Tulane Home Tulane Home

Student Full Name

Elsia (Elsa) Obus

Specialty Areas:

Families Impacted by Incarceration

VPI Core Areas

VPI Core Areas: #Community Violence

Angles of Approach

#Mental Health Psychological


Elsia’s primary focus is assisting families and children who have been impacted by parental arrest and incarceration. Because this issue disproportionately impacts the lives of families of color, families living in poverty, and families in the Southern part of the United States, her current project is a qualitative study of how Black mothers in New Orleans choose to communicate with their preschool-age children about police, arrest, and incarceration. Her research is inspired by a dual hope that improvements to psychological services can aid families currently navigating experiences of incarceration and arrest, and that improvements to policy can limit the number of families dealing with these potentially traumatic experiences in the future. Elsia’s study seeks to ground answers to these questions in the voices of mothers who have been arrested or whose partners have been arrested as a first and necessary step toward improving support for families impacted by the criminal justice system.

As a doctoral student in the School Psychology program, Elsia’s research interests also stem, perhaps most importantly, from questions she has been asked by families and children that she works with in a clinical context. She hopes that her research can begin to provide some answers to parents wanting to know more about how best to communicate with young children about police, arrest, and incarceration.


  • Thesis title: "Communicating with Young Children about Police, Arrest, and Incarceration: Black Mothers' Perspectives."
  • Research skills: SPSS, qualitative interviewing, Grounded Theory coding, psychological assessment and therapy with children and adolescents