Liliana Lengua

Image of Liliana Lengua

Liliana Lengua, Ph.D.

(206) 543-5655
Advising: Possibly accepting new graduate students in 2025-2026, please email with questions.
Interests: My research focuses on children’s resilient and vulnerable responses to economic disadvantage and adversity, identifying protective factors that promote children’s well-being, including parent well-being, parenting and child characteristics, such as self-regulation, temperament and coping.


My research uses a bioecological framework to understand children's emotional, social and behavioral adjustment, examining the complex relations among individual, interpersonal, and contextual factors in development. I am particularly interested in individual differences in children's responses to disadvantage and adversity with the goal of identifying children who are vulnerable or resilient in the face of risk. My research examines children's temperament, self-regulation, appraisals and coping as potential mediators and moderators of the effects of risk on children's adjustment. I'm also interested in the role of parents in protecting children who experience adversity and promoting well-being.

In addition, I have been studying children's individual differences in response to parenting by examining temperament as it interacts and transacts with parenting to predict children's adjustment.

My goal is to enhance our understanding of the etiology of adjustment problems and positive adjustment, both for basic knowledge about development and to inform interventions aimed at preventing adjustment problems and promoting positive adjustment.


Arizona State University (1994)

  • Lengua, L. J., Ruberry, E. J., McEntire, C., Klein, M., & Jones, B. (2018). Preliminary Evaluation of an Innovative, Brief Parenting Program Designed to Promote Self-Regulation in Parents and Children. Mindfulness.
  • Thompson, S. F., Zalewski, M., Kiff, C. J., Lengua, L. J. (2018). A state-trait model of cortisol in early childhood: Contextual and parental predictors of stable and time-varying effects. Hormones and Behavior, 98, 198-209. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2017.12.009. PMID: 29305885
  • Ruberry, E. J., Klein, M. R., Kiff, C. J., Thompson, S. F., Lengua, L. J. (2017). Parenting as a moderator of the effects of cumulative risk on children's social–emotional adjustment and academic readiness. Infant and Child Development, 27. DOI: 10.1002/icd.2071
  • Moran, L., Lengua, L. J., Zalewski, M., Ruberry, E., Klein, M., Thompson, S., Kiff, C. (2016). Variable- and Person-Centered Approaches to Examining Temperament Vulnerability and Resilience to the Effects of Contextual Risk. Journal of Research in Personality. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrp.2016.03.003
  • Lengua, L. J., Kiff, C. Moran, L. R., Zalewski, M., Thompson, S. F., Cortes, R. & Ruberry, E. (2014). Parenting Mediates the Effects of Income and Cumulative Risk on the Development of Effortful Control. Social Development, 23, 631-649.
  • Lengua, L. J., Moran, L. R., Zalewski, M, Ruberry, E, Kiff, C & Thompson, S. (2014). Relations of Growth in Effortful Control to Family Income, Cumulative Risk, and Adjustment in Preschool-age Children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
  • Lengua, L. J. (2013). Poverty, the Development of Effortful Control, and Children’s Academic, Social and Emotional Adjustment. In V. Maholmes & R. King (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Poverty and Child Development.
  • Lengua, L. J. Zalewski, M., Fisher, P., Moran, L. (2012). Does HPA-axis Dysregulation Account for the Effects of Income on Effortful Control and Adjustment in Preschool Children? Infant and Child Development.
  • Lengua, L. J., & Wachs, T. D. (2012). Temperament and Risk: Resilient and Vulnerable Responses to Adversity. In M. Zentner & R. Shiner (Eds.), The Handbook of Temperament. Guilford Press.
  • Kiff, C., Lengua, L. J., & Zalewski, M. (2011). Nature and nurturing: Parenting in the context of children’s temperament. Journal of Clinica Child and Family Review, 14, 251-301.
  • Lengua, L. J. (2008) Anxiousness, frustration, and effortful control as moderators of the relation between parenting and adjustment problems in middle-childhood. Social Development, 17, 554-577.
  • Lengua, L. J., Bush, N., Long, A. C., Trancik, A. M., & Kovacs, E. A. (2008). Effortful Control as a Moderator of the Relation between Contextual Risk and Growth in Adjustment Problems. Development & Psychopathology, 20, 509-528.
  • Lengua, L. J., Honorado, E., & Bush, N. (2007). Cumulative Risk and Parenting as Predictors of Effortful Control and Social Competence in Preschool Children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.
  • Lengua, L. J. (2006). Growth in Temperament and Parenting as Predictors of Adjustment During Children_s Transition to Adolescence. Developmental Psychology.
  • Lengua, L. J., & Kovacs, E. A. (2005). Bidirectional Associations between Temperament and Parenting, and the Prediction of Adjustment Problems in Middle Childhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 21-38.
  • Lengua, L. J. (2003). Associations among emotionality, self-regulation, adjustment problems and positive adjustment in middle childhood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 24, 595-618.
  • Lengua, L. J. (2002). The contribution of emotionality and self-regulation to the understanding of children_s response to multiple risk. Child Development, 73, 144-161.