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Ann S. Masten

Regents Professor, Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development, Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Ph.D., 1982, University of Minnesota

Inst Of Child Dev
205 Ch Dev

51 E River Rd

Curriculum Vitae

Competence, risk, and resilience processes in development; Children in war and disaster; Protective influences of relationships, parenting, self-regulation, and motivation; Investing in children globally. 

Project Competence Research on Risk and Resilience

I study competence, risk, and resilience in development with a focus on the processes leading to positive adaptation and outcomes in children and families whose lives are threatened by adversity. The goal of my work is inform science, practice, and policy seeking to understand and promote human adaptation and resilience.

I direct the Project Competence Research on Risk and Resilience (PCR3), including studies of normative populations and high-risk young people exposed to war, natural disasters, poverty, homelessness, and migration. Our work is collaborative with community partners, multi-level, and multi-disciplinary.

Our recent research in Minnesota has focused on school success in homeless and other disadvantaged mobile children, with a focus on malleable protective processes, including parenting and self-regulation skills. Our work includes basic and translational studies aimed at understanding resilience and how to strategically target and time interventions or policies to promote success in disadvantaged children. We have analyzed large-scale administrative data sets and also conducted intensive studies of families currently or recently experiencing homelessness. In collaboration with Stephanie Carlson and Philip Zelazo, we have studied executive function skills as a strategic target for assessment, early childhood screening, and preventive intervention.

At the national and international level, I work with colleagues in multiple disciplines to understand adaptation and development, particularly in relation to migration, disasters, and war. I collaborate with Professor Frosso Motti-Stefanidi on the Athena Studies of Resilient Adaptation (AStRA), currently focused on acculturation and development in immigrant youth in Greece.

I am keenly interested in the integration of resilience theory and findings across disciplines and scale because it is crucial for efforts to address global issues of potentially catastrophic magnitude. Integrated approaches are essential for preparedness and recovery in major disasters, terrorism, and war, and also for building resilience capacity in children, families, and societies around the world.

Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered regularly on Coursera (free)

Resilience in Children Exposed to Trauma, Disaster and War: Global Perspectives

See a preview of this course.

Selected Publications


    Masten, A. S. (2014). Ordinary magic: Resilience in development. New York: Guilford Press. Paperback edition 2015. German edition 2016.


    Current and *former University of Minnesota students

    Labella, M. H., *Narayan, A. J., *McCormick, C. M., Desjardins, C., & Masten, A. S. (2017, in press). Risk and adversity, parenting quality, and children’s social-emotional adjustment in families experiencing homelessness. Child Development. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12894 (Press release)

    Labella, M. H., & Masten, A. S. (2017, in press). Family influences on the development of aggression and violence. Current Opinion in Psychology. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.03.028

    Masten, A. S. (2017). Building a translational science on children and youth affected by political violence and armed conflict: A commentary. Development and Psychopathology, 29, 79-84. doi:10.1017/S0954579416001164

    *Shiner, R. L. Allen, T. A., & Masten, A. S. (in press). The prediction of changes in personality traits from childhood to adulthood from adverse experiences in adolescence. Journal of Research in Personality. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2016.10.002

    Masten, A. S., & Cicchetti, D. (2016). Resilience in development: Progress and transformation. In D. Cicchetti (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology, Vol. 4: Risk, resilience, and intervention (3rd ed.) (pp. 271-333). New York: Wiley. doi:10.1002/9781119125556.devpsy406

    *Monn, A. R., *Narayan, A. J., Kalstabakken, A. W., *Schubert, A. W., & Masten, A. S. (2017, in press). Executive function and parenting in the context of homelessness. Journal of Family Psychology. doi:10.1037/fam0000275

    Huebner, G., et al. (2016). Beyond survival: The case for investing in young children globally. Discussion paper: National Academy of Medicine Perspective Series.

    Masten, A. S. (2016). Resilience in the context of ambiguous loss: A commentary. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 8, 287-293. doi: 10.1111/jftr.12154

    *Narayan, A. J., Kalstabakken, A. W., Labella, M. H., *Nerenberg, L. S., *Monn, A. R., & Masten, A. S. (2016, in press). Intergenerational continuity of adverse childhood experiences: Unpacking exposure to maltreatment versus family dysfunction. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. Doi:10.1037/ort0000133

    Labella, M. H., *Narayan, A. J., & Masten, A. S. (2016). Emotional climate in families experiencing homelessness: Associations with child affect and socioemotional adjustment in school. Social Development, 25, 304-321. doi: 10.1111/sode.12154

    Masten, A. S., *Narayan, A. J., Silverman, W. K., & Osofsky, J. D. (2015). Children in war and disaster. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), M. H. Bornstein and T. Leventhal (vol. Eds.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science. Vol. 4. Ecological settings and processes in developmental systems (7th edition) (pp. 704-745). New York: Wiley.

    Masten, A. S., Fiat, A. E., & Labella, M. H., & R. Strack (2015). Educating homeless and highly mobile students: Implications of research on risk and resilience. School Psychology Review, 2015, 44, 315-330.

    Bushman, B. J. et al. (2016). Youth violence: What we know and what we need to know. American Psychologist, 71, 17-39. doi:10.1037/a0039687

    Masten, A. S. (2015). Pathways to integrated resilience science. Psychological Inquiry, 26, 187-196. doi:10.1080/1047840X.2015.1012041.

    Updated July 2017