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Julie Cederbaum - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Julie Cederbaum Julie Cederbaum

Associate Professor of Social Work | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Dr. Cederbaum focuses on family process, childhood adversity, and reproductive and behavioral health risk prevention.



JULIE CEDERBAUM is an associate professor in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Her work focused on the impact of childhood adversity and family processes on the well-being youth. Using a dyad and family systems lens, her research explores the strengths and challenges experienced by diverse families, and ways in which parenting processes and behaviors (i.e. parent–child communication, parental monitoring, parent–child relationship, and parental role modeling) and positively influence mental health, reproductive health, and substance use behaviors in children, adolescents and young adults.

Her current project is Project Fatherhood (a collaboration with Children’s Institute, Inc), a longitudinal intervention study exploring ways in which knowledge and skill-building and strengthen father-child and father-partner relationships. This work is funded by a grant from the Administration of Children and Families. Other projects are focused on pregnancy and parenting and behavioral outcomes for teen mothers and their children, parenting and behavioral outcomes among adolescents of HIV-affected families, partner and parenting relationships in military families, experiences of child-welfare involved youth, and the role of social support in facilitating positive outcomes in adolescents in young adults. This work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, Department of Defense, and Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Dr. Cederbaum serves as the current chair of the Public Health Social Work section of the American Public Health Association, and serves as the Discipline Director for two Maternal Child Health funded programs at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles: Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) and Pediatric Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine Center (PPSMC).

To reference the work of Julie Cederbaum online, we ask that you directly quote their work where possible and attribute it to "Julie Cederbaum, a faculty at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work” (LINK: https://dworakpeck.usc.edu/academics/faculty-directory/julie-cederbaum)

Education (4)

University of Pennsylvania: PhD 2009

University of Pennsylvania: MPH 2007

University of California, Los Angeles: MSW 2001

Drew University: BA 1997

Areas of Expertise (4)

Parenting and Fatherhood

Childhood Adversity

Parent-child communication


Industry Expertise (4)

Social Services



Health and Wellness

Languages (1)

  • English


Grand Challenges (1)

Public health social work as a unifying framework for social work’s grand challenges

Cederbaum, J. A., Ross, A. M., Ruth, B. J., & Keefe, R. H. (2019). Public health social work as a unifying framework for social work’s grand challenges. Social Work, 64, 9-18. doi:10.1093/sw/swy045

Media Appearances (4)

“How to talk to your kids about coronavirus”

Spectrum News 1  tv

Interview on how to effectively talk to your kids about COVID-19, the COVID-19 shut down, and strategies for parenting during the pandemic

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Experts Encourage New Traditions for Kids This Holiday Period

Outlook Newspapers  print

How to navigate the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic. Special focus on parenting and parent-child communication.

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Parenting in a time of quarantine

KPCC Radio  radio

Discussion on Take Two hosted by A. Martinez about parenting during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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How parents can talk to their kids about COVID-19’

USC News  print

School lock-down and parenting during COVID-19 pandemic

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  • Panelist

Courses (2)

Introduction to Social Work Practice with Children, Youth and Families

Understanding development of children and families from birth to adolescence and the developmental difficulties from an ecological perspective. Assessment/engagement of families and Interventions are introduced.

Social Work Practice with Children and Families in Early and Middle Childhood

Provides understanding of the development of problems in early childhood, and skills for engagement, assessment, intervention, and evaluation of effectiveness for treatment of these problems.

Research Articles & Publications (3)

Child maltreatment and romantic relationships in adolescence and young adulthood: The mediating role of self-perception

Child Abuse & Neglect

Cederbaum, J. A., Negriff, S., & Palmer-Molina, A.


Background: Child maltreatment (CM) can disrupt the development of self, influencing the ability to form positive relationships, including romantic attachment. While mental health is a known mediator of maltreatment history and romantic relationships, less is known about the role of self perception. Objective: The goal of this work is to understand the role self-perception plays in the association between CM history and romantic relationships during adolescence and young adulthood. Participants: Longitudinal data from child welfare involved and comparison youth were gathered to examine whether self-perception mediated the association between CM history and the proportion of positive romantic relationships. Mean age at T1 was 11.03 years and 18.24 years at T4. Methods: Participants in the CM group were recruited from active Child Protective Services cases in a large west coast city. The comparison group was recruited using names from school lists of children residing in the same 10 zip codes. Assessments were conducted at an urban research university. After assent/consent were obtained, the adolescent was administered questionnaires. For the current analyses, only those who indicated they had ever had a romantic relationship were included (n = 306). Hypotheses were tested used path modeling in Mplus 7.0. Results: CM history was associated with lower self-perceptions in all domains. Only behavioral (β = 0.15, p= 0.02) and scholastic (β= -0.14, p= 0.04) self- perceptions predicted proportion of later positive romantic relationships. A significant mediation effect was found only for behavioral self perceptions. Conclusions: Interventions aimed at bolstering self- perceptions and engagement in positive behaviors could strengthen positive relationships for youth with CM and child welfare experiences.

Sex and substance use behaviors among children of teen mothers: A systematic review

. Journal of Adolescence

Cederbaum, J. A., Jeong, C. H., Yuan, C., & Lee, J. O.


Introduction: Adolescent birth is a known correlate of many challenging behavioral health consequences for offspring. This systematic review seeks to understanding the sex and substance use behaviors of children born to teen mothers extending the body of literature on the long-term outcomes of being born to a teen mother. Methods: A systematic approach, in accordance with PRISMA guidelines, was used to review and identify eligible studies in the following electronic databases: Web of Science, ProQuest, PubMed, and Ovid MEDLINE. Study inclusion: (a) maternal age (> 20) was the key predictor or group variable and (b) children's risky sexual or substance use behaviors were outcome variables. All articles meeting inclusion criteria were next screened using the quality assessment tool created by the Effective Public Health Practice Project. Results: Seventeen articles reporting on risky sexual behaviors and 12 articles on substance use behaviors met inclusion criteria. We found a consistent association between being born to a teen mother and risky sexual behaviors, including early sexual debut and transitioning into motherhood during adolescence/young adulthood. The link between being born to a teen mother and substance use behaviors was inconsistent and only found in large population-based studies. Conclusion: Teen mothers and their children have unique individual, family, and structural needs. Evidence highlights that while there is no clear need to adapt substance use prevention interventions for these children, investing in targeted adaptations of abstinence and safer sex interventions to meet the unique experiences of children of teen mothers and their children is warranted.

Contact tracing: An opportunity for social work to lead.

Social Work in Public Health

Ross, A., de Saxe Zerden, L., Zelnick, J., Ruth, B. J., & Cederbaum, J. A.


Since the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) first emerged in December 2019, there have been unprecedented efforts worldwide to contain and mitigate the rapid spread of the virus through evidence-based public health measures. As a component of pandemic response in the United States, efforts to develop, launch, and scale-up contact tracing initiatives are rapidly expanding, yet the presence of social work is noticeably absent. In this paper, we identify the specialized skill set necessary for high quality contact tracing in the COVID-19 era and explore its alignment with social work competencies and skills. Described are current examples of contact tracing efforts, and an argument for greater social work leadership, based on the profession’s ethics, competencies and person-in-environment orientation is offered. In light of the dire need for widespread high-quality contact tracing, social work is well-positioned to participate in interprofessional efforts to design, oversee and manage highly effective front-line contact tracing efforts.