Misha Inniss-Thompson
Misha Inniss-Thompson
Assistant Research Professor


Misha N. Inniss-Thompson is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Cornell University. Dr. Inniss-Thompson received her doctorate in Community Research and Action at Vanderbilt University. She is an alumnus of Cornell's Department of Human Development. During her undergraduate career, she was a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Scholar.

Dr. Inniss-Thompson’s research examines the impact of families, communities, and schools in shaping Black girls’ mental health and wellness using a cultural-assets perspective.

I am passionate about centering youth voices in the research process through methodological approaches such as photovoice and youth participatory action research.

My program of research investigates three primary questions:

  • What protective processes buffer the impact of racial discrimination on Black girls’ mental health and wellness?
  • How do social contexts shape Black adolescent girls’ mental health and wellness during the transition from middle childhood through adolescence? 
  • What can be gained by creating epistemological and physical spaces and places that support Black girls’ development?

My secondary area of research focuses on trends in nationwide school discipline disparities (i.e., suspensions, arrests, referrals to law enforcement, and physical restraint) that impact Black girls. My report, Summary of Discipline Data for Girls in U.S. Public Schools: An Analysis from the 2015 - 2016 U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Data Collection, has been cited by legal scholars and the 2019 documentary, Pushout, for bringing to light inequities in school policies that push Black girls out of the school system.

Inniss-Thompson, M.N., Butler-Barnes, S.T., Taaffe, C., & Elliott, T. (2022). We have feelings 
too: Increasing the visibility of Black adolescent girls’ mental health using photovoice. 
Journal of African American Women and Girls in Education  2(2), 37–64. https://jaawge-ojs-tamu.tdl.org/JAAWGE/article/view/113

Butler-Barnes, S.T., Leath, S., Inniss-Thompson, M. N., Boyd, D. T., & Allen, P. (2022). Racial and gender discrimination by teachers: Risks for Black girls’ depressive symptomatology and suicidal ideation. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, advanced online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/cdp0000538

Cooper, S. M., Burnett, M., Golden, A. R., Butler-Barnes, S., & Inniss-Thompson, M.N. (2022). School discrimination, discipline inequities, and the adjustment of Black adolescent girls and boys. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 32 (1), https://doi.org/ /10.1111/jora.12716  

Anderson, R. E., Ahn, L. H., Brooks, J.R., Charity-Parker, B., Inniss-Thompson, M.N., Gumudavelly, D., Mitchell, S. & Anyiwo, N. (2022).  “The Talk” tells the story: How parents’ racial socialization strategies aim to protect Black adolescents from racism. Journal of Adolescent Research, https://doi.org/10.1177/07435584221076067

Murry, V.M., Gonzalez, C.M., Hanebutt, R.A., Bulgin, D., Coates, E.E., Inniss-Thompson, M.N., Debreaux, M.L., Wilson, W.E., Abel, D., & Cortez, M.B. (2021). Longitudinal study of the cascading effects of racial discrimination on parenting and adjustment among African American youth.  Attachment & Human Development, https://doi.org/10.1080/14616734.2021.1976926

Butler-Barnes, S.T. & Inniss-Thompson, M.N. (2020) “My teacher doesn’t like me”: Perceptions of teacher discrimination and school discipline among African-American and Caribbean Black adolescent girls. Education Sciences, 10, 44. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10020044

B.S., Human Development, Cornell University

M.S., Community Research and Action, Vanderbilt University

Ph.D., Community Research and Action, Vanderbilt University

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