Caitlin Elsaesser, PhD

Associate Professor

Dr. Caitlin Elsaesser is an Associate Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. She is a licensed clinical social worker and completed her MSW and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. The overarching goal of Dr. Elsaesser’s work is to partner with youth and communities to create health promotion efforts that are empowering and accessible. Dr. Elsaesser’s work is guided by critical race and feminist theories. With an understanding that those with lived experience hold key expertise in health, her work draws on community-based participatory methodology. Her career as a researcher is built on a decade of direct experience working with adolescents and families in Chicago, first as a high school teacher and later as a social worker.

Caitlin is currently the Principal Investigator of a CDC-funded K01 Mentored Research Scientist Development Award. Working in partnership with Hartford violence prevention agencies as well as youth co-researchers, this project will design the core components of health supports for youth to navigate social media conflict implicated in offline violence. The work builds on Caitlin’s past community-partnered research focused on cyberbanging, an emerging form of youth violence occurring on social media, also implicated in other forms of youth violence. In partnership with a Hartford-based youth development agency, she developed a measure of cyberbanging, critical to understanding the connection between cyberbanging and youth violence, as well as to identifying mechanisms for intervention.

A mindfulness practitioner since 2014, one of Caitlin’s core interests is melding contemplative practice and social justice. Caitlin is currently a mindfulness teacher-in-training through the Teacher Training Program at iBme. Caitlin is the mother of two young children. Her perspective as a mother and mindfulness practitioner inform all parts of her work.

Research Interests

Adolescent well-being and resilience

Youth participatory action research and community participatory methods

Community, school, and family contexts of development

Victimization, violence, and perpetration

Role of technology in interpersonal violence

Mindfulness based approaches to well-being

Culturally specific health initiatives

Curriculum Vitae

View Caitlin Elsaesser’s CV

In the News

CT Mirror: To end gun violence we need to address poverty


Caitlin Elsaesser, PhD
Contact Information
Phone(959) 200-3671
Office LocationRoom 221 HSSW