Suniya S. Luthar

Suniya S. Luthar
Teachers College · Department of Counseling and Clinical Psychology

Ph.D.

About

183
Publications
156,358
Reads
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19,683
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2019 - December 2021
Authentic Connections
Position
  • Research Officer
January 2014 - December 2019
Arizona State University
Position
  • Professor
January 2014 - present
AC Groups
Position
  • Founder & Executive Director
Description
  • AC Groups is a nonprofit, bringing evidence-based support groups to people's everyday settings, to help foster resilience in the face of high stress. Groups have been successfully conducted in a virtual formats well as in-person, benefiting various groups of people through challenging times.
Education
August 1984 - May 1989
Yale University
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (183)
Article
Full-text available
BACKGROUND: We report on effects of an intervention to foster resilience among professional women at high risk for stress and burnout: health care providers (physicians, PhD clinicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners) who are mothers. METHODS: Between February and November 2015, 40 mothers on staff at the Mayo Clinic, Arizona were r...
Article
Full-text available
Compiled in this Special Section are recommendations from multiple experts on how to maximize resilience among children at risk for maladjustment. Contributors delineated processes with relatively strong effects and modifiable by behavioral interventions. Commonly highlighted was fostering the well-being of caregivers via regular support, reduction...
Research
Full-text available
Developmental science is replete with studies on the impact of mothers on their children, but little is known about what might best help caregivers to function well themselves. In an initial effort to address this gap, we conducted an internet-based study of over 2,000 mostly well-educated mothers, seeking to illuminate salient risk and protective...
Article
Full-text available
We attempted to replicate findings that “most people are resilient” following three events: spousal loss, divorce, and unemployment. We applied growth mixture models to the same longitudinal data set that has previously been used to assert that resilience is ubiquitous. When using identical model specifications as in prior studies, we found that re...
Data
COVID‐19 and Resilience in Schools: Implications for Practice and Policy - supplementary tables
Article
Introduction The association between socioeconomic status (SES) and depressive symptoms is well documented, yet less attention has been paid to the methodological factors contributing to between-study variability. We examined the moderating role of range restriction and the depressive-symptom measurement instrument used in estimating the correlatio...
Article
Replicated evidence shows that adolescents enrolled in high-achieving schools exhibit elevated mental health problems relative to national norms, reflecting risk factors such as achievement and social pressures. The frequency of digital media use is similarly a potential risk factor for poor youth mental health, although mediators of this associati...
Article
Full-text available
The neighborhood context through which individuals interact is shown to be associated with mental and physical health across adulthood. Much less is known regarding potential underlying reasons why, such as protecting against the deleterious effects of stress. This study explores whether objective and subjective neighborhood factors are associated...
Article
Objective: Our objective is to examine whether lifetime adversity has either a 'steeling effect' or 'cumulative disadvantage effect' on the consequences of monthly adversity on psychological well-being in middle-aged adults. An exploratory step was to examine whether such associations differed based on the domain of adversity (personal, family/fri...
Article
Among the well-known physiological consequences of early adverse environments is dysregulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. A number of studies demonstrate that negative parenting and living with parents with a history of substance abuse and mental health problems may be associated with HPA axis dysregulation in children. In co...
Article
Full-text available
This is a mixed-methods study of risk and resilience in a sample of over 14,000 students from 49 schools, assessed during the first 3 months of COVID-19 in the United States. Over a third of students were of color and almost a third received financial aid. Participation rates were typically 90–99%. Overall, rates of clinically significant depressio...
Article
The notion that adversity leads to enduring improvements in psychological functioning carries promise given the diverse adversities individuals confront over their life course. However, research on posttraumatic growth (PTG) has relied on cross-sectional research designs, which severely limit the ability to discern whether growth transpires followi...
Chapter
This chapter discusses conceptual and methodological considerations for studying post-traumatic growth across adulthood and into old age. Conceptual considerations that the authors focus on include examining character strengths and virtues longitudinally across multiple age groups and also the stability of these strengths and virtues across the lif...
Article
This study examines adjustment patterns among a group neglected in developmental science-Asian American students in high-achieving schools. National reports have declared such schools to connote risk for elevated problems among teens. Asian American students are commonly referred to as model minorities, but little is known about adjustment issues w...
