Keisha Leanne Bentley-Edwards, PhD

Assistant Professor in Medicine
Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Email address

I am a developmental psychologist who uses a cultural lens to understand social, emotional and academic outcomes. My work specifically examines how race, culture and racism stress influence how the world responds to Black Americans and how this influences health and social disparities. I develop culturally cognizant measures, specifically in the areas of racial/ethnic socialization, racial cohesion and dissonance and same-race violence. As an interdisciplinary researcher, I examine the racial and societal contexts that influence health, coping and well-being in schools, communities and within families. I am also the Associate Director of Research and the Director of the Health Equity Working Group for the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity.

Areas of research include:

  • Racial/Cultural Determinants of Health & Educational Outcomes
  • African American Psychology
  • Race, Religion & Health
  • Using Cultural Strengths to Promote Resilience
  • Racism, Sexism & Discrimination
  • Unarmed Shootings of Black People/Police Brutality
  • Navigating Race and Racial Tensions
  • Racial Socialization
  • Culturally Relevant Assessment
  • Race & Ethnicity in Schools & Communities
  • Effects of At-Risk Neighborhoods on Youth 
  • Bullying 
  • Black Racial Cohesion & Dissonance
  • Black Women's Psychology & Mental Health
  • (Pre)school to Prison Pipeline-Disparate Disciplinary Practices
  • Exposure to Violence
  • Health Equity
  • Black Families
  • Racial Identity
  • Black Children, Adolescents & College Students

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2009
  • M.A., Columbia University, 2000


Bentley-Edwards, K. L., and H. C. Stevenson. “The Multidimensionality of Racial/Ethnic Socialization: Scale Construction for the Cultural and Racial Experiences of Socialization (CARES).” Journal of Child and Family Studies 25, no. 1 (January 1, 2016): 96–108.

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Bentley-Edwards, K. L., and C. Chapman-Hilliard. “Doing race in different places: Black racial cohesion on black and white college campuses.” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education 8, no. 1 (March 1, 2015): 43–60.

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Bartoli, E., K. L. Bentley-Edwards, A. M. García, A. Michael, and A. Ervin. “What Do White Counselors and Psychotherapists Need to Know About Race? White Racial Socialization in Counseling and Psychotherapy Training Programs.” Women and Therapy 38, no. 3–4 (January 1, 2015): 246–62.

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Adams-Bass, Tom, Tom Bentley-Edwards, and Tom Stevenson. “That's Not Me I See on TV . . . : African American Youth Interpret Media Images of Black Females.” Women, Gender, and Families of Color 2, no. 1 (2014): 79–79.

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Bentley-Edwards, K. L., D. E. Thomas, and H. C. Stevenson. “Raising consciousness: Promoting healthy coping among African American boys at school.” In Handbook of Culturally Responsive School Mental Health: Advancing Research, Training, Practice, and Policy, 121–33, 2013.

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Thomas, D. E., S. I. Coard, H. C. Stevenson, K. Bentley, and P. Zamel. “Racial and emotional factors predicting teachers' perceptions of classroom behavioral maladjustment for urban African American male youth.” Psychology in the Schools 46, no. 2 (February 1, 2009): 184–96.

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Bentley, K., V. Adams, and H. Stevenson. “Racial socialization: Roots, processes, and outcomes.” In Handbook of African American Psychology, translated by H. Neville, B. Tynes, and S. Utsey, 255–67. SAGE Publications, 2008.