ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

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 - by descriptions of programmatic work anchored in lessons learned from Zigler. The new study was conducted during the first two months of the pandemic, using a mixed-methods approach with a sample of over 2,000 students across five high schools. Overall, rates of clinically significant symptoms were generally lower as compared to norms documented in 2019. Multivariate regressions showed that the most robust, unique associations with teens' distress were with feelings of stress around parents and support received from them. Open ended responses to three questions highlighted concerns about schoolwork and college, but equally, emphasized worries about families' well-being, and positive outreach from school adults. The findings have recurred across subsequent school assessments, and strongly resonate with contemporary perspectives on resilience in science and policy. If serious distress is to be averted among youth under high stress, interventions must attend not just to the children's mental health but that of salient caregiving adults at home and school. The article concludes with some specific recommendations for community-based initiatives to address mental health through continued uncertainties of the pandemic.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Special Issue Article
Risk and resilience during COVID-19: A new study in the Zigler
paradigm of developmental science
Suniya S. Luthar1,2, Ashley M. Ebbert1and Nina L. Kumar1
1
Authentic Connections, Tempe, AZ, USA and
2
Columbia Universitys Teachers College Emerita
Abstract
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 by descriptions of programmatic work anchored in lessons learned
from Zigler. The new study was conducted during the first two months of the pandemic, using a mixed-methods approach with a sample of
over 2,000 students across five high schools. Overall, rates of clinically significant symptoms were generally lower as compared to norms
documented in 2019. Multivariate regressions showed that the most robust, unique associations with teensdistress were with feelings of
stress around parents and support received from them. Open ended responses to three questions highlighted concerns about schoolwork
and college, but equally, emphasized worries about familieswell-being, and positive outreach from school adults. The findings have
recurred across subsequent school assessments, and strongly resonate with contemporary perspectives on resilience in science and policy.
If serious distress is to be averted among youth under high stress, interventions must attend not just to the childrens mental health but that
of salient caregiving adults at home and school. The article concludes with some specific recommendations for community-based initiatives
to address mental health through continued uncertainties of the pandemic.
Keywords: adolescents, COVID-19, families, pandemic, resilience, schools
(Received 12 June 2020; revised 16 July 2020; accepted 17 July 2020)
More so than other psychologists, those of us who study children must rec-
ognize that they are not merely subjects but partners in our research, and
we owe something to them. (Zigler, 1998, p. 536)
With this Special Issue dedicated to Ed Zigler, the present article
has three discrete but related sections. At the core of the article are
new findings from a study by the present team of researchers on
adolescentsresilience in face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The
first and third sections flanking the study during COVID pre-
sent ways in which Eds tutelage has been at the base of three
decades of programmatic research by the first author, who is
referred to in first-person singular through these two parts for
the sake of brevity. Salient lessons learned from Ed across specific
streams of research are detailed in the introductory section; the
concluding section provides a commentary integrating major
themes spanning this body of work.
Background
Considering the many invaluable lessons I learned from Ed as his
doctoral student (1984 to 1988), three themes have remained at
the core of my own applied work over the last 30 years. First,
any group of children or families known to be vulnerable deserve
our full attention as developmental psychologists. We owe it to
the children and families whom we study to bring back our
research findings toward improving their life circumstances
(Zigler, 1998). Second, in efforts to bring science to interventions,
it is critical to closely involve the intended recipients, offering ser-
vices in peoples everyday communities (Zigler, Finn-Stevenson,
& Linkins, 1992; Zigler & Styfco, 1995; Zigler, Taussig, & Black,
1992). Third, researchers must communicate central findings
beyond academe to lay folk and policy makers, and do so expedi-
tiously. Otherwise as we wait for the ideal studyto happen, pol-
icy makers are implementing major decisions with no scientific
input (Zigler, 1998; Zigler & Styfco, 1998).
From a conceptual perspective, I have remained deeply influ-
enced by Eds book co-authored with Marion Glick on develop-
mental approaches to adult psychopathology (Zigler & Glick,
1986), described by Dante Cicchetti as a monumentally impor-
tant scientific and social political work(Cicchetti, 1986, p. xii).
A core tenet through this book was that high developmental levels
can bring several advantages for individualspsychological adjust-
ment, but there can also be costs. On the positive side, develop-
mentally sophisticated individuals have good coping skills and
histories of successes at school or work. At the same time, they
have greater perceptiveness and sensitivity to the vicissitudes of
life, and thus are potentially more affected by changing life
Author for Correspondence: Suniya S. Luthar, 1545 E Jeanine Drive, Tempe AZ
85284. E-mail: SLuthar@authconn.com
© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://
creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Cite this article: Luthar SS, Ebbert AM, Kumar NL (2020). Risk and resilience during
COVID-19: A new study in the Zigler paradigm of developmental science. Development
and Psychopathology 116. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420001388
Development and Psychopathology (2020), 116
doi:10.1017/S0954579420001388
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
circumstances (in todays parlance, these would be the orchids as
opposed to the dandelions within theories on differential suscept-
ibility; Ellis, Boyce, Belsky, Bakermans-Kranenburg, & Van
IJzendoorn, 2011). Discussions that follow summarize how Eds
thinking has remained at the core of different threads in my pro-
gram of research. (Note: When citations are not provided for indi-
vidual studies, the reader is referred to summary articles
encompassing them.)
High developmental levels: Benefits and costs
Eds thinking about development and psychopathology was at the
base of my dissertation work, which was focused on resilience
among inner-city adolescents with two goals. One was to illumi-
nate major risk and protective factors, following the groundbreak-
ing Garmezy, Masten, and Tellegen (1984) paper, and the second
was to determine whether highly stressed inner-city teens who
seemed resilient”–doing well at stage-salient tasks including
academic performance may experience covert distress.
Findings on intelligence as a potential risk-modifier corroborated
Eds theoretical paradigm, showing that inner-city teens with high
IQs generally fared better than those with lower intelligence; but
when levels of life stress were high, they lost much of this advan-
tage. Several subsequent studies with adolescents and adults rep-
licated the general finding that those at high developmental levels
tend to be more sensitive than others to increasing troubles in
their lives (these are summarized in Luthar, 1999;2006).
The second broad theme to emerge in my early work with Ed
was that resilience is not a unidimensional construct (Luthar,
Doernberger, & Zigler, 1993; see also Infurna & Luthar, 2017).
I did find, as expected, that inner-city teens who were manifestly
resilient with good academic records and behavioral compe-
tence despite high life stress reported relatively high depression.
In addition, subsequent studies showed that notable success at
one stage-salient developmental task (acceptance by peers)
seemed to coexist with significant problems in other important
domains (disruptive behaviors at school; for a summary of these
studies, see Luthar, 1999;2006).
Findings of peer approval for counter-conventional behaviors
led to a question: Was this an inner-city phenomenon, or more
broadly, an adolescent phenomenon? A comparative study of
high school students from relatively low- and high-income com-
munities suggested it was the latter (Luthar & DAvanzo, 1999).
Among suburban youth as well, high peer status was linked with
counter-conventional behaviors; in this case, high self-reported
drug and alcohol use. Another unexpected finding to emerge
was that overall, the suburban youth reported poorer social-
emotional adjustment as compared to their inner-city counter-
parts, especially with regard to frequency of drug and alcohol use.
When a group is found to be vulnerable, learn why this
happens
The Luthar and DAvanzo (1999) paper led to pursuit of Eds first
major lesson in applied developmental science: When you find a
group that seems to be vulnerable, follow up to understand the
whys.Both Ed and Urie Bronfenbrenner emphasized that fam-
ily socioeconomic status (SES) is simply a social address (Zigler,
Lamb, & Child, 1982); for developmental scientists, the charge
is to disentangle underlying processes. In other words, assuming
that the findings are shown to be generalizable across different
study samples and locations, we must set about uncovering risk
and protective processes that are salient in that socioeconomic
context (Luthar, 1999).
Two ensuing cross-sectional studies with middle school stu-
dents, in a different Northeast suburb, showed that there were
signs of elevated psychopathology beginning at around 7th
grade (for summaries, see Luthar, Barkin, & Crossman, 2013).
Later studies with different high schools added further evidence
of generalizability. A 2012 article presented findings on three
high school samples from two public schools, in the
Northeast and Northwest, respectively, and a Northeast private
school. Students from all three institutions showed elevations
compared to national norms on one or more areas of psychopa-
thology, including serious internalizing and externalizing symp-
toms and substance abuse (see Luthar et al., 2013).
With regard to mechanisms or processes, cross-sectional stud-
ies in relatively affluent school communities suggested the role of
several socializing dimensions known to be critical for adolescents
in general, as is true for youth in low SES settings (Garcia Coll
et al., 1996). These included lack of parental supervision and per-
ceived harshness, and (again), peersapproval of substance use.
Other early findings also showed that overall, studentsfelt close-
ness to parents was no greater among suburban youth as com-
pared to their inner-city counterparts, suggesting nontrivial
stressors among these mostly white-collar families as well (see
Luthar et al., 2013).
Apart from such socializing processes explaining within-group
variations, what still needed attention was why these adolescents
as a group might be at greater risk than normative samples of
teens in the United States. Early findings countered some pre-
sumptions (e.g., showing that overscheduling was not a likely
cause) and, more importantly, provided initial insights into
context-specific influences, as Ed urged. Specifically, two unique
dimensions were identified as likely important in these high-
achieving school settings (see Luthar, Kumar, & Zillmer, 2019b;
Luthar et al., 2013). The first was perceptions of parentsvalues:
Students who felt their parents placed more value on personal
decency, relative to personal accomplishments, fared better than
the others. The second was perceived parent containment of sub-
stance use; that is, the seriousness of repercussions on discovering
drug or alcohol use (which as noted earlier, was found to be ele-
vated in Northeast suburbs). Perceived containment had robust
links with self-reported substance use, even after considering
traditional measures of monitoring and supervision.
The importance of perceived parent containment was further
highlighted in a long-term prospective study, wherein students
were assessed from ages 12 to 28 years (summarized in Luthar
et al., 2019b). Findings clearly showed that although substance
use was somewhat commonplace among high school peers, it is
by no means inconsequential. Parent containment was inversely
linked with studentslevels of use in high school, and these, in
turn, were linked with elevated risk for diagnoses of addiction
many years later, in early adulthood. Furthermore, rates of
young adult drug or alcohol dependence were found to be at
least twice as high as those in national norms. Collectively,
these new findings had clear implications for prevention, caution-
ing against laissez-faire parental attitudes to teenssubstance use
in relatively affluent communities. These issues have been high-
lighted in presentations for parents and more broadly, through
journalistic reports, again, following Eds exhortations to commu-
nicate research findings clearly and quickly to stakeholders
outside of the academy (a list of these reports is available on
request).
