Liliana Lengua’s Research

About

My research uses a bioecological framework to understand children’s emotional, social and behavioral adjustment, examining the complex relations among individual, interpersonal, and contextual factors in development. I am particularly interested in individual differences in children’s responses to economic disadvantage and adversity, identifying children who are vulnerable or resilient in the face of risk. My research examines children’s temperament, self-regulation, appraisals and coping as potential mediators and moderators of the effects of risk. I’m also interested in the role that parents and families play in protecting children who experience adversity and promoting well-being.

In addition, I have been studying children’s individual differences in response to parenting by examining temperament as it interacts and transacts with parenting to predict children’s adjustment.

My goal is to enhance our understanding of the etiology of adjustment problems and positive adjustment, both for basic knowledge about development and to inform interventions aimed at preventing adjustment problems and promoting positive adjustment in children.

People

 

Liliana Lengua

Dr. Lengua is CCFW’s founding director and an internationally recognized expert on children’s vulnerable and resilient responses to stress, how parenting and children’s temperament contribute to those responses, and the impact of adversity on parenting and children’s social-emotional development.
 

 

 

Mariah Corey

Mariah is interested in promoting the health and well-being of racial and ethnic minorities experiencing discrimination. Mariah’s research explores how Black individuals cope with racial and ethnic discrimination and how effective these coping strategies are in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Clinically, Mariah enjoy providing culturally responsive anxiety treatment to youth and young adults specifically within marginalized communities who often experience barriers to obtaining mental health care.

Email: mdcorey@uw.edu

 

 

Lindsey Green

Lindsey is interested in developmental psychopathology. Specifically, how individual and environmental (e.g., parenting) level factors contribute to the development of self and emotion regulation in children and skew trajectories toward or away from maladaptive outcomes.

 

 

Max Halvorson

Max is interested in how emotion regulation and coping develop across the preadolescent and adolescent years, and how impulsive personality traits impact this development. He enjoys a broad range of clinical work, but especially working with teens and their parents on issues related to emotion regulation and coping. Max has also developed expertise in applying and teaching advanced statistical methods, including structural equation modeling, multilevel models, and multiple imputations for missing data.

 

 

Lisa Shimomaeda

Lisa has a particular interest in researching how parental behaviors, the developmental timing of family financial hardship, and children’s executive control (EC) and emotional reactivity intersect in shaping child mental health outcomes. Clinically, Lisa currently treats anxiety and depression and plans to gain training in dialectical-behavioral therapy (DBT), as well as specialized training in working with marginalized youth.

Email: lshimom2@uw.edu

 

 

Michele Smith

Michele is interested in risk and protective factors in the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents. Factors of particular interest include experiences of adversity and coping and emotion regulation. Her clinical interests include eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and trauma, as well as mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral treatment approaches. Michele enjoys working with a diversity of families and individual clients, and she has a personal interest in increasing mental health support for BIPOC and lower income communities.

 

 

Caitlin Stavish

Caitlin is interested in how caregiving supports the development of resilience in children, as well as the implementation of preventative interventions within families.

Email: stavishc@uw.edu

 

 

Dannielle Whiley

Dannielle is broadly interested in promoting well-being and healthy outcomes for Black families across the perinatal period. Her research explores how generational trauma impacts Black maternal health and how a mindfulness based intervention might shape infant development by supporting sensitive parenting. Dannielle is very excited to offer an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Mindfulness at UW this Spring.

Email: djwhiley@uw.edu

Current Research Projects

NEW Moms Connect

 

Parents are children’s first and most important influences in life, and sensitive, responsive, consistent parenting supports children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. However, the stress and adversity associated with economic strain can make it challenging for parents for maintain sensitive, responsive relationships with their infants and can interfere with their own emotional well-being. NEW Moms Connect aims to strengthen emotional well-being and effective parenting in soon-to-be and new mothers experiencing low income and poverty.

NEW Moms Connect is a study that compares the effects of addressing mothers’ well-being during the perinatal period as well as their parenting behaviors on infants’ neurobiological development. A key goal of this research is to disentangle the effects of prenatal programming of stress, postnatal parent stress and mental health, and sensitive, responsive parenting practices on infant well-being.

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SEACAP: Social, Emotional, and Academic Competence for Children and Parents

 

Since 2013, we have been developing and evaluating a parenting program called SEACAP: Social, Emotional, and Academic Competence for Children and Parents. SEACAP promotes young children’s ability to self-regulate through parenting strategies that contribute to children’s positive development. We collaborated with parents, providers and early learning centers in the development of this program. To date, more than 100 families have participated in SEACAP.

