Riana E. Anderson

Riana Elyse Anderson

Faculty Associate, Research Center for Group Dynamics, Institute for Social Research


Riana Elyse Anderson, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. She received her PhD in clinical and community psychology at the University of Virginia and completed a clinical and community psychology doctoral internship at Yale University’s School of Medicine. She also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in applied psychology at the University of Pennsylvania supported by the Ford and Robert Wood Johnson Foundations.

Riana uses mixed methods in clinical interventions to study racial discrimination and socialization in Black families to reduce racial stress and trauma and improve psychological well-being and family functioning. She investigates how protective familial mechanisms such as parenting and racial socialization operate in the face of risks linked to poverty, discrimination, and residential environment. She is particularly interested in how these factors predict familial functioning and subsequent child psychosocial outcomes, especially when enrolled in family-based interventions. As such, Riana developed a five-session intervention entitled EMBRace (Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race) to alleviate racial stress and trauma in parents and adolescents in order to facilitate healthy parent-child relationships, parent and adolescent psychological well-being, and healthy coping strategies.

Current Work:
Dr. Anderson developed and directs the Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race (EMBRace) intervention. EMBRace is a 5-session family-based racial socialization (RS) and racial stress and trauma (RST) management intervention designed to reduce parent and adolescent RST and improve familial psychological and physiological well-being and adolescent academic engagement. EMBRace involves skill development regarding content (RS: cultural pride, preparation for bias, promotion of distrust, and colorblindness/egalitarianism/silence about race), process (RS knowledge, stress management, and coping) and delivery (affection, protection, correction, and connection). EMBRace is the first identified RS intervention for adolescents and their parents that uses culturally-specific theories and evidence-based practices to engage in racial encounters and reduce RST.

EMBRace utilizes narrative-sharing, individual and dyadic clinical work, and culturally-relevant experiences to help families engage, manage, and bond through the difficult topic of race in America.

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