Natasha C. Johnson

Dr. Natasha Johnson is a proud Detroit native with a genuine commitment to having a positive impact on marginalized communities in K-12 and higher education contexts. She earned her PhD in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Michigan. She earned her B.A. in psychology from Spelman College and her M.S. in Psychology and MSW from the University of Michigan. She has training in mixed-method approaches, person-centered and hierarchical quantitative methods, and qualitative methodologies. She employs strength-based methodologies to address systemic inequities related to educational and mental health disparities among Black adolescents. In her master thesis, she utilized latent transition analyses to examine racial identity development and the influence of racial discrimination experiences on changes in racial identity. Her dissertation examined the influence of racial identity and racial socialization on critical reflection (e.g., racism awareness) —an aspect of critical consciousness that considers youths’ awareness of structural factors contributing to the Black-White achievement gap. She also examined the mental health implications of youths’ awareness of systemic inequalities. Secondly, Dr. Johnson’s dissertation investigated the intervening role a critical reflection of racism might have between cultural assets (e.g., racial identity and racial socialization) and perceived racial discrimination. Her future work will continue to elucidate race-based developmental processes that promote healthy development for marginalized adolescents and examine the mental health implications of critical consciousness. She is a recipient of a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship and a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship.

Research Interests

adverse childhood experiences
social support


National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
National Survey of American Life-Adolescent Supplement