Article
This study examined the strength of associations between multiple aspects of school climate and adjustment outcomes among a group recently identified as being at risk: youth attending high-achieving schools (HAS). Using three diverse high schools as samples (n = 2,508, 49% female) – one boarding, one private, and one public school – links with scho...
Article
Among youth from high-achieving schools, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) were examined in relation to (a) internalizing and externalizing symptoms in adolescence (n = 527), and (b) symptoms plus psychiatric diagnoses-based on multiple annual interviews-in adulthood (n = 316). Also examined were associations for a "Proxy ACEs" (P-ACEs) measure,...
Article
Full-text available
Meta-analyses on the relation between socioeconomic status (SES) and performance on measures of cognitive ability and achievement arrive at the same general conclusion of a small to medium association. Advancements in methods make possible for meta-analyses to examine specific pathways linking SES to cognitive ability and achievement, as well as th...
Article
Full-text available
Although often considered to be at low risk for negative outcomes, there is replicated evidence that youth attending high-achieving schools experience clinically significant mental health problems that exceed national norms. However, relatively little is known about family correlates of adolescent socio-emotional development, including parental cri...
Article
Full-text available
When children are exposed to serious life adversities, Ed Zigler believed that developmental scientists must expediently strive to illuminate the most critical directions for beneficial interventions. In this paper, we present a new study on risk and resilience on adolescents during COVID-19, bookended - in introductory and concluding discussions -...
Article
Full-text available
Schools are increasingly concerned with the well-being of the whole child - likely, more so since the COVID-19 pandemic - and goals here were to document the psychometric properties of a brief new measure of adolescent mental health, the Well-Being Index (WBI). The measure assesses 4 symptom areas, 2 each of internalizing and externalizing symptoms...
Article
Full-text available
Youth in high-achieving schools (HASs) are now declared to be an “at-risk group,” largely because of strong, ongoing pressures to achieve. In this study, we sought to disentangle processes that might underlie how achievement pressures might exacerbate distress, considering five dimensions conceptually important in HAS settings: feelings of envy, co...
Article
Full-text available
The focus of this article is on the important need for educators in trauma-informed schools to receive ongoing support themselves. That K-12 teachers should attend to their students’ mental health is now commonly emphasized and indeed is invaluable for prevention purposes. At the same time, teachers in general are at high risk for burnout, and ther...
Article
This editorial centers the discussion of resilience on a contextual approach focusing on parents, caregivers, and educators and how to best ensure good care and support for these key stakeholders in schools and local communities.
Article
Teachers in the US are now considered integral to promoting students’ mental health; here we report on two major challenges for educators in high achieving schools (HAS). The first involves high adjustment disturbances among students. We present data on nine HAS cohorts showing elevated rates of clinically significant symptoms relative to norms; ra...
Article
Presents an obituary for Edward Zeigler (1930-2019). Yale University's Sterling Professor Emeritus of Psychology Edward Zigler often encouraged his students and junior colleagues with the refrain, "You are doing God's work," but warned them that they would have to be ready to "Lose, lose, lose" in the process. This dual-pronged exhortation reflecte...
Article
Over 20 years ago, Eisenberg and colleagues (1998a, 1998b) published a landmark article focusing on the socialization of children's emotion and self-regulation, including emotion regulation. In this Special Issue, our goal was to compile current evidence delineating the impact of emotion-related socialization behaviors (ERSBs) on children's emotion...
Article
Background: Nurse leaders who are mothers are at significant risk for experiencing stress, burnout, and occupational fatigue. Authentic Connections (AC) Groups is an intervention shown to be effective for fostering resilience among at-risk moms, including physicians; however, it has not previously been tested with nurse leaders. Aims: Our aims w...
Article
Previous studies have suggested that Asian parents’ high academic expectations can lead to negative mental health outcomes among Asian American youth. We explore this hypothesis by analyzing data collected in an affluent, suburban high school with a large Asian American population. We examine the relationships between parent expectations, students’...