2 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
Accumulating findings over time led to refinements in our
empirical work and dissemination of major findings to collaborat-
ing school communities. My colleagues and I developed a
comprehensive battery to capture critical mental health indices
as well as salient aspects of studentsclose relationships (with
adults and peers) that might be modified toward promoting resil-
ience. In 2019, over 15,000 youth were assessed with this measure,
called the High Achieving Schools (HAS) Survey (Authentic
Connections, 2019). Results were analyzed and presented back
to participating schools within weeks after they had administered
the survey. Each school was able to view their studentsadjust-
ment levels compared to others from similar schools across the
country. As importantly, for each school, multivariate analyses
illuminated the top threerisk and protective processes most
warranting attention in their own communities, along with asso-
ciated directions for interventions. Specific initiatives, within these
data-driven interventions, were delineated in on-campus discus-
sions with major stakeholder groups including faculty, adminis-
trators, counselors, parents, and students.
Accumulating evidence on HAS youth also led to a revised
theoretical model of the likely mechanisms or processes exacer-
bating their vulnerability. This new conceptual model indicated,
first, that it is not the affluence of studentsown families that con-
fers risk but rather, being in a high-achieving school where pres-
sures to achieve and excel are constant (Luthar et al., 2019b;
National Academy of Science, Engineering, & Medicine
[NASEM], 2019). Second, these ongoing achievement pressures
are multiply determined, reflecting equifinality (Cicchetti &
Rogosch, 1996); they stem from peers, parents, teachers, commu-
nities, global competitiveness, and college admissions criteria.
Third, this phenomenon extends across public and private
schools, in cities and suburbs, and across different parts of the
country; the common denominator is being in the top quartile
or so of standardized test scores. Fourth, whereas there are several
risk and protective processes potent across schools (e.g., high
ongoing competitiveness), empirical evidence illuminates several
variations in those that most need attention within individual
school communities.
Support parents in their communities
Another major thread of work stemming from my training with
Ed was to ensure support for parents of all at-risk children.
This was clear in his models for both Head Start and Schools
of the 21st Century, wherein both emphasized the need to support
parents of relatively low SES, and to connect them with existing
resources in their own communities.
My own efforts in this regard took the form of support groups
for low-income mothers with histories of addiction, via the
Relational Psychotherapy Mothers Groups intervention. This
was a supportive, insight-oriented program offered to women at
their methadone clinics, once a week for six months. Two ran-
domized trials showed that participation in groups led to signifi-
cant improvements in the motherswell-being by self-reports as
well as by other reports (for summaries, see Luthar, Kumar, &
Benoit, 2019a; NASEM, 2019).
Several years later, this supportive group approach was modi-
fied for mothers at the opposite end of the socioeconomic spec-
trum, also at-risk given high caregiving burden: mothers who
were healthcare providers. This three-month program, called
Authentic Connections (AC) Groups was offered at their work-
places, again ensuring easy access. Two randomized trials were
conducted, with providers at the Mayo Clinics in Arizona and
Minnesota respectively. Findings showed improvements com-
pared to controls on multiple indicators of well-being (including
cortisol levels) with moderate effect sizes, and gains sustained well
after the program was completed (for summaries, see Chesak
et al., 2020; Luthar et al., 2019a).
Perhaps most importantly in light of the current pandemic
AC Groups were shown to be effective with mothers when con-
ducted in virtual format as well (Luthar et al., 2019a). In the
NASEM (2019) consensus study report on equity in childhood,
AC Groups have been highlighted as a promising low-cost, effec-
tive strategy to foster resilience among at-risk mothers and thus,
their children. I continue efforts to bring virtual support groups
to parents and educators, with descriptions of how they might
each develop such groups in their own circles through the current
pandemic. As Ed often said, beneficial interventions do not
require a PhD but can and should be delivered by folk with
and for each other (Zigler, 1998).
The COVID-19 pandemic: Risk and resilience among
adolescents
The second section of this article presents a study of risk and resil-
ience among adolescents implemented during the first two
months of school closures following the spread of COVID-19 in
the United States. The sample consists of over 2,000 students
from five HASs in the US, assessed using the Student Resilience
Survey (SRS; see Methods for details). Central goals were (a) to
assess rates of clinically significant depression and anxiety and
(b) to illuminate potential risk and protective factors associated
with well-being, using a mixed-methods approach. The goal was
to discern major themes that recurred across schools and ana-
lytic approaches toward illuminating issues most warranting
attention in preventive interventions.
COVID-19, school closures, and HAS students
School closures and the move to distance learning have consider-
able implications not only for studentsmastery of academic
material but also for their mental health (e.g., Morrison, 2020).
Increasingly, there have been cautions that mental illness is the
second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (Uguen-Csenge,
2020). Stress levels are high given rampant fears about illness
and death, economic security, and feelings of isolation, and they
are exacerbated among parents with children at home
(American Psychological Association, 2020).
At this time, little is known about the effects of COVID on
adolescentsdepression or anxiety. On the one hand, teens have
experienced a loss of daily routines and structure; this lack of rou-
tine can be detrimental for well-being. They have also been
deprived of in-person interactions with friends socially, roman-
tically, and in extracurricular activities. On the other hand, some
HAS youth may have experienced a reprieve from multiple time
pressures (see Luthar et al., 2019b). In schools where average
achievement levels are high among the top 25% of test scores
in the country it could be a relief for some students to have
less intensive and more flexible daily schedules, as well as greater
leeway in hours for sleep.
The first question addressed here, therefore, was whether there
are any discernible trends in levels of serious mental health issues
among HAS adolescents since school closures. Of central interest
were symptoms of depression and anxiety, as both are especially
Development and Psychopathology 3
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
elevated among HAS students (Luthar et al., 2019b). The goal
here was to compare rates of clinically significant symptoms cur-
rently with rates previously documented in a study of almost
3,000 high school students assessed in 2019; overall, about 8%
had symptoms of depression or anxiety in the clinically significant
range, on a well-validated measure called the Well-Being Index
(WBI; Luthar, Ebbert, & Kumar, in press).
For comparative purposes normative rates are also available on
both these symptoms among almost 10,000 students who had
been assessed on the HAS Survey in 2019 (Authentic
Connections, 2019), but not part of the Luthar et al. (in press)
study. This larger 2019 cohort happened to include two of the
schools in the present study. Thus, it was possible to compare
these two schoolsown rates of serious distress from 2019 to
2020, and also to explore any systematic differences between
them with the other three schools who were not part of prior
collaborations.
The second objective of this study was to determine salient,
modifiable risk and protective factors that might help schools to
prioritize the major intervention needs in the face of the current
pandemic. To this end, the approach was similar to that used in
the HAS Survey, with two modifications. First, the total time
for survey completion was reduced from about 30 minutes to
10 minutes, omitting dimensions likely to be of less importance
during distance learning (e.g., externalizing problems and sub-
stance abuse, as students were at home). Second, the SRS used a
mixed-methods approach, with open-ended questions introduced
to help illuminate concerns unique to the new circumstances of
the pandemic and distance learning.
Quantitative questions on the survey (using Likert scales)
assessed three aspects of academic mastery: the availability of
resources needed for distance learning, the degree of felt efficacy
in learning, and the ability to focus on class materials. Another set
of questions pertained to central relationships in adolescents
lives, with acknowledgement that these are both critical for resil-
ience (Luthar, Crossman, & Small, 2015; NASEM, 2019), and
have inevitably been threatened by school closures. Qualitative
data were considered indispensable here given the entirely
unprecedented nature of current challenges; students were asked
what was most concerning for them, ways in which their school
could improve things, and ways in which their school was
doing things well.
Method
Participants
Data presented here are based on a sample of 2,196 high school
students in Grades 9 (n= 596), 10 (n= 594), 11 (n= 588), and
12 (n= 418). Participants were from five private schools all
located in the South region of the United States. (Note: The accu-
rate term for these institutions is independent schoolsbut pri-
vate schoolsis used here as it this is more common in everyday
parlance.) These schools were selected for this report because all
assessments had occurred during the first two months of distance
learning; all were in the same part of the country; and all had
good participation rates (70% or higher). As noted earlier, two
of these five schools had also been assessed in 2019 using the
HAS survey.
Breakdown of demographics by school is shown in Table 1. In
the sample as a whole, 48.0% of students were male (n= 1001)
and 51.6% were female (n= 1077; less than 1% of students did
not report gender). Students described themselves as primarily
Caucasian/White (60.3%), with other ethnicities represented as
follows: Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander (11.7%), Latinx/
Hispanic (6.7%), African American/Black (12.5%), Middle
Eastern (1.3%), and Biracial/Multiracial/Other (7.3%). With
regard to school characteristics, average 2019 SAT percentiles
ranged from 78% to 90% across the five schools (median 83%).
Annual tuition across schools ranged from $24,000 to $30,000
(median $27,000) and the percentage of students on scholarship
ranged from 21% to 28% (median 25%).
Measures: Components of the Student Resilience Survey (SRS)
Depression and anxiety
The WBI is a psychometrically validated measure (Luthar et al., in
press) consisting of 25 items assessing adolescentsinternalizing
and externalizing symptoms, and feelings of isolation at school,
on five subscales. For use in the SRS, the two internalizing sub-
scales depression and anxiety were included, each with five
items rated on a 5-point scale reflecting frequency of experiencing
the symptom in question (0 = never,4=very often).
Among schools assessed here, reliability coefficients for WBI
Depression and Anxiety indicated acceptable levels of internal
consistency (e.g., α.70; Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994). As
shown in Supplementary Table 2, coefficients for Depression
across schools for males and females, respectively, ranged from
.78 to .85 and .81 to .88; for Anxiety, parallel values ranged
from .79 to .92 and .83 to .86.
Risk and protective factors
Single items were generally used to quantitatively capture poten-
tial risk-modifiers, for a number of reasons. The first was brevity;
schools desired the briefest possible survey, anticipating that stu-
dents would already have fatigue with online communications.
Second, single items have commonly been used to assess critical
constructs in prior studies with adolescents, including not just
indices of adjustment problems for example, depression or fre-
quency of substance use (NIDA, 2019; Zimmerman et al., 2006)
but also constructs such as quality of life and relationships (e.g.,
Jovanović,2016; Shaw, Dooley, Cross, Zubrick, & Waters, 2013).
Importantly, simple correlations in this study, discussed below,
implied acceptable reliability of measurement. In general, validity
is constrained by reliability. As described in the Results section,
each single-item measure in the SRS was significantly correlated
with conceptually related others, consistently across the five
schools.
