Icon Focus Heart

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


Mindfulness & Compassion Books for Children

We curated a list of books to inspire discussions about what it means to be present and compassionate. 

Learn More »

Adverse childhood experiences to adult adversity trends among parents: Socioeconomic, health, and developmental implications

In this study, CCFW Academic Partners examine patterns of adult adversity in parents who were exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACES).

Learn More »

Culture, Context, and Positive Adaptation of U.S. Latinx Youth

Dr. Gonzales examines how contextual and cultural experiences of Latinx youth provide unique challenges and opportunities for positive development.

Learn More »

Making Mindfulness Stick with Kids and Teens

Dr. Christopher Willard provides an overview of mindfulness concepts and multiple examples of practices and strategies for parents and professionals to share with children and teens.

Learn More »

Creating Authentic Relationships with Youth and Sharing Trauma-Informed Mindfulness

Dr. Samual Himelstein offers perspectives on defining and sharing mindfulness in an innovative and relevant way for providers working with youth, including teaching formal meditation.

Learn More »

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.