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Child & Youth Well-Being & Resilience

Understanding and promoting factors that contribute to children’s well-being and resilience

Social, emotional and cognitive skills serve as critical foundations for children’s well-being — and as important resources (called “protective factors”) for children growing up in adverse circumstances. Children with well-developed skills in these areas can have reduced risk for academic, behavioral, mental health, and substance use problems.

Our research utilizes a bioecological, or “whole-child” approach to examine the influences of neurobiological stress responses, self-regulation, parenting, family relationships, neighborhood, and economic disadvantage on children’s social, emotional and cognitive well-being.

We are also developing provider, parent and youth programs that support the development of child self-regulation and social-emotional well-being. These programs combine cognitive-behavioral approaches to promote social-emotional skills with mindfulness and compassion practices to support well-being.

Research topics include

  • Children’s well-being and resilience in the face of poverty, family adversity, domestic violence, cancer
  • Self-regulation and cCoping as protective factors in at-risk children and youth
  • Parenting and emotion coaching interventions for children in high-risk contexts
  • Mindfulness-based parenting and youth-resilience programs

Current Research, Projects & Programs


Promoting child and parent self-regulation and social-emotional competence through behavioral parenting practices and mindfulness. Learn more >

NEW Moms Connect: Nurturing Emotional Well-being

We are exploring the benefits of different mindfulness and self-compassion based programs for mothers during the perinatal period. To our knowledge, this is the first large study on mindfulness with families living in a low-income context. Learn more >

Be REAL – Resilient Attitudes and Living

Combining social-emotional skills with mindfulness and compassion practices to support youth well-being and resilience. Learn more >


Understanding how teens and young adults regulate their behaviors, their emotions and themselves. Learn More >

Emotion Coaching and Maintaining Family Relationships

Studying how families maintain strong family relationships in the face of adverse environments and life events, and how emotionally sensitive parenting can protect children and support positive outcomes. Learn more >

Related Resources


Black Parent Voices: Resilience in the Face of the Two Pandemics — COVID-19 and Racism Report by The RISER Network

This report by The RISER Network illustrates how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting Black families’ experiences with racism and discrimination, financial security/material hardship, health and mental health, and early care and education options.

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The Roots of Helping, Sharing, and Caring

Ross A. Thompson is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Davis, where he directs the Social and Emotional Development Lab. This presentation describes fresh insights into the development of human caring from a surprising source: studies of young children.

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Mindfulness & Compassion Resources for the Early Years

A collection of books, free downloadable activities and more for the classroom and home.

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“Reach out, I’ll be there”: Awakening to resilience in communities

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Roller Coaster Breathing

Feeling frustrated or upset? Take a ride in a roller coaster to breathe deeply and reset.

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Academic Partners

We collaborate with partners in a variety of fields, both across the University of Washington and at other universities and research centers.
UW School of Nursing
UW Department of Pediatrics
UW College of Education
UW Psychology
UW Psychology
UW Psychology
UW School of Social Work
School of Medicine
UW Psychology

Connect With Us

Want to learn more about our research and programs in child and youth well-being? Contact CCFW Director Liliana Lengua at liliana@uw.edu.