Preprint
Full-text available
The focus of this article is on the important need for educators in trauma-informed schools to receive ongoing support themselves. That K-12 teachers should attend to their students’ mental health is now commonly emphasized and indeed is invaluable for prevention purposes. At the same time, teachers in general are at high risk for burnout, and ther...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract Teachers in the US are now considered integral to promoting students’ mental health; here we report on two major challenges for educators in high achieving schools (HAS). The first involves high adjustment disturbances among students. We present data on nine HAS cohorts showing elevated rates of clinically significant symptoms relative t...
Article
Background: Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are associated with a number of health problems and early mortality. Developmental studies have also shown strong links between parents' contemporaneous negative feelings toward their children and the children's maladjustment. Objectives: The relative, unique contributions of ACEs and parents' fee...
Article
Full-text available
In interventions for at-risk children, Tom Dishion strongly exhorted programs that are short term, cost-effective, and delivered in families’ own communities, just as resilience researchers underscore the need for programs that provide ongoing support for children's primary caregivers, and are implementable on a large scale. Presented here are prel...
Article
Full-text available
Character strengths are emerging as a key outcome of interest in midlife and old age. One key avenue that has been largely unexplored is what the key antecedents are and the moderating role of adversity and positive life events experiences. The limited current research on the topic has examined the direct relations among character strengths and wel...
Article
Excessive pressures to excel, generally in affluent contexts, are now listed among the top 4 "high risk" factors for adolescents' mental health, along with exposure to poverty, trauma, and discrimination. Multiple studies of high-achieving school (HAS) cohorts have shown elevated rates of serious symptoms relative to norms, with corroborating evide...
Article
Full-text available
We address the issue of invisible labor in the home by examining how the distribution of the mental and emotional labor inherent in managing the household between spouses may be linked with women’s well-being, including their satisfaction with life, partner satisfaction, feelings of emptiness, and experiencing role overload. In a sample of 393 U.S....
Article
Background: A single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs53576, of the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) has been associated with fundamental aspects of social processes and behaviors. Compared to A carriers, GG individuals have enhanced social competencies and tend to elicit more positive responses from social partners. However, the G allele of the OXTR...
Presentation
Full-text available
From Conference brochure: With a basis in over 30 years of scientific research on resilience, Dr. Luthar will describe the culture-specific risk and protective factors that affect student well-being in high achieving schools. She will discuss critical aspects of students' relationships with parents and with peers, as well as salient aspects of scho...
Article
We address the issue of invisible labor in the home by examining how the distribution of the mental and emotional labor inherent in managing the household between spouses may be linked with women’s well-being, including their satisfaction with life, partner satisfaction, feelings of emptiness, and experiencing role overload. In a sample of 393 U.S....
Article
Full-text available
Youth in high achieving schools (HAS) are at elevated risk for serious adjustment problems—including internalizing and externalizing symptoms and substance use—given unrelenting pressures to be “the best.” For resilience researchers, successful risk evasion in these high-pressure settings should, arguably, be defined in terms of the absence of seri...
Chapter
Full-text available
Students who grow up in high‐achieving families or schools often deal with several challenges, above all the high and ongoing pressure to excel themselves. Growing up surrounded by parents who are financially well off and peers who are experiencing the same pressures to succeed can build a highly pressured environment for youth. The unrelenting emp...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to examine whether the relationship between mothers’ DNA methylation profiles and offspring’s depression is modulated by negative parenting. The participants were 35 African‐American mother–offspring dyads. Young adult offspring (19 females; age = 17–29.5 years) were assessed on depressive symptoms, and mothers (36–51 years) were a...
Article
The resilience literature has been instrumental in illuminating pathways that individuals may follow in the aftermath of adversity. Limitations of this research include its reliance on long-intervals between assessments, not differentiating amongst domains of adversity, and overwhelming focus on well-being. This study examines whether lifetime and...
Article
Although much is known about the detrimental effects that adversity and trauma can have on people’s psychological, social, and physical functioning, much less is known about the potential benefits of experiencing negative life events. Research on so-called post-traumatic growth (PTG)—i.e., positive psychological change experienced as a result of li...
Article
Full-text available
This study examined changes in adolescents’ perceived relationship quality with mothers and fathers from middle school to high school, gender differences, and associated mental health consequences using longitudinal data from the New England Study of Suburban Youth cohort ( n = 262, 48% female) with annual assessments (Grades 6–12). For both parent...