Learning efficacy was assessed by two single-item questions,
Learning Ability and Learning Focus, respectively, assessing (a)
how well students felt they were able to learn at home and (b)
their level of focus during online classes, each rated on a
5-point scale from low to high. Daily Structure for fun was
assessed by asking students to indicate the degree to which their
typical days had specific times set aside for activities that were
fun or relaxing, rated on a 5-point scale ranging from not at all
to very much.
Both positive and negative aspects of relationships with par-
ents were assessed; that is, the degree to which their parents (a)
understood and helped manage their feelings (henceforth called
Parent Support), and (b) were a source of stress for them
(Parent Stress). In addition, students reported their satisfaction
with the frequency with which they shared personal concerns
with (a) adults and (b) friends at school; responses ranged from
4 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
very dissatisfied to very satisfied. These variables are referred to as
Sharing with Adults and Sharing with Friends.
Finally, to assess studentsperceived responsiveness of schools
to new challenges, they were asked about the degree to which
teachers and administrators were (a) listening to their concerns
about school and (b) doing something about these concerns.
Both questions used a 5-point scale ranging from strongly disagree
to strongly agree and were averaged to create the construct referred
to as Concerns Heard. As shown in Supplementary Table 1, alpha
coefficients for Concerns Heard across schools ranged from .85 to
.90 (median .97) for males, and .77 to .86 for females (median
.85).
Qualitative data
Students responded to three free response questions: (a) These
days, what are you most worried about?(b) In thinking about
your school experience, what could your teachers/faculty be
doing to improve things for you?,and (c) What are things
that your school is doing well to support your overall school expe-
rience and well-being?To code qualitative response data, a tax-
onomy capturing distinct themes and non-overlapping
categories was developed. This initial taxonomy was created by
an external consultant with expertise in coding qualitative data;
in addition, an outside reviewer with classroom teaching certifica-
tion reviewed the taxonomy to ensure content validity. Other
team members then used early pilot data (not from this study)
to categorize responses, and when there was ambiguity of classifi-
cation across categories, clear inclusion and exclusion criteria
were spelled out for each.
The taxonomy includes nine mutually exclusive categories;
themes subsumed within these along with sample items for
each are shown in Supplementary Tables 2a2c. The categories
were the following: (a) Academic Workload the quantity/timing
of assignments and ability to complete assignments; (b) Faculty
Flexibility in grading and exams; (c) Faculty Support emotional
and academic; (d) Family Well-Being health and finances; (e)
Future/College uncertainties; (f) Peer Interactions mentions
of friends; (g) Distance Learning Efficacy ability to learn given
new constraints; (h) Structure/Schedule for school work and lei-
sure; and (i) Activities, including athletic and other events.
Studentsresponses could be coded in more than one category.
Inter-rater reliability. Two team members coded all open-ended
responses for this study, and Cohens(1960) kappa coefficients
were calculated to determine levels of agreement. Coefficients
for the questions on Concerns,Areas for Improvement, and
Whats Going Well, respectively, were .77, .76, and .72. These val-
ues are in the Substantial agreement range of 0.610.80; values
between 0.41and 0.60 are considered Moderate agreement and
0.810.99 is Almost perfect agreement (Viera & Garrett, 2005).
It should also be noted that as schools were given compiled
results on their students, they were able to access every student
response that had been classified within the major categories
described earlier. In other words, within the broad categories,
administrators could peruse all verbatim responses for the school,
hearingdirectly from the students. These open-ended entries,
like all quantitative scores, were entirely anonymous, and of
course, students were free to respond as briefly or in detail as
they chose.
Procedures
As part of their ongoing efforts to foster positive youth develop-
ment and proactively address COVID-related challenges, school
officials had administered the SRS virtually during regular school
hours after the move to distance learning (dates for each school
are shown in Table 1). As routinely done with such surveys, the
school heads obtained passive consent from the parents, inform-
ing them about the nature of the survey, giving them the option to
decline their childrens participation, and assuring them of the
confidentiality and complete anonymity of the data (including
no transmission of IP addresses). Participation rates across
schools, shown in Table 1, ranged from 70% to 99%, with a
median value of 81%. Across schools, a total of 2,249 students
completed the survey, with a rejection rate of 2.4% due to incom-
plete data, resulting in a final sample of 2,196 adolescents.
Following completion of data collection, each school shared
their de-identified data with this research team, who shared sum-
marized central findings for the school leadership team within
710 days using interactive dashboards. These dashboards
allowed leaders to view salient quantitative and qualitative find-
ings for the school overall, and also separately by subgroups
defined by gender, ethnicity, grade level, which illuminated any
subgroups especially vulnerable (e.g., gender-nonbinary students,
or youth of color). Note that if any subgroup had fewer than
10 students, data on that subgroup were not shared. There was
no charge to the schools for these data analyses and reports. As
this study involved analyses of preexisting, de-identified, anony-
mous data, this study is in the category of exemptstatus per
the Institutional Review Board committee at Columbia
Universitys Teachers College, protocol number 20161.
Analyses for this study were conducted using SPSS software
Table 1. Demographics of schools included in study: Grades 912
N
a
Participation
rates (%)
Days: school
closure to survey
SATMean
percentile
% Ethnicity
White Asian American Hispanic Black Middle Eastern Multiracial
School 1 400 84% 19 days 90% 64.8% 12.4% 2.4% 11.5% 1.5% 7.3%
School 2 750 81% 27 days 83% 62.3% 15.9% 6.6% 6.5% 2.5% 6.1%
School 3 1250 70% 39 days 78% 51.5% 9.5% 7.9% 20.4% 0.8% 9.5%
School 4 350 76% 41 days 88% 68.7% 11.2% 9.3% 5.4% 0.4% 5.0%
School 5 150 99% 49 days 78% 77.6 5.8% 5.8% 6.4% 0.6% 3.8%
Note.
a
To preserve the anonymity of schools, approximate values are shown for number of students enrolled in each (i.e., actual n+/20).
Annual tuition across schools ranged from $24,000 $30,000, median $27,000. Percentage of students on scholarship ranged from 21% to 28%, median 25%. Dates of school closures ranged
from 03/18/2020 to 03/25/2020.
Development and Psychopathology 5
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
(IBM Corp., 2019) with listwise deletion methods for missing
data, which was negligible (< 3%).
Results
Descriptive data
Simple correlations
Supplementary Tables 37 present simple correlations across all
variables in the study for all schools, separately by gender.
These tables showed the expected correlations among conceptu-
ally related single-item questions, lending support for the validity
of assessments. For example, coefficients for links between
Learning Ability and Learning Focus, were the following in
Schools 15 in order, for males/females respectively: .32 / .41;
.59 / .53; .60 / .45; .57 / .58 and .54 / .59. Parallel correlation coef-
ficients for Parent Support with Parent Stress were .59 / .61;
.58 / .58; .55 / .54; .43 / .62; .41 / .65. Finally, coef-
ficients between Concerns Heard at school and Sharing with
Adults were .29 / .43; .48 / .36; .33 / .23; .33 / .32; .42 / .34.
Clinical cutoffs/comparison to clinical norms
Figure 1 presents the percentage of students falling above clinical
cutoffs on WBI symptoms (Luthar et al., in press); that is, those
Figure 1. Percentages of youth reporting clinically significant symptoms Above Averageand Much Above Average: Rates in 2019 (Schools 1 and 2) and in 2020
(Schools 15). Note. Black bar represents 2019 normative values for each symptom by gender.
6 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
above average(AA) versus norms at +1.5 SDs, and much above
average(MAA) at +2 SDs. Norms, or cutoff scores, considered in
Figure 1 were based on a total of 9,025 students from 14 schools,
including 11 private schools, 2 public schools and one boarding
school; Authentic Connections, 2019). All of these schools had
been assessed in 2019, and all had mean SAT scores above the
75th percentile as did the five schools in the present study.
Figure 1 presents these comparisons, separately for males and
females, with AA rates on the top and MAA rates below. For each
subgroup of values for example, malesAA Depression the five
columns on the right represent rates for the five schools assessed
in 2020. To the left of these are two columns showing rates for
two of the five schools that had also been assessed in 2019 on
WBI Depression and Anxiety; Schools 1 and 3.
Considering, first, all 2020 data, results showed that in the vast
majority of instances, rates of clinically significant symptoms were
lower than those documented in 2019 norms. Of the 40 columns
representing 2020 rates, it was in only five instances that values
were notably greater than those from 2019, a proportion much
lower than what would have been expected by chance alone
(i.e., 8% vs. 50%).
The two columns on the far left of graphs in Figure 1 show
that for both Schools 1 and 3, rates of clinically significant symp-
toms were lower in 2020 than they had been in 2019. In addition,
their overall AA and MAA rates in 2020 appeared lower than
those in the other three schools.
Variations in mean scores on predictor and outcome variables
Table 2 presents means and standard deviations on all variables,
separately by school and for males and females. Differences in
mean levels of all variables were examined using a 2 ×5 multivar-
iate analysis of variance (MANOVA) according to (a) Sex (Male/
Female) and (b) School (Schools 15). Results showed significant
differences by Sex, F(10, 2055) = 35.42, p< .001; Wilks Λ= 0.85,
η
2
= 0.15; and by School, F(40, 7794) = 4.12, p< .001; Wilks
Λ= 0.92, η
2
= 0.02. The interaction between Sex and School was
not significant.
Follow up univariate analyses of variance (ANOVAs) were
conducted to identify significant mean group differences. With
regard to main effects for Sex, females reported higher levels of
Depression, F(1, 2068) = 79.88, p< .001, η
2
= .04, and Anxiety,
F(1, 2068) = 282.14, p< .001, η
2
= .12. On predictor variables, differ-
ences were significant for Learning Focus, F(1, 2065) = 5.17, p<.05,
η
2
=.002, Time for fun, F(1, 2065) = 10.98, p<.001,η
2
=.01,
Sharing with Friends, F(1, 2064) = 15.56, p<.001,η
2
=.01, and
Parent Stress, F(1, 2065) = 4.01, p<.05,η
2
=.002. Compared to
females, males reported greater Learning Focus and more structured
Time for Fun, and lower levels of Parent Stress, but were lower than
females on satisfaction with Sharing with Friends.
Regarding main effects for School, comparisons on outcome
variables were significant for Depression, F(4, 2068) = 2.75, p<
.05, η
2
= .01, and Anxiety, F(4, 2068) = 6.21, p< .001, η
2
= .01.
With regard to predictor variables, differences were significant
for Learning Ability, F(4, 2065) = 7.14, p< .001, η
2
= .01,
Learning Focus, F(4, 2065) = 12.60, p< .001, η
2
= .02, Time for
Fun, F(4, 2065) = 2.80, p< .05, η
2
= .01, Sharing with Adults,
F(4, 2065) = 8.62, p< .001, η
2
= .02, and Concerns Heard,
F(4, 2064) = 6.13, p< .001, η
2
= .01.
