Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Ph.D.


4123 Sennott Square 210 S. Bouquet St.

Pittsburgh, PA 15260






Research Interests

Poverty, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic disadvantage, urbanicity, early childhood education, immigrant children.


Download CV here

Research Interests: The goal of my research program is to strengthen understanding about how key contexts support learning and socioemotional development during the transition to school and the elementary school years. My research places an emphasis on ethnically diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged children, because these children tend to be underrepresented in developmental research, although they are overrepresented among those targeted by programs and policies. Grounded in bioecological models that conceptualize child development as the result of reciprocal interactions between individuals and the multiple environments in which they are embedded, my research focuses on the influences of child care, home, school, and social policies on development during early and middle childhood. Theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches from multiple disciplines, including psychology, education, economics, and sociology, guide my research in four primary areas. The first focus area aims to strengthen our understanding of the influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on children’s development. The second explores the effects of early childhood education and care (ECEC) on children’s development. The third considers school, family, and child factors that enhance trajectories of academic achievement and socioemotional development during elementary school. The fourth examines the well-being of children and families following the implementation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) program. In each of these areas, I strive to conduct research that will inform the development of policies and programs aimed at improving the life chances of children and families.

Accepting Graduate Students: Yes(Developmental Only)

Graduate Student Advisees

  • Henry, Daphne
  • Laura Betancur Cortes
  • Kendra Whitfield


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University


  • Foundation for Child Development Young Scholar Award (2011)


  • Publication 1026

    Koury, A.S. & Votruba-Drzal, E. (in press) School readiness of children of immigrants: Contributions of early environments. Journal of Educational Psychology.

  • Publication 1030

    Coley, R.L., Votruba-Drzal, E., Miller, P., & Koury, A. (in press). Timing, Extent, and Type of Child Care and Childrens Behavior Problems and Learning Behaviors in Kindergarten, Developmental Psychology.

  • Publication 747

    Maldonado-CarreÕ±o, C. & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2011) Teacher-Child relationships and the development of academic and social skills during elementary school: A within and between child analysis. Child Development, 601-616.

  • Publication 746

    Li-Grining, C.P., Votruba-Drzal, E., Maldonado-CarreÕ±o, C. & Haas, K. (2010). Childrens early approaches to learning and academic trajectories through fifth grade. Developmental Psychology, 66, 1062-1077.

  • Publication 549

    Votruba-Drzal, E., Coley, R.L., Maldonado-CarreÕ±o, C., Li-Grining, C., & Chase-Lansdale, P.L. (2010). Child care and the development of behavior problems among economically disadvantaged children in middle childhood. Child Development, 81, 1460-1475.

  • Publication 1031

    Miller, P. & Votruba-Drzal, E. (in press). Family Income and Early Achievement Across the Urban to Rural Continuum, Developmental Psychology.

  • Publication 1028

    Votruba-Drzal, E., Levine- Coley, R., Koury, A.S., & Miller, P. (in press). Center-based child care and cognitive skills development: Importance of timing and household resources. Journal of Educational Psychology.

  • Publication 777

    Gianaros, P.J., Manuck, S.B., Sheu, L.K., Kuan, D.C., Votruba-Drzal, E., Craig, A.E., Hariri, A.R. (2011). Parental education predicts corticostriatal functionality in adulthood. Cerebral Cortex, 21, 896-910.

  • Publication 820

    El Nokali, N., Bachman, H. J., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2010). Parent involvement and childrensacademic achievement and social development in elementary school. Child Development, 81, 988-1005.

  • Publication 1032

    El Nokali, N.E., Bachman, H. J., & Votruba-Drzal, E. (2010) Parent involvement and childrens academic and social development in elementary school. Child Development, 988 - 1005.

  • Publication 984

    Ciccocioppo, M., Frieze, I.H., Votruba-Drzal, E. (2011). The importance of addressing nonsexual exclusivity perceptions and ideals in therapy. Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy, 10, 246-261.