Social, Emotional and Cognitive Competence

Social, emotional and cognitive competencies serve as a critical foundation for children’s well-being and as protective factors for children growing up in adverse circumstances. These competencies are related to reduced risk for academic, behavioral, mental health, and substance use problems.

However, children experiencing adversity, such as poverty, family stress, and domestic violence, also tend to emerge from childhood with lower levels of social, emotional and cognitive competence. 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.


Research topics include

  • Children’s resilience in the face of poverty, family adversity, domestic violence, cancer
  • Self-regulation and Coping as protective factors in at-risk children and youth
  • Toddlers’ understanding and use of emotions, fairness, and agency in learning
  • Parenting and emotion coaching interventions for children in high-risk contexts
  • Sports involvement and how coaches and parents can promote positive youth development

Cathryn Booth-LaForce

Cheryl Kaiser

Lynn Fainsilber Katz

Suzanne Kerns

Kevin King

Liliana Lengua

Cari McCarty

Paula Nurius

Kristina Olson

Ron Smith

Frank Smoll

Jessica Sommerville

Susan Spieker

Pooja Tandon