For significant School effects, post hoc comparisons were con-
ducted using Tukeys HSD tests; these correct for family-wise
error and are conservative when sample sizes are unequal
(Montgomery, 2013). Results are shown in Figure 2.
Collectively, the findings showed that Schools 1 and 3 both
fared significantly better compared to other schools on multiple
variables assessed.
Regression analyses
Results of regression analyses are shown in Table 3, separately for
the five schools. In these regressions, gender was controlled for at
the outset ( preliminary analyses showed similar findings for
males and females). Findings showed that with Depression and
Anxiety as the outcomes, respectively, overall variance accounted
for (R
2
) ranged from .23 to .33 (median .30) and between .20 and
.36 (median .28).
With regard to unique associations for the predictor variables,
results showed significant links between Parent Stress and out-
comes in all ten regression analyses conducted, with beta coeffi-
cients ranging from .19 to .25 for Depression (median .22) and
.16 to .25 for Anxiety (median .20). In addition, Parent Support
was inversely related to Depression in all six schools, with beta
coefficients ranging from .13 to .21, median .19. Links for
other variables were less consistent, significant in 60% of analyses
conducted. With Depression as the outcome, in three of five
schools each, significant links were found for three other predictor
variables. These included Learning Focus, with βs of .12, .08,
and .28 for Schools 2, 3, and 5, respectively; Time for fun, βs
of .13, .10, and .10 in Schools 1, 2, and 3; and Sharing
with Friends, βs.17, .09, and .12 in Schools 2, 3, and 4,
respectively.
Qualitative data: Coding student accounts of concerns and
improvements
Figure 3 shows summarized results of responses to the three
open-ended questions (again, sample items for all categories are
shown in Supplementary Table 2). As shown in Figure 3, for
Concerns, the five categories most often mentioned across schools
were Workload, Future/College, and Family Well-Being, followed
by Peer Interactions and Activities. Under Areas for Improvement,
Workload was again the most frequently mentioned, as it was
among the top five for Whats Going Well. The opposite pattern
was seen with Faculty Support; this was the most commonly men-
tioned category under Whats Going Well. Other categories men-
tioned relatively often across both questions were Distance
Learning Efficacy, Faculty Flexibility, and Structure/Schedule.
Finally, under Concerns in particular, the two categories most
often mentioned (following Workload) were Future/College and
Family Well-Being.
Discussion
Considering data from five schools, rates of students with clini-
cally significant levels of depression and anxiety were not uni-
formly higher, during the first few weeks of distance learning,
than those documented previously in 2019; in fact, in most
instances these rates were lower. Second, when multiple aspects
of learning and relationships were examined as predictors in
regression analyses, perceptions of parentsfunctioning consis-
tently showed strong, unique links with adolescentsdepression
and anxiety. In responses to open-ended questions, workload
was commonly mentioned as well as faculty support; other
Development and Psychopathology 7
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
Table 2. Descriptive statistics: means and standard deviations of all variables by school and gender
School 1 n= 330 School 2 n= 602 School 3 n= 849 School 4 n= 259 School 5 n= 156 ANOVA
Males Females Males Females Males Females Males Females Males Females Sex School
MMMMMMMMMM F F
Variables SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD SD partial η
2
partial η
2
Depression 5.63 7.00 4.60 6.74 4.70 6.48 5.48 7.02 4.53 7.00 79.88*** 2.75*
3.45 3.87 3.97 3.94 3.66 4.12 4.64 4.30 4.10 4.37 .04 .01
Anxiety 5.38 9.20 5.40 9.13 5.01 7.89 5.88 9.41 5.13 10.17 282.14*** 6.21***
3.62 4.30 4.15 4.65 4.07 4.48 5.06 4.41 4.19 4.43 .12 .01
Learning ability 2.89 2.93 2.74 2.68 2.84 2.86 2.43 2.60 2.63 2.69 0.76 7.14***
1.06 0.92 1.05 0.92 1.05 1.03 1.10 1.00 1.08 1.01 0 .01
Learning focus 3.04 3.04 2.72 2.56 2.89 2.82 2.58 2.52 2.99 2.71 5.17* 12.60***
0.94 0.84 1.02 0.95 1.03 0.98 0.95 0.93 1.13 0.95 0 .02
Time for fun 3.02 3.07 3.12 2.91 3.31 3.08 3.27 2.99 3.39 3.07 10.98*** 2.80*
1.20 1.13 1.14 1.02 1.21 1.13 1.22 1.01 1.21 0.98 .01 .01
Sharing w/adults 3.49 3.56 3.21 3.10 3.36 3.23 3.20 3.18 3.24 3.01 2.73 8.62***
1.04 1.06 1.02 0.89 0.95 0.90 1.05 0.96 1.25 0.98 0 .02
Sharing w/friends 3.76 3.85 3.69 3.92 3.81 3.96 3.67 3.97 3.50 3.88 15.56*** 1.19
1.16 1.18 1.13 1.06 1.07 1.09 1.19 1.02 1.20 0.95 .01 0
Parent support 3.33 3.46 3.44 3.45 3.36 3.41 3.28 3.53 3.48 3.37 1.29 0.28
1.01 1.13 1.17 1.06 1.05 1.13 1.15 1.21 1.22 1.16 0 0
Parent stress 2.83 2.88 2.72 3.04 2.90 2.99 2.92 2.89 2.86 3.06 4.01* 0.51
1.24 1.15 1.26 1.20 1.15 1.17 1.18 1.14 1.19 1.16 0 0
Concerns heard 3.00 3.23 2.85 2.85 3.08 3.07 2.95 3.00 3.04 2.81 0.02 6.13***
0.98 0.82 1.07 0.93 0.98 0.89 1.07 1.01 1.07 0.97 0 .01
Note. *p< .05, **p< .01, ***p< .001.
ANOVA = analysis of variance
8 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
categories often mentioned included concerns about families
well-being and uncertainties about the future.
Rates of clinically significant depression and anxiety: Lower
than rates in 2019
Across the five schools in this study and considering both males
and females, results showed limited evidence that rates of serious
internalizing symptoms had increased in the early weeks of school
closures. In point of fact, in four of the five schools, proportions of
students reporting clinically significant internalizing symptoms
both above averageand much above average(+1.5 and +2 SDs
respectively) were below rates that had been computed among
almost 10,000 students during 2019 across multiple administra-
tions of the HAS Survey (Authentic Connections, 2019).
The apparently lower rates of internalizing symptoms could
partially rest on some reductions in everyday stress, as noted in
the introduction to this study; at the same time, it must be cau-
tioned that HAS students (and others) will likely show increases
in distress as there are continued uncertainties around the pan-
demic (e.g., New York Times, 2020). Regarding re-opening, for
example, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP, 2020)
has recommended that in the fall, students should be physically
present in school as much as possible, because extended peri-
ods of time away will increase risk for social isolation and seri-
ous depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidal ideation.
Conversely, educational experts recommend that schools
should focus centrally on improving distance instruction;
efforts to create new, hybrid models carry risks of overwhelm-
ing teachers and could result in lower quality instruction
(Pallas, 2020). In short, there is likely to be continued uncer-
tainty about resuming in-person school interactions as they
used to be, and these uncertainties will inevitably increase
symptom levels.
Figure 2. Post hoc comparisons of significant main effect differences across school in analyses of variance.
Development and Psychopathology 9
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
Studentsdistress levels are also likely to increase given rising
stress among adults on whom they depend for care. Regression
results reported here support NASEMs(2019) conclusions that
youth mental health rests strongly on their parentsfunctioning.
Considering multiple predictors related to home, school, and
peers, adolescentsfeelings of stress around their parents was sig-
nificantly linked with both depression and anxiety in all ten of the
regression analyses, as feeling supported by parents when troubled
was related to lower depression in all five schools. (Three other
variables that showed unique, inverse links, but not consistently
across schools, were structured time for fun, sharing of concerns
with friends, and ability to focus on schoolwork.)
Also relevant here are national data trends on adultsmental
health since the start of the pandemic. Between January and
June of 2019, 11% of adults reported anxiety or depression
(Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). By early
May 2020, this rate had climbed to 35.9% and by June end, was
at 36.1%. Similarly, drug overdose deaths reportedly climbed by
11.4% across the first four months of 2020, likely due to increased
social isolation, depression, and anxiety (Ehley, 2020).
Considering parents specifically, the APA (2020) report showed
that high COVID-related stress was reported by 46% of adults
with children under 18 at home, as opposed to 28% of adults
without children.
Besides parents, school adults are also going to be stretched in
being able to offer psychological safety netsfor youth who strug-
gle with distress. In this study, studentsopen-ended responses
indicated that in thinking of what schools were doing well, they
often described outreach and support from teachers, advisors,
and counselors. Juxtaposed with these data are others showing
the increasing strain on these adults. Our own data on over
4,000 HAS adults (administrators, teachers, counselors, and sup-
port staff) across the country have shown that high work-related
burnout was reported by 10% of respondents in March 2020, and
by July, this number had climbed to over 40% (Luthar & Kumar,
2020).
Using data to guide community-based interventions
and policy
From the perspectives of prevention, practice, and policies, several
factors indicated that the SRS assessments had been beneficial for
the school communities. First, there was some comfort for school
leaders in simply having rigorous data on studentsmental health
and top concerns (much as they sought physical health data on
COVID infections). Second, administrators appreciated the one
hour face-to-face feedback sessions as they were led through
details of methods used for assessments and statistical analyses,
Table 3. Results of multiple regressions for depression and anxiety as outcomes
School 1 School 2 School 3 School 4 School 5
n=330 n=602 n=849 n=259 n=156
DV: Depression β
b
ββββ
Gender
a
.21*** .23*** .21*** .23*** .17*
Learning ability .06 0 .04 .12 .02
Learning focus .05 .12** .08* .07 .28***
Time for fun .13* .10** .10*** .07 .04
Sharing w/adults .08 .01 .01 .04 .07
Sharing w/friends .02 .16*** .09** .12* .10
Parent support .13* .19*** .17*** .21** .19*
Parent stress .25*** .20*** .23*** .19** .22**
Concerns heard .13* .01 .01 .10 .05
Total R
2
.27*** .30*** .24*** .33*** .32***
DV: Anxiety βββββ
Gender .44*** .33*** .29*** .36*** .33***
Learning ability 0 .06 .10** .07 .08
Learning focus .04 .07 .07 .02 .12
Time for fun .10 .18*** .06 .09 .12
Sharing w/adults .07 .03 .06 .06 .06
Sharing w/friends .01 .06 .01 .10 .01
Parent support .05 .08 .02 .12 .09
Parent stress .23*** .25*** .20*** .17* .16*
Concerns heard .11* .01 .05 .07 .02
Total R
2
.28*** .36*** .20*** .28*** .28***
Note.*p< .05, **p< .01, ***p< .001.
a
Gender: Males coded as 1 and females coded as 2;
b
β= standardized beta coefficient.
