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Photo of Griffith, Aisha

Aisha Griffith

Assistant Professor

Educational Psychology

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

3541 ETMSW


1040 W. Harrison St. (M/C 147), Chicago, IL 60607

Related Sites:


Aisha Griffith is an Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology at University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on the development and function of relationships between adolescents and non-parental adults within diverse learning contexts, including out-of-school time programs and schools. She is particularly interested in how mechanisms within these relationships and interactions (e.g., trust; unfair treatment; feedback; etc.) and external to them unfold to support or hinder positive adolescent development. She has conducted extensive research on trusting youth-adult relationships in out-of-school time contexts and is beginning to explore the nature of Black students’ interactions with adults within school, especially Black adolescent girls. She has published her research in developmental psychology and youth development journals as well as being featured in spaces aimed at practitioners (Profiles in Mentoring: Aisha Griffith on afterschool mentoringSummary of article on Black students' unfair experiences; Tip sheet summarizing literature on providing effective feedback distributed at the Statewide Illinois 4-H Annual Staff Meeting). Her specializations include qualitative methodology, out-of-school time programs, and youth-adult relationships.

Griffith teaches EPSY517 Seminar in Urban Youth Development; EPSY414 Developing Programs for Youth in Urban Contexts; and EPSY446 Characteristics of Early Adolescence.

Selected Publications

Griffith, A N., Leggett, C., Billingsley, J.,Wittrup, A., & Lee, S.J. & Hurd, N. (2022). A mixed methods study exploring the nature of Black adolescents’ unfair treatment by adults at school: Implications for adolescents’ trust in adults. Child and Youth Care Forum. (also summarized here)

Griffith, A.N., Johnson, H.E., Larson, R.W., Buttitta, E. (2020). A qualitative examination of critical feedback processes in project-based youth programs. Contemporary Educational Psychology.

Griffith, A.N. & Jiang, X. (2020). Trust formation in youth-adult relationships in out-of-school organizations. In Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Jessica T. Fei, Deepa S. Vasudevan (Eds.). Partnering with Youth in Out-Of-School Time Settings: The Promises, Practices, and Perplexities of Intergenerational Learning. United States: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

Griffith, A. N., Melton, T. N., & Deutsch, N. L. (2019). How group experiences influence mentor-mentee relational development in a combined group and one-on-one mentoring program for early adolescent girls. Applied Developmental Science, 1-18.

Griffith, A. N. & Johnson, H.E. (2018). Building trust: Reflections of adults working with youth in project-based programs. Children & Youth Services Review, 96, 439-450.

Griffith, A.N., Larson, R.W., & Johnson, H.E. (2017). How trust grows: Teenagers’ accounts of forming trust in youth program staff. Qualitative Psychology.

Griffith, A. N., Hurd, N. M., & Hussain, S.B. (2017). “I didn’t come to school for this”: A qualitative examination of experiences with race-related stressors and coping responses among Black students attending a predominantly White institution. Journal of Adolescent Research. (Authors equally contributed to the manuscript).

Griffith, A. N. & Larson, R. W. (2016). Why trust matters: How confidence in leaders transforms what adolescents gain from youth programs. Journal of Research on Adolescence. 26(4), 790-804.

Service to Community

Griffith has connected research to practice by presenting work to practitioners (e.g., the Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring; the Best in Out-of-School Time Conference) and serving on organizations linking research to practice (e.g., the National Mentoring Resource Center’s Research Board; Editorial Review Board of Current Issues in Out-of-School Time Book Series; the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Summer Learning Technical Working Group.


Ph.D., Human and Community Development (renamed Human Development and Family Studies), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Human and Community Development

B.A., History, Northwestern University

Professional Memberships

Society for Research on Adolescence

American Educational Research Association

Society for Research on Child Development

Society for Community Research and Action

Selected Presentations

Griffith, A. & Dorsey, C. (April 2022). “They don’t talk to White girls like that”:  A meta-synthesis of Black schoolgirls' differential experiences. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Diego, CA.

Griffith, A., Lee, S., & Buttitta, E. (March 2019). How cultural match and mismatch unfolds in youth-adult relationships in youth programs. Paper presented at the biennial meeting for the Society for Research in Child Development. Baltimore, MD.

Research Currently in Progress

My project, Black Girl RISES (Black Girls' Relationships and Interactions with Staff in Educational Settings) focuses on the following research question: How do Black adolescent girls featured in research published between 1994-March 2021 perceive school staff’s perceptions of and interactions with them in the midst of school discipline, school engagement, and the typical day at school? Black Girl RISES was supported by the UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy Faculty Fellowship.