Alisa Almas

Alisa Almas
Faculty Research Associate

Dr. Alisa Almas is a Research Associate at the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP). She completed her doctoral training in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto, and post-doctoral training in the Child Development Lab at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on social development across childhood and adolescence, with a special interest in children in at-risk or atypical populations. She examines how children’s abilities to negotiate new peer groups and form high quality friendships buffer the impact of early risk factors on their social success. In addition, Dr. Almas investigates the early experiences children have with peers, and the impact of these on trajectories of social and emotional development over time.

Dr. Almas leads the CHEQ Project at HELP, developing and validating a population-level tool (The Childhood Experiences Questionnaire or CHEQ) for assessing the experiences children have prior to Kindergarten across multiple domains of development. Information gathered using the CHEQ provides immediate, actionable data to schools, school districts and communities that can be used to improve the lives of children as they begin formal education. In addition, CHEQ data is used by researchers to highlight variability in children’s early experiences and to understand the impact of this variability on children’s skills and competencies in multiple domains across childhood.

Select Publications

Almas, A. N., Degnan, K., Nelson, C., Zeanah, C., & Fox, N. (2016). IQ at age 12 following a history of institutional care: Findings from the Bucharest Early Intervention Project. Developmental Psychology, 52, 1858-1866.

Guhn M., Gadermann A., Almas A., Schonert-Reichl K., Hertzman C. (2016) Associations between teacher-rated social, emotional, and cognitive development in kindergarten and self-reported wellbeing, peer relations, and academic test scores in middle childhood. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Volume 35, 2nd Quarter, 2016, 76-84. 

Almas, A. N., Degnan, K., Walker, O., Radulescu, A., Nelson, C., Zeanah, C., & Fox, N. (2015). The effects of
early institutionalization and foster care intervention on children’s social behaviors at age 8. Social Development, 24, 225-239.

Degnan, K., Almas, A. N., Henderson, H., Hane, A., Walker, O., & Fox, N. (2014). Longitudinal trajectories of social reticence with unfamiliar peers across early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 2311-2323.

Almas, A. N., Degnan, K., Radulescu, A., Nelson, C., Zeanah, C., & Fox, N. (2012). Effects of early intervention and the moderating effects of brain activity on institutionalized children’s social skills at age 8. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 17228-17231.

Almas, A. N., Degnan, K., Phillips, D., Henderson, H., & Fox, N. (2011). The relations between infant negative
reactivity, non-maternal childcare, and children’s interactions with familiar and unfamiliar peers. Social Development, 20, 718-740.