Newsletter Article

Building Adolescent Resilience: From Research to Real World

Adolescence is a time of a great deal of development, change, and opportunity. As our teens grow from children into adults, they experience a great many social, physical, and neurological transitions that lay the foundation for a successful adulthood. Adolescent Resilience Research at the Center for Child and Family Well Being (CCFW) led by Associate Director Kevin M. King, Ph.D., focuses on improving the lives of teenagers in our community by understanding and shaping developmental pathways towards socio-emotional health and well-being. Comprised of Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, and Physicians from around the University of Washington, these dedicated scientists are committed to identifying changeable developmental pathways that lead to problem outcomes, deploying targeted interventions to interrupt the development of those problems and promote well being, and leveraging community partnerships to improve our science for the health and well being of our youth.

Recently, the faculty affiliates in the Adolescent Resilience Core at the CCFW have been engaged in extensive outreach efforts, aimed at getting the message out to the community that adolescence matters. We have formed recent collaborations between the CCFW and state and local agencies to infuse information about adolescent social-emotional development in order to improve the lives of children. For example, several CCFW faculty affiliates (Dr. King, Dr. McLaughlin, Dr. Bowen and Dr. Nurius) were funded to pilot test a mindfulness-based intervention aimed at improving self-regulation in a juvenile justice setting. This intervention is a collaboration between the CCFW and the Juvenile Justice and Rehabilitation Administration. In addition, Dr. King and Dr. Lengua, the Director of the CCFW, have started consulting with state agencies on how to infuse social-emotional learning information into the state-level literacy standards for K-12 students, and with Eastside Pathways, a community action group, to improve improving school outcomes among middle and high school students in the Bellevue School Districts. Finally, Dr. King and Dr. McLaughlin have begun consulting with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction about how to improve the self-regulation abilities of adolescents exposed to trauma in the public schools.

We hope that this rising tide of information about child and adolescent development will raise all boats, and, in the end, improve the lives of all youth in our communities and around the State of Washington.