10 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
Figure 3. Percentages of students mentioning discrete themes in open-ended responses.
Development and Psychopathology 11
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
and associated recommendations with specific, actionable steps
for their own school. Their ability to pinpoint subgroups consis-
tently shown to be vulnerable in their institution was also valued.
To illustrate, findings at one high school showed that juniors had
higher rates of serious symptoms relative to other grades in the
same school, and also relative to 11th graders, nationally; In addi-
tion they showed marked deviations on multiple risk-modifiers
examined.
Third, use of these assessments reportedly helped bolster
cohesiveness, helping students and staff to feel tethered to
their communitythrough all the uncertainty and isolation
wrought by COVID. Respondents explicitly appreciated these
surveys as signs that the school cared about their personal well-
being. Administratorssharing of central survey results was also
helpful, both to demonstrate what was going well at their school
(e.g., quoting verbatim responses), and to describe initiatives
addressing suggestions noted in studentssuggestions for
improvements.
Most especially, school leaders valued the concrete sugges-
tions for steps they could take to address specific issues that
were shown to be most important in their own data.
Recommendations commonly included various ways to bolster
ongoing community connections, including strategies from
other schools that had successfully implemented them.
Examples include scheduled virtual, social get-togethers for
groups of students in the same extracurriculars, and a help
offeredpage where older students offered virtual story time
for younger children, or help with lessons. Recommendations
also pertained to aspects of distance learning specifically, that
could reduce stress levels among students. Most often, these
involved reductions in volume of work teachers assigned to stu-
dents, flexibility in their expectations while grading, and ensur-
ing that deadlines for major assignments were staggered across
departments (e.g., across different days of the week). In some
schools, more training and support was needed around technol-
ogy, as well as the recommendation to adopt a single platform
for the whole school (Zoom, Google Hangout, etc.).
Variations across schools
A final comment on findings from this study is that in compari-
sons of the schools within this study, post hoc analyses showed
that Schools 1 and 3 did stand out as having better outcomes
than the others. This was seen in relation to anxiety scores and
also on several predictor variables, including sharing with adults
and concerns heard by the school, as well as learning ability
and focus. As noted earlier, Schools 1 and 3 differed from the oth-
ers in that they had clearly delineated wellness plans, guided by
prior in-depth research data on their own schools and involving
active participation of all major stakeholders.
Of course, there is no way of knowing if any such interven-
tions had actually catalyzed significant improvements in the
Schools 1 and 3 here. Descriptively, 2020 rates of serious distress
appeared to be lower than those in 2019, but there are no pre-
and post-data, nor any comparison no-interventiongroups.
These caveats clearly explicated, there is perhaps room for cau-
tious optimism regarding the data-driven, school-specific,
community-based approach applied. At the least, it could be
useful to learn about and document specific new initiatives
these two schools had each introduced that they believe may
be tied to better all-around functioning in their respective stu-
dent bodies.
Limitations and future directions
Limitations of this study include its cross-sectional nature which
precludes any conclusions about causality as well as the sole
reliance on self-report measures, many of which were based in
single items. The mono-informant method could have led to
inflated associations among some constructs. At the same time,
it should be noted that multivariate regressions partialled out var-
iance shared between predictors and outcomes due to measure-
ment via self-reports, effectively illuminating links unique to
each of the predictors. With regard to the use of single items to
assess several predictor variables, it is possible that reliability of
measurement would have been higher had multiple items been
used. Conversely, the patterns of simple correlations found here,
across all schools, generally suggested acceptable validity with sig-
nificant associations that would be conceptually expected.
Of course, findings of this study cannot be assumed to gener-
alize across developmental periods, and beyond schools such as
those examined here. It is possible that trends here do not capture
those among younger HAS students in the first two months of
school closures, given their less well-developed coping skills and
probably greater difficulty in interacting with peers virtually as
compared to adolescents. Rates of serious distress as well as the
most important predictors of symptoms may well be quite differ-
ent in other subgroups of students, and, especially in schools with
mostly low SES students. For these youth, significant constraints
are very likely to arise from a lack of resources needed for distance
learning including good internet services, computers/tablets
as well as limited physical space at home to attend class online,
and concerns about family finances given rising unemployment
rates during the pandemic. Future research should examine issues
addressed here across diverse types of school communities.
Contributions of this work to developmental psychopathology
science and practice
Acknowledging such questionable generalizability of findings,
some might question the value of studying resilience among
HAS students generally, or specifically during COVID and
there are several pertinent issues in this regard. The first is that
this is a nontrivial proportion of youth who are now declared
to be at risk,but continue to be underrepresented in develop-
mental science (Geisz & Nakashian, 2018). Even just considering
schools in the top quartile of US achievement test scores, mathe-
matically, HAS students would represent at least one fourth of the
todays children and adolescents. Within HAS contexts, further-
more, there are large numbers of youth who are especially vulner-
able given minority status, in terms of family income, ethnicity or
sexual orientation. To illustrate, across schools in this study, at
least 20% of students were on scholarship and a quarter to almost
half were ethnic minorities; youth of color are especially vulnera-
ble to discrimination in overwhelmingly white HAS student bod-
ies (Luthar et al., 2019b).
From a theoretical standpoint, a hallmark of developmental
psychopathology is that studies of nonmainstream groups can
teach much about normative developmental processes
(Cicchetti, 1984). Findings from this study indicate that access
to high-quality instruction and extracurriculars does offer consid-
erable educational advantages to children, but at the same time,
can jeopardize their mental health. In theoretical formulations,
the elevated distress documented thus far among HAS students
has been posited to from unrelenting achievement pressures
12 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
(Luthar et al., 2019b), and COVID has served as a natural exper-
iment illuminating possible causeeffect links (see Cicchetti,
2003). It appears that as distance learning has enforced some
release for students from the I can, therefore, I mustdoctrine,
they have shown reductions in serious symptoms, overall.
From a practice perspective, the findings carry two clear mes-
sages, one pertaining to the children and the second to adults in
their lives. While school stakeholders are redefining educational
policies and expectations in the coming months, it would be
wise to delineate mores that foster the well-being of the whole
child, and avoid a return to grueling, unrelenting workloads for
students. Similarly, there must be deliberate attention to the well-
being of adults both at school and at home, for their own sakes
and for the children whom they tend. The stressors of this pan-
demic will know no bounds by parentslevels of education,
income, or ethnicity. Like parents, teachers in all K-12 schools,
regardless of demographics, must receive ongoing support as
they tend to their studentspsychological needs through signifi-
cant life traumas (Luthar et al., 2019a;b).
Summary
Findings of this study of five high schools further reinforce the
conclusion that resilience among adolescents rests, fundamentally,
on the quality of their relationships, with important adults in their
lives. There was clear evidence that in the eight weeks after school
closures in this pandemic, adolescentsmental health was inextri-
cably linked with parentsfunctioning, as perceived by the chil-
dren themselves. The use of a mixed-methods approach
illuminated the importance of support from school adults as
well, in addition to dimensions of workload.
Concluding Remarks
Ed Ziglers teachings are deeply embedded in all the research and
scholarship reflected within both preceding parts of this article,
and closing comments here are focused on the last of five
major lessons, following those listed at the outset. Ed encouraged
his students to periodically step back and take a birdseyeview
of our work to ensure that there is ongoing coherence both within
and across areas of research and theory, practice and policy. In
this concluding section of the paper, I now offer comments
from this broader perspective, connecting the different streams
of work.
Refining theory: Conceptual issues and prioritization of
risk-modifiers
Following our first research paper on resilience (Luthar & Zigler,
1991), I remained committed to reexamining salient conceptual,
design, and measurement issues, summarizing updates every
few years. Epitomizing these efforts was a 2000 article directly
addressing the then-growing skepticism of the value of resilience
as a scientific construct. This paper addressed salient controversies
and points of confusion in this area, with in-depth discussions on
operational definitions, approaches to data analyses, and consider-
ations in reporting findings in science, and to the public as well
as policy makers (Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000; for recent dis-
cussions, see Infurna & Luthar, 2016).
Theoretically, I moved increasingly from detailing different
domains of diverse risk and protective factors, to efforts at prior-
itizing these in terms of potential to bring about meaningful
change. Ed often cautioned us students that in psychology, we
are trained to consider evidence for many rival hypotheses, but
this is at odds with policy makersneed for succinct summaries
of facts. He often quoted these words from a congressman
responding to a researchers presentation: What this country
needs is a one-armed psychologist. You guys are always saying
on the one hand.but on the other hand…”. Zigler (1993,
p. 11).
As I sought such prioritizing in my own perspective on resil-
ience, I delineated four criteria that might help narrow choices
among many rival candidate constructsfor empirical study. In
designing applied research, precedence should be given to those
constructs that are (a) recurrently linked with well-being across
diverse populations, (b) have meaningful effect sizes, (c) are
changeable via interventions that are scalable, and (d) are likely
to mobilize other protective influences (in what Rutter (1987)
called positive chain reactions). Whereas my own early writings
had afforded equal importance to characteristics of children
themselves, families, and communities, it became clear, from mul-
tiple experts contributing to a 2003 book, that families had to be
first on the list. Logically, this makes sense as parents are the sin-
gle most proximal and long-term socializing influence for chil-
dren in general (Luthar & Zelazo, 2003).
Further refinements: Within close relationships, which
constructs most warrant attention?
Another theoretical refinement was pinpointing critical risk-
modifiers within the broad category of parent-child interactions;
for most populations of children at risk, most potent is experienc-
ing maltreatment (Luthar & Zelazo, 2003; Luthar et al., 2015).
Admittedly, the term resilienceinstinctively connotes, for many,
an emphasis on positive processes. However, more than any positive
aspects of parentchild relationships, chronic abuse and neglect
have the most powerful and longstanding effects on children
(Luthar & Eisenberg, 2017; NASEM, 2019). Unfortunately, mal-
treatment co-occurs with many life adversities commonly studied
by resilience researchers, ranging from dire poverty to parent mental
illness. Thus, as we think of powerful risk-modifiers that must be
considered in working with any vulnerable group, maltreatment
must be considered among those that most urgently require atten-
tion (Luthar et al., 2015; NASEM, 2019).
The same general principle is true for childrens other close
relationships; that is, with peers and adults at school. This has
become clear from our own recently accumulated data, on over
15,000 students assessed nationally during 2019, on the HAS sur-
vey (Authentic Connections, 2019). As we have summarized find-
ings for individual schools, we consistently saw that the strongest
unique predictors of symptoms were not positive dimensions such
close friendships or support from teachers. Rather, they were usu-
ally dimensions of a negative valence, such as victimization by
peers, unkindness from teachers, discrimination based on ethnic
or sexual minority status, sexual harassment, or perceived toler-
ance of bullying in the schools climate.