Article
Full-text available
Substantial evidence links socioeconomic status to internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. However, it is unclear how these two categories of behavior problems relate to specific components of socioeconomic status (e.g., income, educational attainment, and occupational prestige) or overall social status. In this study, we conducted a sec...
Article
Full-text available
In an upper-middle class setting, we explored associations between students’ peer reputation in Grades 6 and 7 with adjustment at Grade 12. With a sample of 209 students, a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of peer reputation dimensions supported a 4-factor model (i.e., popular, prosocial, aggressive, isolated). Structural equation models were use...
Article
Full-text available
The majority of multi-wave studies examining resilience in adulthood have involved growth mixture modeling (GMM). We critically evaluate the central conclusion from this body of work that “resilience is commonplace”. Our emphasis is on two questionable methodological assumptions underlying this conclusion: (1) the variances are the same across traj...
Article
We investigated the bidirectional associations between mother–child discrepancies in their perceptions of maternal rejection and children’s internalizing problems over 10 years from pre/early adolescence to early adulthood. Mothers’ reports of rejection and involvement in the parent–child relationship, the children’s perception of the mother’s reje...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we review evidence on a group recently identified as "at-risk", that is, youth growing up in the context of high achieving schools (HAS), predominated by well-educated, white collar professional families. Though these youngsters are thought of as "having it all", they are statistically more likely than normative samples to show ser...
Article
Full-text available
In this study of over 2000 mothers, we considered the alignment between employment preference and status, examining the well-being of mothers who were employed and wanting to work; employed because they need the money; not employed and not wanting work; and not employed but wanting to work. Alignment between employment preference and employment sta...
Article
Full-text available
In discussing how merit is commonly judged in academia, my focus in this paper is not on dimensions that are currently considered, but on those that warrant more attention. Grounded in suggestions offered by Sternberg (2016), I argue here for increased recognition of faculty’s commitment to intrinsic values – focused on community and relationships...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
• We previously demonstrated significant and sustained benefit in multiple psychological measures (Figure 1), as well as reduction in cortisol levels, associated with a 12-week facilitated support group for physician and advanced practitioner mothers (Authentic Connection Groups, n=21) at Mayo Clinic Arizona, compared to a control group (n=19) [1]....
Article
Full-text available
Adolescents from upper middle class communities: Substance misuse and addiction across early adulthood—CORRIGENDUM - Suniya S. Luthar, Phillip J. Small, Lucia Ciciolla
Article
Full-text available
In this prospective study of upper middle class youth, we document frequency of alcohol and drug use, as well as diagnoses of abuse and dependence, during early adulthood. Two cohorts were assessed as high school seniors and then annually across 4 college years (New England Study of Suburban Youth younger cohort [NESSY-Y]), and across ages 23–27 (N...
Article
Full-text available
High achievement expectations and academic pressure from parents have been implicated in rising levels of stress and reduced well-being among adolescents. In this study of affluent, middle school youth, we examined how perceptions of parents’ emphases on achievement (relative to prosocial behavior) influenced youth’s psychological adjustment and sc...
Article
We examine whether the previously reported commonness of resilience to significant adversity extends to parents’ death of a child. To examine our research questions, we apply growth mixture models to longitudinal data from 461 parents in the HILDA study who had experienced child loss. The proportion of parents manifesting resilience were 44%, 56%,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Summarized here are recommended features of school-based surveys seeking to (a) characterize the psychological adjustment of students, and (b) pinpoint major aspects of their environments (especially modifiable dimensions of school climate) that best foster resilience.
Article
This longitudinal study of affluent suburban youth ( N = 319) tracked from 6th to 12th grade is parsed into two segments examining prospective associations concerning emotional–behavioral difficulties and academic achievement. In Part 1 of the investigation, markers of emotional–behavioral difficulty were used to cluster participants during 6th gra...
Chapter
Full-text available
The " affluenza " defense of Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old Texas boy who killed four pedestrians while driving drunk, has received a great deal of ridicule, much of it justified. That said, it would be foolish to allow an absurd effort to minimize one teenager's responsibility for a horrific tragedy to obscure growing evidence that we have a significa...
