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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 Coping 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 >

Master of Arts in Applied Child & Adolescent Psychology: Prevention & Treatment

As one of the innovative training programs engendered by CCFW, this master’s program at the University of Washington provides specialized training in skills needed to provide mental health services to children and teens in a variety of settings. Learn more >

Related Resources


Addressing Post-Pandemic Trauma in Youth: How Mindfulness Practices Support Positive Mental Health Outcomes in Challenging Times

In this lecture, learn trauma-informed mindfulness strategies that empower youth by reshaping trauma reactions. The 3 co-founders of the Holistic Life Foundation discuss how accessible mindfulness and yoga have proven benefits in reducing stress, enhancing feelings of self-worth and self-love, and creating a sense of resilience and optimism. They also explore how the brain processes stress, intrusive thoughts, and negative self-talk. The co-founders aim for participants of the lecture to come away with a deeper understanding of mindfulness and yoga for addressing trauma and supporting positive mental health in youth.

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BC Institute of Early Childhood Policy – A Life Course Perspective on the Promise of Public Preschool – Commentary

The Boston College Institute of Early Childhood Policy (BC IECP) is proud to disseminate this monograph commentary by faculty member Eric Dearing

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Whole Child Development: Navigating Trauma, Building Resilience, Optimizing Healing and Well-Being

Dr. Denese Shervington has an intersectional career in public health and academic psychiatry. This presentation utilizes the Social Ecological Model to explore the impact of interpersonal, community, institutional, and societal factors on individual-level behaviors in minoritized children, especially those living in poverty and experiencing racial oppression. A Healing Justice framework which expands upon current evidence-based models of screening and treatment to include ancestral and indigenous practice-based evidence and wisdom is offered as a method of transformational healing for minoritized children and their families.

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Utilizing Family Skills as a Protective Shield for Families Living Through War, Displacement and Other Challenging Contexts

Parenting can be challenging at the best of times, let alone parenting children through war or refugee contexts. Global conflicts entail many changes for children and their families, with the potential for acute and longer-term impact on well-being and mental health. What can we do to help? Effective parenting can act as a protective shield against the difficulties that children face in challenging times.

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We Are the Medicine: Possibilities for Flourishing Through Difficult Times

This session with Dr. Christina Bethell presented new research and approaches to promote child and family well-being using a positive approach to health that fosters self, family and community-led healing of the trauma and adversity concentrated in many of our families and communities today.

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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.