As cumulative findings have informed conceptual views on
critical risk-modifiers, in parallel, they have led to ongoing refine-
ments to our measurement in research. To illustrate, the most
recent iteration of the HAS Survey (for use in fall 2020 onwards)
will include constructs learned to be important from SRS findings
during COVID from 45 schools through June 2020. Guided by
open-ended data, newly developed questions will allow us to
quantitatively assess (and thus track changes over time) in
Development and Psychopathology 13
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
constructs such as studentsworries about family membershealth
and finances, and their feelings of loneliness.
Resilience research and social policy: Shifts in emphases
From a big pictureperspective, there have been two noteworthy
shifts in my own thinking about resilience research and social pol-
icy; the first is captured within the title of Ziglers classic 1998
paper, A place of value for applied and policy studies.In this
article, Ed clearly described the value of basic research; put sim-
ply, it essential to update knowledge of child development. At
the same time, he underscored the need for research designs
that yield clear, explicit directions to inform interventions and
policies that will be applied in the real world.
Around the turn of the century, I myself joined several col-
leagues in urging enhanced attention to biological processes
(Luthar & Zelazo, 2003; Luthar et al., 2000), but more recently,
have conceptualized these issues in more nuanced terms
(Luthar & Eisenberg, 2017). Of course, there is no question that
biomarkers are essential to advance understanding of multilevel
influences on childrens development; In addition, they can be
invaluable in intervention research, when demonstrating benefits
of new interventions (e.g., beyond results based on self-reports or
observations). What is less clear is how they can be used in large-
scale preventive interventions that are not psycho-pharmacological.
Echoing Eds emphasis on pragmatics given limited available funds,
the NASEM (2019) report now specifically urges that in
prevention-oriented research involving the use of biological assess-
ments (as mediators, moderators, or outcomes), there must be care-
ful elucidation of how these will be used in community-based
interventions that have the promise of reaching large numbers of
todays vulnerable children and families.
Finally, from the perspective of theory, interventions, as well as
policy related to resilience, there has been a noteworthy shift in
my thinking about at-risk parentsrole, moving from a focus on
skills they must acquire, to specifically prioritizing what caregivers
themselves must receive. Conclusions from the previously men-
tioned 2003 book called for greater focus on parenting as a
dependent variable(Luthar & Zelazo, 2003), recognizing that
when children are at-risk, so are their caregivers. In considering
potential predictors of this new dependent variable,subsequent
literature reviews have clearly shown that as with children (and of
course, assuming basic needs of food and safety are met), psycho-
logical and behavioral resilience among parents rests on their own
receipt of ongoing support (Luthar & Eisenberg, 2017; Luthar
et al., 2015).
Contemporary perspectives on this issue too have now come
reflect a more specificity beyond the generic notion that caregivers
are important. This is seen in three distinct conclusions within the
NASEMs(2019) consensus study report. The report notes that,
Promoting resilience in children rests, first, on ensuring the well-
being of childrens primary caregivers, usually, their mothers, and
this requires the mothers ongoing access to strong supportive
relationships beyond meeting basic needs for survival(p. 283).
In addition, it underscores gender-specific needs; that is, There
is an urgent need to develop interventions well suited for fathers
and other male caregivers; existing approaches that are developed
for and tested with women cannot be assumed to generalize
(to) men and fathers who take care of young children(p. 253).
Finally, the report explicitly emphasizes the well-being of educa-
tors, noting that as they are expected to support the development
of the whole child, they must receive support for their own phys-
ical, emotional, and mental health.
What does all this mean during COVID?
In concluding discussions, I return to the research question at the
core of this article: How can we maximize childhood resilience
during the pandemic? I am mindful here of current directives
that applied scientists must move beyond generic statements of
what should be done, to delineating specific steps of how to do
this, with concrete blueprints or roadmaps for action (Luthar &
Eisenberg, 2017; NASEM, 2019). Based on our teams interactions
with over 50 schools between April and June 2020, plus ongoing
groups with parents and educators, here are a few concrete steps
and issues for consideration.
1. First, we must strictly avoid statements to the public that most
people are resilient(children or adults). Several months into
the pandemic with no clear end in sight, the mental health
of all adults is threatened, given ongoing uncertainties of
health, jobs, schooling, the economy, and child care. It is inap-
propriate and unwise for scientists to imply that anyone is
immune or invulnerable.
2. Child development experts have called for wealthier nations to
provide aid for those less wealthy to ensure physical health,
safety, and nutrition (e.g., Yoshikawa et al., 2020); yet,
resources are becoming stretched everywhere (New York
Times, 2020). Thus, as we advocate for national- and
international-level systemic changes in policies,
local community-level services must be mobilized to provide
psychological support through the traumas of COVID-19.
3. It is not enough for scientists to tell people that relationships
matter for resilience; people will need help in setting these
relationships in place in their everyday lives. In our own
work, we have worked to expand implementation of virtual
AC Groups (described earlier in this article) with health care
providers beyond the Mayo Clinic, to hospitals in other areas
including California and Oregon. In addition, we are now run-
ning groups for K-12 counselors and administrators as well as
local service providers (both men and women). As these lead-
ers participate in groups, they not only give vital support to
each other but also absorb the approach and methods of AC
Groups, and then take this offering back to others in their
communities.
4. In our ongoing work with schools, we have learned of some
creative strategies used by some during the pandemic and
have shared these broadly. To illustrate, some schools have cre-
ated caring committees, where staff and parents volunteered
to ensure ongoing connectedness, in virtual format, for all in
the communities. This is done by regular social get togethers
for students, and adults (parents and faculty); small group
meetings to share strains and provide mutual support; and per-
sonal outreach to community members facing special
challenges.
5. It must be emphasized that such strategies, resting on mutual
support, can be and have been used across socioeconomic set-
tings, as was described at the outset of this article; they do not
need large sums of money. Child clinical experts have
described many creative ways to enhance support for parents
in communities (e.g., connecting via hair-salons, or in super-
markets; see NASEM, 2019). As with AC Groups, some of
these strategies can also be explored in virtual format. These
14 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
are far from perfect solutions, but certainly better than none as
we grapple with escalating mental health concerns through this
pandemic.
Closing this article describing programmatic research by this
group to the present time, I present three quotes, one from Ed
himself, as he echoed past president of the American
Psychological Association, Ronald Fox (1996). The second is
from Dante Cicchetti for whom Zigler was a mentor as well
and the third from my fellow graduate student Jake Burack and
me.
We owe it to our fellow citizens to devote our massive energy and
resources toward the resolution of the problems of a society that is in obvi-
ous difficulty.
Zigler, 1998, p. 782
Ziglers work is always conspicuously marked by a love and concern for
the people he studies. My bet is that his genuine passion and caring for the
topics he researches the components of his mind set him apart from
most intellectsand contribute greatly to his spanning dualisms that are
too frequently inherent between clinical study of and research into child-
hood and adult disorders, between basic and applied research, and
between developmental psychology and psychopathology. Zigler is an
unusually creative compassionate, well integrated human being.
Cicchetti, 1986, p. xii
Eds academic legacy is enshrined by his more than 800 scholarly articles,
43 books and monographs, the numerous social and educational programs
that have positively impacted millions of children and families in the
United States and around the world, and his generations of students
who have contributed to the well-being of children and families in
many different ways. This extensive and varied tapestry of accomplish-
ments reflects Eds world view that success in advocacy, public policy,
and social programming is dependent on meticulous science, and that sci-
ence is only meaningful when it enhances the lives of others.
In memoriam: Edward Zigler, 19302019
Burack & Luthar, 2020, p. 411
Supplementary Material. The supplementary material for this article can
be found at https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579420001388
Acknowlegements. The authors gratefully acknowledge all students, fami-
lies, and school leaders from collaborating schools. Sincere thanks as well to
Renee Benoit, Lisa Pao, Harrison Tool, and Nicole Zillmer and especially
Nikhil Kumar for their generous contributions of time and expertise to
the new study, and to Jake Burack for his comments on a previous version
of this manuscript.
Financial Statement. This research received no specific grant from any
funding agency, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Conflicts of Interest. Support for this work was provided by Authentic
Connections. Authorsroles at Authentic Connections are as follows: Suniya
S. Luthar, Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer; Ashley M. Ebbert,
Director of Research; Nina L. Kumar, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer.
References
American Academy of Pediatrics (2020). COVID-19 planning considerations:
Guidance for school re-entry. Retrieved from https://services.aap.org/en/
pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-
19-planning-considerations-return-to-in-person-education-in-schools/
American Psychological Association (2020). APA stress in America
TM
report:
High stress related to coronavirus is the new normal for many parents.
Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/05/stress-
america-covid-19
Authentic Connections. (2019). Normative data on the Well Being Index
(WBI): Middle and high schools assessed in 2019. Internal Authentic
Connections report, unpublished.
Burack, J. A., & Luthar, S. S. (2020). Edward Zigler (19302019). American
Psychologist,75, 410411.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). Mental health: Household
pulse survey. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/pulse/mental-
health.htm
Chesak, S. S., Bhagra, A., Cutshall, S., Ingram, A., Benoit, R., Medina-Inojosa,
J. R., Luthar, S. (2020). Authentic connections groups: A pilot test of an
intervention aimed at enhancing resilience among nurse leader mothers.
Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing,17, 3948.
Cicchetti, D. (1984). The emergence of developmental psychopathology. Child
Development,55,17.
Cicchetti, D. (1986). Foreword. In E. Zigler & M. Glick (Eds.), A developmen-
tal approach to adult psychopathology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Cicchetti, D. (2003). Editorial: Experiments of nature: Contributions to devel-
opmental theory. Development and Psychopathology,15, 833835. Web.
Cicchetti, D., & Rogosch, F. A. (1996). Equifinality and multifinality in devel-
opmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology,8, 597600.
Cohen, J. A. (1960). Coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational
and Psychological Measurement,20, 3746.
Ehley, B. (2020). Pandemic unleashes a spike in overdose deaths: The corona-
virus threat put on hold a billion-dollar research program focused on new
forms of addiction treatment. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/
news/2020/06/29/pandemic-unleashes-a-spike-in-overdose-deaths-345183
Ellis, B. J., Boyce, W. T., Belsky, J., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & Van
IJzendoorn, M. H. (2011). Differential susceptibility to the environment: An
evolutionaryneurodevelopmental theory. Development and Psychopathology,
23,728.
Fox, R. E. (1996). Charlatanism, scientism, and psychologys social contract.