Article
Full-text available
This study attempted to establish and quantify the connections between parenting, offspring psychosocial adjustment, and the epigenome. The participants, 35 African American young adults (19 females and 16 males; age = 17–29.5 years), represented a subsample of a 3-wave longitudinal 15-year study on the developmental trajectories of low-income urba...
Article
Full-text available
Spousal loss can be one of the most devastating events to occur across one’s life, resulting in difficulties across different spheres of adjustment; yet, past research on resilience to bereavement has primarily focused on single adjustment indicators. We applied growth mixture models to data from 421 participants from the Household Income and Labou...
Chapter
Full-text available
The " affluenza " defense of Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old Texas boy who killed four pedestrians while driving drunk, has received a great deal of ridicule, much of it justified. That said, it would be foolish to allow an absurd effort to minimize one teenager's responsibility for a horrific tragedy to obscure growing evidence that we have a significa...
Article
Full-text available
The central question we addressed was whether mothers’ adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers’ personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of the...
Article
Full-text available
Developmental science is replete with studies on the impact of mothers on their children, but little is known about what might best help caregivers to function well themselves. In an initial effort to address this gap, we conducted an Internet-based study of over 2,000 mostly well-educated mothers, seeking to illuminate salient risk and protective...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There is a hypothesis that low socioeconomic status (SES) may explain the link between cannabis use and poorer academic performance and mental health. A key question, therefore, is whether adolescent cannabis use is associated with poorer academic performance and mental health in high SES communities where there is reduced potential fo...
Research
Full-text available
We attempted to replicate findings that “most people are resilient” following three events: spousal loss, divorce, and unemployment. We applied growth mixture models to the same longitudinal data set that has previously been used to assert that resilience is ubiquitous. When using identical model specifications as in prior studies, we found that re...
Article
Full-text available
In developmental science, we must work toward ensuring that at-risk mothers regularly receive personal nurturance as they continue with the decades-long task of raising children. Being a good enough mother is hard work, and exponentially more difficult for parents facing major stressors. Resilience research suggests that—as for children—mothers’ we...
Article
Full-text available
Building on both the spiritual development and affluent youth literature, the current study explores spiritual development and health outcomes in a sample of upper-middle-class youth. Exploratory analyses indicate long-term stability in religiosity and spirituality from late adolescence (mean age 18) well into emerging adulthood (mean age 24); spec...
Chapter
Full-text available
Resilience research involves the study of processes predicting better-than-expected adjustment following exposure to adversity, with the central goal of informing effective interventions. This chapter presents a review of accumulated research findings on salient risk-modifiers across the realms of family, community, and individual characteristics....
Chapter
Full-text available
TABLE OF CONTENTS Historical Overview of Childhood Resilience Resilience Research: Central Constructs Vulnerability and Protective Processes: Operationalization and measurement Interpreting Findings: Main effects and Interaction Terms Vulnerability and protective processes: Summarizing Extant Evidence Family Relationships Effects of Maltreatment...
Article
Full-text available
This study involved two academically-gifted samples of 11th and 12th grade youth at the socioeconomic status (SES) extremes; one from an exclusive private, affluent school, and the other from a magnet school with low-income students. Negative and positive adjustment outcomes were examined in relation to multiple dimensions of perfectionism includin...
Article
Full-text available
This study extends past findings of heightened problems among affluent youth by examining adjustment patterns among boys in two academically elite, independent high schools: one for boys only and the other co-educational. Both samples manifested disproportionately high rates of internalizing and externalizing symptoms, but only the co-educational b...
Article
Full-text available
This study examines longitudinally the bidirectional influences between maternal parenting (behaviors and parenting stress) and mothers' perceptions of their children's adjustment, in a multivariate approach. Data was gathered from 361 low-income mothers (many with psychiatric diagnoses) reporting on their parenting behavior, parenting stress, and...
Chapter
Full-text available
Since its introduction to the scientific literature in the mid-1990s, developmental science has seen incremental refinements in research on resilience, which is a process or phenomenon reflecting positive child adjustment despite conditions of risk. In this chapter, we describe accumulated evidence on this construct in the field of developmental ps...