin Ruck, Lynn Liben, editors: Equity and Justice in Developmental Science: Theoretical and Methodological Issues, Vol 50, ACDB, UK: Academic Press, 2016, pp. 105-133 

  • Stone, E.*, Brown, C. S., & Jewell, J.A.* (2015). The sexualized girl: The development of a within-gender stereotype among children. Child Development, 86, 1604-1622

  • Mistry, R. S., Brown, C. S., White, E. S.*, Chow, K. A.*, & Gillen-O’Neel, C.* (2015). Elementary school children’s reasoning about social class: A mixed-methods study. Child Development, 86, 1653-1676. **Winner of AERA Division E Distinguished Research Award

  • Jewell, J. A.* & Brown, C. S. (2014). Sexting, catcalls, and butt slaps: How perceived peer group norms and gender attitudes predict distinct types of sexual harassment perpetration. Sex Roles.
  • Jewell, J. A.* & Brown, C. S. (2013). Gender typicality in early adolescence: Relationship between atypicality, popularity, and psychosocial outcomes. Social Development.
  • Leaper, C., Brown, C. S., & Ayres, M. M*.  (2013).  Adolescent girls' reported coping strategies in response to sexual harassment. Psychology in the Schools.

  • Aboud, F. E., Tredoux, C., Tropp, L., Brown, C. S., Niens, U., & Noor, N. (2012). Interventions to reduce prejudice and enhance inclusion and respect for ethnic differences in early childhood: A systematic review.  Developmental Review.       
  • Mistry, R. S., Brown, C. S., Chow, K. A.*, & Collins, G. S.  (2012).  Increasing the complexity of young adolescents’ beliefs about poverty and inequality: Results of an 8th grade social studies curriculum intervention.   Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 41, 704-716.
  • Brown, C. S. & Chu, H.* (2012).  Discrimination, ethnic identity, and academic outcomes of Mexican immigrant children:  The importance of school context.  Child Development.
  • Leaper, C., Farkas, T.*, & Brown, C. S. (2011). Adolescent girls' experiences and gender-related beliefs in relation to their self-concepts in math/science and English.  Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
  • Brown, C. S.  (2011).  Legal issues surrounding single-sex schools: Trends, court cases, and conflicting laws.  Sex Roles: A Journal of Research.
  • Brown, C. S. (2011).  Elementary school children's attitudes about immigrants, immigration, and being an American. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 32, 109-117.
  • Brown, C. S., Alabi, B.*, Hyunh, V.*, & Masten, C.* (2011). Ethnicity and gender in late childhood and early adolescence: Group identity and awareness of bias. Developmental Psychology, 47,463-471.
  • Brown, C. S., & Leaper, C.  (2010).  Latina and European American girls' experiences with academic sexism and their self-concepts in mathematics and science during adolescence. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 63, 860-870.
  • Brown, C. S., Bigler, R. S., & Chu, H.*(2010).  An experimental study of the correlates and consequences of perceiving oneself to be the target of gender discrimination.  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 107, 100-117.
  • Masten, C. L.*, Gillen-O’Neel, C.*, & Brown, C. S.  (2010).  Children's intergroup empathic processing: The roles of novel ingroup identification, situational distress, and social anxiety. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 106, 115-128.
  • Brown, C. S., Spatzier, A.*, & Tobin, M.* (2010).  Variability in the intergroup attitudes of White children: What we can learn from their ethnic identity labels.  Social Development, 19, 758-778.
  • Manago, A.*, Brown, C.S., & Leaper, C. (2009). Feminist identity among Latina adolescents.  Journal of Adolescent Research, 24, 750-776. 
  • Leaper, C., & Brown, C. S.  (2008).  Experiences with sexism and feminist awareness among adolescent girls.  Child Development, 79, 685-704.
  • Brown, C. S., Mistry, R. S., & Bigler, R. S.  (2007).  Hurricane Katrina: Children’s perceptions of race, class, and government involvement amid a national crisis.  Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 7, 191-208.
  • Turner, K. L.* & Brown, C. S. (2007).  The importance of gender and ethnic identities across individuals and contexts.  Social Development, 16, 700-719.
  • Pfeifer, J. H.*, Brown, C. S., & Juvonen, J. (2007).  Fifty years since Brown v. Board of Education: Lessons learned about the development and reduction of children’s prejudice.  Social Policy Report, 21 (2).  Peer-reviewed publication of Society for Research in Child Development.
  • Brown, C. S. (2006).  Bias at school: Children’s perceptions of racial/ethnic discrimination.  Cognitive Development, 21, 401-419.
  • Brown, C. S., & Bigler, R. S.  (2005).  Children’s perception of discrimination: A developmental model.  Child Development, 76, 533-553.
  • Brown, C. S., & Bigler, R. S. (2004).  Children’s perceptions of gender discrimination.  Developmental Psychology, 40 (5), 714-726. 
  • Brown, C. S., & Bigler, R. S.  (2002).  Effects of minority status in the classroom on children’s intergroup attitudes.  Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 83, 77-110.      
  •  Bigler, R. S., Brown, C. S., & Markell, M. (2001). When groups are not created equal: Effects of group status on the formation of intergroup attitudes in children.  Child Development, 72, 1151-1162.