Trenita Childers, PhD

Research Interests

My research interests explore the connection between inequality, mental health, and public policy. I began this agenda by examining racial/ethnic differences in mental health service use.  My dissertation research continued this research trajectory. I completed an ethnographic study on depression and anxiety symptoms among Haitian immigrants living in the Dominican Republic. Specifically, I examined the mental health impact of Dominican documentation policy on residents of a batey. I also conducted sub-group analyses to unpack intersectional experiences based on gender and nativity.  I am particularly interested in the ways that government policies impact vulnerable populations.


Current Research Projects

My interest in mental health among vulnerable populations has led me to my current research agenda.  I am currently working with Marisa Domino, Ph.D., on a study examining expedited Medicaid enrollment, mental health service use and recidivism among released prisoners with severe mental illness. I am also working with Kathleen Thomas, Ph.D., on a study examining intervention strategies to foster parent activation in Latina mothers for their children with mental health needs.



2017 Ph.D. Sociology; Duke University
2005 B.A. Sociology; Davidson College


Selected Publications

Childers, Trenita B. and San Juanita García. (2016) “The Racial Implications of Immigration Policy” In G. Muschert, B. Klocke, R. Perrucci, and J. Shefner (Eds.) Agenda for Social Justice Solutions 2016 (p. 81-92). Chicago, IL: Policy Press.

Childers, Trenita B. and Kevin Chiou. (2015) Review of Black Political Economy “Socioeconomic Status, Religion and Health in India: An Examination of Chronic and Communicable Diseases”. DOI: 10.1007/s12114-015-9225-2.                                                                    

Childers, Trenita B. (July 15, 2015) “Op-Ed: The Question of Birth Citizenship”. The Raleigh News & Observer

Breland-Noble, A.M., Wong, M., Childers, T., Hankerson & S. Sotomayor, J. (2015) “Spirituality and Religious Coping in African American Youth with Depressive Illness”. Mental Health, Religion & Culture. DOI: 10.1080/13674676.2015.1056120.


Selected Presentations

Childers, T. (February, 2016). Needed But Unwanted: A Portrait of Contingent Inclusion in the Dominican Republic. Paper presented at the Consortium Conference in Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.

Childers, T.
(May, 2015) ‘Cuando me pongo a pensar’: La depresión y la ansiedad en un batey Dominicano. Preliminary results presented at La Clinica de Familia. La Romana, Dominican Republic.

Childers, T. (May, 2015) Mental Health in a Dominican Batey: Prevalence, Determinants, and Coping Mechanisms. Preliminary results presented at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Childers, T. & Chiou, K. (April, 2014) Caste, Religion, and Health in India. Paper presented at the Subaltern Peoples Conference: Comparative Experiences of African Americans, Dalits, and Tribals. Durham, NC.

Childers, T. (October, 2013) ‘We are not foreigners’: Immigrant Status and Mental Health Among Haitians in the Dominican Republic. Paper presented at the Public Sociology Graduate Conference at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.

Childers, T.  (February, 2012) Racial Barriers to Seeking Professional Mental Health Care: The Role of Stigma, Church Attendance and Religiosity. Paper presented at the Eastern Sociological Society conference, New York, NY.