American Psychologist,51, 777784.
Garcia Coll, C., Lamberty, G., Jenkins, R., McAdoo, H. P., Crnic, K., & Wasik,
B. H. (1996). An integrative model for the study of developmental compe-
tencies in minority children. Child Development,67, 18911914.
Garmezy, N., Masten, A. S., & Tellegen, A. (1984). The study of stress and
competence in children: A building block for developmental psychopathol-
ogy. Child Development, 55, 97111.
Geisz, M. B., & Nakashian, M. (2018). Adolescent wellness: Current perspec-
tives and future opportunities in research, policy, and practice: A learning
report. Retrieved from https://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/
issue_briefs/2018/rwjf445935/subassets/rwjf445935_1
IBM Corp. (2019). IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 26.0. Armonk,
NY: IBM Corp.
Infurna, F. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2016). Resilience to major life stressors is not as
common as thought. Perspectives on Psychological Science,11, 175194.
Infurna, F. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2017). The multidimensional nature of resilience
to spousal loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,112, 926.
Jovanović, V. (2016). The validity of the satisfaction with life scale in adoles-
cents and a comparison with single-item life satisfaction measures: A pre-
liminary study. Quality of Life Research: An International Journal of
Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care & Rehabilitation,25, 3173
3180. doi:10.1007/s11136-016-1331-5
Luthar, S. S. (1999). Poverty and childrens adjustment. Newbury Park, CA:
Sage.
Luthar, S. S. (2006). Resilience in development: A synthesis of research across five
decades. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology:
Risk, disorder, and adaptation (2nd ed., pp. 739795). New York: Wiley.
Luthar, S. S., Barkin, S. H., & Crossman, E. J. (2013). I can, therefore I must:
Fragility in the upper-middle classes. Development and Psychopathology,25,
15291549. 25th Anniversary Special Issue.
Luthar, S. S., Cicchetti, D., & Becker, B. (2000). The construct of resilience: A
critical evaluation and guidelines for future work. Child Development,71,
543562.
Luthar, S. S., Crossman, E. J., & Small, P. J. (2015). Resilience in the face of
adversities. In M. Lamb & C. Garcia Coll (Eds.), Handbook of child
Development and Psychopathology 15
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
psychology and developmental science: Vol. 3. Socioemotional processes (7th
ed., pp. 247286). New York, NY: Wiley.
Luthar, S. S., & DAvanzo, K. (1999). Contextual factors in substance use: A
study of suburban and inner-city adolescents. Development and
Psychopathology,11, 845867.
Luthar, S. S., Doernberger, C. H., & Zigler, E. (1993). Resilience is not a uni-
dimensional construct: Insights from a prospective study of inner-city ado-
lescents. Development and Psychopathology,5, 703717.
Luthar, S. S., Ebbert, A. M., & Kumar, N. L. (in press). The Well-Being Index
(WBI) for schools: A brief measure of adolescentsmental health.
Psychological Assessment.
Luthar, S. S., & Eisenberg, N. (2017). Resilient adaptation among at-risk chil-
dren: Harnessing science toward maximizing salutary environments. Child
Development,88, 337349.
Luthar, S. S., & Kumar, N. L. (2020). Supporting educators as they support chil-
dren: Whyand How-tofrom resilience research. Keynote web-based pre-
sentation, Southern Association of Independent Schools Summer
Conference, July1.
Luthar, S. S., Kumar, N. L., & Benoit, R. (2019a). Toward fostering resilience
on a large scale: Connecting communities of caregivers. Development and
Psychopathology,31, 18131825.
Luthar, S. S., Kumar, N. L., & Zillmer, N. (2019b). High achieving schools con-
note significant risks for adolescents: Problems documented, processes
implicated, and directions for interventions. American Psychologist.
Online first. doi:10.1037/amp0000556
Luthar, S. S., & Zelazo, L. B. (2003). Research on resilience: An integrative
review. In S. S. Luthar (Ed.), Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in
the context of childhood adversities (pp. 510549). New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Luthar, S. S., & Zigler, E. (1991). Vulnerability and competence: A review of research
on resilience in childhood. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,61,622.
Montgomery, D. C. (2013). Design and analysis of experiments (8th ed.).
New York: Wiley.
Morrison, N. (2020). Its not childrens education we should worry about, its
their mental health. https://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2020/05/
15/its-not-childrens-education-we-should-worry-about-its-their-mental-
health/#2c2937c11fcb
National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. (2019). Vibrant
and healthy kids: Aligning science, practice, and policy to advance health
equity. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/
10.17226/25466
National Institute on Drug Abuse (2019). Monitoring the future 2019 survey
results: Overall findings. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-
topics/trends-statistics/infographics/monitoring-future-2019-survey-results-
overall-findings
New York Times. (2020, July 11). Reopening schools will be a huge undertaking.
It must be done. [Editorial]. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/
07/10/opinion/coronavirus-schools-reopening.html?referringSource=article
Share
Nunnally, J. C., & Bernstein, I. H. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.).
New York: McGraw Hill.
Pallas, A. (2020). Quoted in This is hell: Parents and kids hate online learn-
ing, but they could face more of it. USA Today, retrieved from https://www.
usatoday.com/story/news/education/2020/06/29/back-to-school-reopen-online-
classes/3251324001/
Rutter, M. (1987). Psychosocial resilience and protective mechanisms.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,57, 316331.
Shaw, T., Dooley, J. J., Cross, D., Zubrick, S. R., & Waters, S. (2013). The forms
of bullying scale (FBS): Validity and reliability estimates for a measure of
bullying victimization and perpetration in adolescence. Psychological
Assessment,25, 10451057. doi:10.1037/a0032955
Uguen-Csenge, E. (2020) Mental illness will be next waveof COVID-19 pan-
demic, epidemiologist says. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/
british-columbia/eva-uguen-csenge-1.4874832
Viera, A. J., & Garrett, J. M. (2005). Understanding interobserver agreement:
The kappa statistic. Family Medicine,37, 360363.
Yoshikawa, H., Wuermli, A. J., Britto, P. R., Dreyer, B., Leckman, J. F., Lye, S.
J., Stein, A. (2020). Effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on early
childhood development: short- and long-term risks and mitigating program
and policy actions. The Journal of Pediatrics, 223, 188193. doi:10.1016/
j.jpeds.2020.05.020
Zigler, E. (1993). Communicating effectively before members of congress. In
K. McCartney & D. Phillips (Eds.), An insiders guide to providing expert tes-
timony before Congress (pp. 1115). Chicago: Society for Research in Child
Development.
Zigler, E. (1998). A place of value for applied and policy studies. Child
Development,69, 532542.
Zigler, E., Finn-Stevenson, M., & Linkins, K. (1992). Meeting the needs of chil-
dren and families with schools of the 21st century. Yale Law & Policy
Review,10, 6981. Retrieved June 12, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/
40239369
Zigler, E. F., & Glick, M. (1986). A developmental approach to adult psychopa-
thology. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Zigler, E. F., Lamb, M. E., & Child, I. L. (1982). Socialization and personality
development (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford.
Zigler, E., & Styfco, S. J. (1995). Head Start and beyond: A national plan
for extended childhood intervention. New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press.
Zigler, E., & Styfco, S. J. (1998). Applying the findings of developmental psychol-
ogy to improve early childhood intervention. In S. G. Paris, & H. M.
Wellman (Eds.), Global prospects for education: Development, culture, and
schooling (pp. 345365). Washington, DC: American Psychological
Association. doi:10.1037/10294-012
Zigler, E., Taussig, C., & Black, K. (1992). Early childhood intervention: A
promising preventative for juvenile delinquency. American Psychologist,
47, 9971006. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.47.8.997
Zimmerman, M., Ruggero, C. J., Chelminski, I., Young, D., Posternak, M. A.,
Friedman, M., Attiullah, N. (2006). Developing brief scales for use in
clinical practice: The reliability and validity of single-item self-report mea-
sures of depression symptom severity, psychosocial impairment due to
depression, and quality of life. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry,67, 1536
1541. doi:10.4088/jcp.v67n1007
16 S. S. Luthar et al.
9/232:6 1/:07253 513 .1/083163,/:07253,33:3
... Second, evidence suggests increased levels of anxiety and/or depression in adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic (De France et al., 2022;Magson et al., 2021;Racine et al., 2021), although findings are mixed. (For studies demonstrating lower levels of adolescent anxiety or depression during the pandemic, see Luthar et al., 2021aLuthar et al., , 2021b Greater anxiety and depression during the pandemic was associated with online learning difficulties (Magson et al., 2021), concerns about academic performance (Luthar et al., 2021a), and more dramatic lifestyle changes associated with the pandemic (De France et al., 2022). ...
... Second, evidence suggests increased levels of anxiety and/or depression in adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic (De France et al., 2022;Magson et al., 2021;Racine et al., 2021), although findings are mixed. (For studies demonstrating lower levels of adolescent anxiety or depression during the pandemic, see Luthar et al., 2021aLuthar et al., , 2021b Greater anxiety and depression during the pandemic was associated with online learning difficulties (Magson et al., 2021), concerns about academic performance (Luthar et al., 2021a), and more dramatic lifestyle changes associated with the pandemic (De France et al., 2022). ...
Article
Full-text available
Unlabelled: Students with language-based learning disabilities (LBLD) can face elevated socio-emotional well-being challenges in addition to literacy challenges. We examined the prevalence of risk and resilience factors among adolescents with LBLD (N = 93), ages 16-18, and the association with reading performance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected at the start and end of the first fully remote academic year of COVID-19 (2020-2021). Participants completed standardized word and text reading measures, as well as self-report surveys of executive functions (EF), and socio-emotional skills associated with resilience (grit, growth mindset, self-management, self-efficacy, and social awareness) or risk (anxiety, depression, COVID-19 related PTSD, and perceived COVID-19 impact). Survey data at the start of the school year (Time 1) captured three underlying factors associated with socioemotional risk, socioemotional resilience, and regulation (i.e., EF). Path analyses revealed that students' Time 2 oral reading scores were significantly and uniquely predicted by socioemotional resilience, even when controlling for word-level reading at Time 1. Socioemotional risk, EF, and perceived COVID-19 impact were not directly related to Time 2 oral reading scores; however, students' resilience mediated the associations between risk and reading outcomes. These results demonstrate that adolescents' mental health concerns, self-regulatory ability, and socioemotional resilience were all associated with their experiences of the COVID-19-related stress. However, despite the high-risk context of the pandemic, and socio-emotional challenges faced by students with LBLD, our findings indicate that resilience directly predicts end-of-year reading outcomes and mediates the impact of socioemotional risk on achievement. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11145-022-10361-8.
