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  • Building: Psychology
  • Office: 127A
  • Phone: (517) 432-6708

Jennifer Watling Neal CV

Associate Professor

PhD, Community Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2008
MA, Community Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2004
BS, Psychology, University of Arizona, 2001
BA, Sociology, University of Arizona, 2001

Research Statement

My research focuses on (1) how public school educators acquire information about and decide to adopt social skills, health, and instructional programs (2) how teacher advice networks are associated with the adoption and use of classroom practices and (3) how children’s peer social networks are associated with their aggressive and prosocial behaviors. I also have expertise in social network analysis and have published several papers on the advancement of social network data collection and analytic methods. I often focus my work on urban and low-income elementary schools and have collected social network data in several public school districts. I am the recipient of the 2016 American Psychological Association Division 27 Early Career Award, and my research has appeared in journals such as Child Development, American Journal of Community Psychology, Sociology of Education, Social Development, Social Networks, Journal of Urban Affairs, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Journal of Early Adolescence  The William T. Grant Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health have funded my work.

Related Programs

Selected Publications

  • Neal, J.W., Durbin, C.E., Gornik, A.E., & Lo, S.L.
    Co-development of preschoolers’ temperament traits and social play networks over an entire school year.
    2017, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
  • Neal, Z.P., Neal, J.W., Mills, K.J., & Lawlor, J.A.
    Making or buying evidence: Using transaction cost economics to understand decision-making in public school districts.
    2017, Evidence & Policy
  • Collins, C.R., Neal, Z.P., & Neal, J.W.
    Transforming social cohesion into informal social control: Deconstructing collective efficacy and the moderating role of neighborhood racial heterogeneity.
    2017, Journal of Urban Affairs, 39:307-322
  • Neal, J.W., Neal, Z.P., & Cappella, E.
    Seeing and being seen: Predictors of accurate perceptions about classmates’ relationships.
    2016, Social Networks, 44:1-8
  • Neal, J.W.
    Phenomenon of interest, framework, or theory?: Building better explanations in community psychology.
    2016, Global Journal of Community Psychology Practice, 7:1-6
  • Kornbluh, M., Neal, J.W., & Ozer, E.J.
    Scaling up youth-led social justice efforts through an online school-based social network.
    2016, American Journal of Community Psychology, 57:266-279
  • Kornbluh, M. & Neal, J.W.
    Examining the many dimensions of children’s popularity: Interactions between aggression, prosocial behavior, and gender.
    2016, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33:62-80
  • Shernoff, E.S., Frazier, S., Lora, A., Lakind, D., Atkins, M., Jakobsons, L., Hamre, B., Bhaumik, D., Katz, M., Neal, J.W., Patel, D., & Smylie, M.
    Expanding the role of school psychologists to support early career teachers: A mixed method study.
    2016, School Psychology Review, 45:226-249
  • Neal, J.W., Neal, Z.P., Kornbluh, M., Mills, K.J., & Lawlor J.A.
    Brokering the research-practice gap: A typology.
    2015, American Journal of Community Psychology, 3:422-435
  • Neal, Z.P., Neal, J.W., Lawlor, J.A., & Mills, K.J.
    Small worlds or worlds apart? Using network theory to understand the research-practice gap.
    2015, Psychosocial Intervention, 24:177-184
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