We set out to study the effectiveness of a brief program that focused on enhancing parent behaviors that research shows promote children’s social-emotional competence. We were particularly interested in understanding how these practices could improve outcomes for parents and children experiencing adversity, so all children can grow up resilient and thriving, particularly those from families living in a context of low-income or poverty. Too often, these families face high levels of stress from experiencing inequity and lack access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

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The Triple C Project

 

The purpose of our project, known as Children, COVID-19, and its Consequences (the “Triple C” Project), is to analyze how COVID-19 is affecting familial economic and child well-being. Triple C is the first study to provide a comprehensive portrait of the well-being of families and children across multiple cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our study assesses multiple dimensions of economic well-being to fully reflect the manifold effects of the current economic crisis. Triple C intends to survey families at three relatively short intervals (baseline, 3-months, and 9 months), to capture the dynamic nature of economic circumstances and the degree of economic uncertainty caused by the epidemic that may be missed by surveys with longer times between data collection. Our study will document how economic uncertainty shapes family processes, parenting, and children’s development with particular attention to how these effects differ across race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic lines. Because of our rapid approach to the proposed data collection the Triple C will provide timely dissemination of findings immediately accessible by researchers and policymakers.

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Project 1, 2, 3, GO!

 

In 2008 we started Project 1, 2, 3, Go! which is a developmental study of 3-year-old children and their parents. We have followed children’s development of self-regulation, social-emotional competence, and psychological adjustment across 9 years, and during the COVID19 pandemic.

We are interested in finding out more about how self-regulation develops and contributes to well-being in children. These skills are critical for children’s positive social development, but we know little about how children gain these skills and what contributes to their development over time. We want to learn more about what families do to promote positive behaviors in children, particularly when families experience major stress and economic difficulties in their lives.

Our goal is to follow children’s development from preschool through high school. We hope to stay in contact with families and continue learning about youth and families’ experiences.

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Past Research Projects

Children, Families & Neighborhoods

 

The Children, Families and Neighborhoods Projects are studies aimed at better understanding how children’s individual personalities and coping contribute to how they respond to their environment. We know that all children are different, and two children experiencing similar situations can respond very differently. We want to understand what parents and children do to help their children adjust positively to their life situations.

Children who adapt well in stressful or difficult situations are called “resilient.” If we can understand what parents and children do to help their children develop positive social skills, responsibility, and self-esteem, we can help other children to adopt similar behaviors. We will use our growing understanding of what contributes to children’s resilience and self-esteem to develop interventions to promote positive adjustment.

We are committed to developing interventions that apply to a wide range of children: children with diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds, from single and two-parent households, and from all walks of life. That is why we want the families that participate in our project to be diverse and from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences.

1997-1999 Children, Families, & Neighborhoods Project

106 families participated in the 97-98 interviews. 58 boys and 48 girls were interviewed. Children who participated in the study lived in various family configurations: 33% lived with a single parent; 56% lived with both a biological mom and dad; 11% lived with one biological parent and one step-parent or they lived with a grandparent or sibling. The families who participated were also from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds: 32% of the children were African American; 3% were of Asian background; 2% were of Hispanic background; 47% were European American or White; and 14% were of multiple cultural or ethnic backgrounds or other background. The families who participated represent the variety and richness of children’s experiences, and this will be very informative as we try to understand children’s family and neighborhood experiences. We want to thank the families who participated for letting us into your homes and find out more about you and your experiences.

89 of these families returned for the second interview 1 year after their first one. These follow up interviews are critical to helping us understand how children grow and change! Thanks for participating both times!!

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Kids World

 

Kid’s World Project at the University of Washington studied children’s individual responses to their experiences. Two children with similar experiences can respond very differently. We wanted to understand what children and parents do to help their children develop into healthy individuals.

1999-2004 Kids’ World Project

214 families participated in the interviews in 1999-2000. Children who participated in the study lived in various family configurations: 29% lived with a single parent; 60% lived with both a biological mom and dad; 11% lived with one biological parent and one step-parent or they lived with a grandparent or sibling. The families who participated were also from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds: 16% of the children were African American; 3% were of Asian background; 4% were of Hispanic background; 70% were European American or White; and 5% were of multiple cultural or ethnic backgrounds or other background. The families who participated represent the variety and richness of children’s experiences, and this has been very informative as we worked to understand children’s family and neighborhood experiences. We want to thank the families who participated for letting us into your homes and find out more about you and your experiences.

191 of these families returned for second and third interviews 1 and 2 years after their first one, and 150 youth completed surveys when they were 18-21 years old! These follow up interviews were critical to helping us understand how children develop the resources for dealing with stress, and how parents and families support their positive development. Thanks for letting us watch your children grow over the years!!

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