... They also direct attention to the importance of protecting the indirect pathways of adolescent resilience. Put differently, they are a reminder that protecting adolescent mental health will require protecting the health and wellbeing of their caregivers [91]. The SA study by Casale et al. [72] is a case in point: it showed a significant association between caregiver health, caregiver access to social support, and lower levels of adolescent conduct difficulties. ...
... There, are however, also similarities across countries. Informed by our findings, we suggest that in both majority and minority world contexts adolescent mental health resilience to family adversity can be facilitated by increasing caregiver access to social support [72,91]. In minority world contexts, though, such as CA, encouraging better peer relationships and closer contact with an adolescent's community, through initiatives such as mentoring programs or opportunities for a young person to contribute meaningfully through volunteer or paid activities, may be beneficial. ...
Article
Full-text available
There is substantial evidence that exposure to family adversity significantly and negatively impacts positive adolescent development by placing adolescents at increased risk of experiencing developmental difficulties, including conduct problems. Although the mechanisms responsible for these effects are still largely unknown, a novel line of inquiry in the resilience field conceptualizes positive adaptation, following exposure to atypical adversity, as resulting from complex interactions of systems at multiple ecological levels. The purpose of the present analysis was to apply this multisystemic resilience framework to the study of positive adaptation following exposure to family adversity in a sample of Canadian adolescents (n = 230; mean age 16.16, SD = 1.38) and South African adolescents (n = 421; mean age = 15.97, SD = 1.19) living in economically volatile communities dependent on the oil and gas industry. Cross-sectional survey data were used to investigate the mechanisms through which family adversity exercises its impact on adolescent conduct problems by accounting for their caregiving, peer, and community resources. Results of two moderated mediation analyses showed that family adversity impacts adolescent externalizing mental health negatively, via disrupted caregiving, when other resources are also considered. For the Canadian adolescents, these negative impacts were protectively moderated by peer support, but not moderated by appreciation for community traditions. In contrast, peer support showed no significant protective effect for the South African sample, while a strong appreciation for community traditions was positively and significantly associated with conduct difficulties. Contextual dynamics (e.g., social unrest) provide a plausible explanation for the discrepant results and bring attention to the importance of theorizing resilience in context.
... The results of this study indicate that work has an influence on family resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The influence of work greatly influences managing family resilience (42). During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were many layoffs, and this had an impact on the income in the family which drastically decreased, causing a resilience crisis (43)(44)(45). ...
Article
Introduction: Religious coping has a crucial role in overcoming difficult problems in the family. This study aimed to analyze the influence of religious coping on family resilience in communicating and solving problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The research design used was descriptive with a cross-sectional survey approach. A total of 242 respondents in East Java Province, Indonesia, were the respondents in this study.
... Dodatkowo rekomendują oni, że w ramach działań pomocowych wsparciem powinna być objęta cała rodzina, ponieważ stres odczuwany przez rodziców istotnie wpływa na samopoczucie młodzieży. Wsparcie ze strony rodziców jest natomiast znaczącym czynnikiem chroniącym (Luthar i in., 2021). Podobne spojrzenie prezentuje Dąbkowska i współpracownicy (2021). ...
Book
Full-text available
Publikacja powstała w oparciu o badania 4828 adolescentów z 557 szkół, stanowiących próbę reprezentatywną dla osób młodych w wieku 10-19 lat w Polsce. Odpowiada na pytanie o jakość życia adolescentów w czasie pandemii COVID-19 oraz jej uwarunkować. Fragment z recenzji: "Książka stanowi kompendium wiedzy o adolescentach, psychologicznych wskaźnikach ich jakości życia oraz mechanizmach adaptacyjnych uruchamianych w trudnej, długoterminowej i nieprzewidywalnej sytuacji, jaką była pandemia COVID-19. Uzyskane wyniki ukazują szczegółową wiedzę o tym, czym są i jaka jest struktura podmiotowych i społecznych zasobów młodej osoby oraz jakie deficyty w posiadanych zasobach ujawnili uczniowie polskich szkół w czasie pandemii (..). Bardzo cennym aspektem badania jest jego rozwojowe ujęcie. Autorzy uchwycili zróżnicowanie wyników w trzech fazach adolescencji, co ukazuje dynamikę zachodzących zmian oraz tendencje rozwojowe mechanizmów adaptacyjnych."
... Further, findings provide important insights regarding children that may be most at risk for difficulties when encountering major life disruptions and thus who may benefit most from prevention and intervention programs. Indeed, efforts to promote pathways of child resilience during sociohistorical stressors such as COVID-19 may need to adopt tailored approaches that account for both parent and child characteristics (Luthar et al., 2020). Finally, these findings could serve as justification for public policy to promote consistent access to high quality childcare for families with young children with additional resources and evidencedbased programs available for those most at risk for adverse reactions to stressful life events. ...
Article
Full-text available
A critical area of developmental science explores factors that confer risk or protection as young children and their families experience stressful circumstances related to sociohistorical events. This study contributes to this important area by assessing relations between family context and child adjustment as children transitioned from preschool to home learning during COVID-19, and whether children higher in stress levels, indexed by morning basal cortisol, were more strongly affected. Parents of 74 children (Mage = 53.56 months, SDage = 3.68 months) completed reports spanning the home learning transition; children’s pre-COVID-19 transition salivary cortisol levels were assessed. Path analyses were used to test the preregistered study aims. Significant interactions were decomposed using simple slopes and Preacher’s Regions of Significance (ROS) method. Across the COVID-19 transition to home-based school, children with higher morning basal cortisol experienced the sharpest increase in anger when exposed to harsh/inconsistent parenting contexts. Importantly, these effects held when controlling for household chaos, socioeconomic resources, and supportive parenting. Parallel models with supportive parenting were also tested and are discussed. This study is one of the first to test and provide support for biological sensitivity to context theory within the context of a natural experiment like COVID-19.
... Parents have a major role to build the family resilience at times of large scale public health crisis, especially during lockdown conditions when they suddenly became the only point of reference for their children. Child or adolescent resiliency is influenced by their parent's resiliency such as how well the parents take care of themselves and their family (64). Positive adapting among parents during the pandemic can produce a good adaptation in children (65). ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Rapidly emerging evidence indicates a deterioration of mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The strict measures of lockdown have resulted in millions of people, worldwide, confined to their homes presenting with a broad range of negative emotions. Anger has emerged as a forceful and challenging emotion to experience and manage. Individual resilience and family support modify the response of a person in adverse circumstances by reducing the aggression in individuals and preventing anger derailing into aggressive behaviour. Aim: To investigate the relationship between anger, aggression , resilience and family support in a general and health-care population sample during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: An online cross-sectional study was conducted during the Greek lockdown (April 2020). 378 participants (247 healthcare workers and 131 individuals from the general population) completed the following self-report mental health Measures: The Dimensions of Anger Reactions-5 (DAR-5), the Brief Aggression Questionnaire (BAQ), the Brief Resilience Scale (BRS) and the Family Support Scale (FSS). Individual and demographic data were recorded. Results: The study included 68 men and 310 women (mean age 41.37±9.83). The mean total score on the BAQ was 23.22 ± 6.7, on the BRS 21.35±4.97, on the DAR-5 9.75±3.43 and on the FSS 49.74±8.65. Male participants evidenced higher scores on BAQ, FSS and BRS scales compared with females (24.45±5.4 versus 22.95±6.94, p<0.05, 51.72±6.6 versus 49.32±8.9, p<0.01, 22.39±4.8 versus 21.11±4.9, p<0.05). Healthcare workers displayed higher scores on the DAR-5 scale (10.1±3.33 versus 9.08±3.5, p<0.01) compared with participants from the general population. Female health-care workers scored higher on the DAR-5 scale (10.3±3.5 versus 9.42±2.52, p<0.05) compared with their male counterparts. Research Article Also, healthcare staff working in COVID departments exhibited higher scores on the DAR-5 scale (10.96±3.04 versus 9.83±3.38, p<0.05) compared with staff from non-COVID departments. 28.57% of participants scored above cutoff on the DAR-5 scale. Positive correlations were evidenced between BRS and FSS scores (p<0.001) and negative between BRS and BAQ scores (p<0.001). Scores on DAR-5 correlated positively with BAQ scores (p<0.001) and negatively with FSS (p<0.001) and BRS scores (p<0.001). BRS scores correlated positively with age (p<0.05). The regression models revealed that 'scores on DAR-5', 'scores on BRS' and 'scores on FSS' were all significant predictors of 'scores on BAQ', each explaining 13.7%, 5.6% and 1.4% of the variance. To answer the research questions we investigated the role of resilience and family support performing a serial mediation analysis using PROCESS. The outcome variable for the analysis was BAQ. The predictor variable for the analysis was DAR-5. The mediator variables for the analysis were BRS and FSS. The total indirect effect of BRS and FSS on BAQ was found to be statistically significant [(B=0.18, 95% C.I. (0.0984, 0.2891)]. Conclusion: Resilience and family support, as mediators, appear to intervene and mitigate the maladaptive anger and aggression and should be taken into account in anger management interventions.
Book
Full-text available
Fragmenty recenzji wydawniczych: "Książka jest skierowanym do nauczycieli, psychologów i pedagogów szkolnych oraz rodziców. Autorki, Joanna Chwaszcz i Małgorzata Łysiak, opierając się na wynikach ogólnopolskich badań, przeprowadzonych na próbie reprezentatywnej 4828 adolescentów z 557 szkół na terenie całej Polski, wskazują konkretne czynniki chroniące, które powinny być wzmacniane w celu poprawy jakości życia młodzieży (...). Przystępny język powoduje, że książka ta, może być znakomitym źródłem wiedzy nie tylko dla specjalistów, np. osób realizujących działania profilaktyczne, nauczycieli oraz pedagogów i psychologów szkolnych, ale też jest to doskonały materiał, który zainteresuje wszystkich rodziców, którzy chcą uzupełnić swoją wiedzę i wzmocnić swoje relacje z dzieckiem. Książka została napisana na podstawie badań przeprowadzonych na dużej grupie młodzieży w całej Polsce pod koniec pandemii, co czynni ją niezmiernie aktualną i potrzebną. Nie mam wątpliwości, że jest to cenna lektura dla osób zainteresowanych funkcjonowaniem młodzieży i polepszaniem jej jakości życia." "Autorki szczegółowo i obszernie opisują podstawy naukowe oraz strategie i zadania profilaktyczne. Tym samym zwracają uwagę, że działania profilaktyczne nie są oddziaływaniami przypadkowymi, ale profesjonalnymi, prowadzonymi według zasad i strategii mających swoje uzasadnienie w nauce. Wymagają od realizatorów wiedzy i uważności w planowaniu i wykonywaniu zadań z tego zakresu, a także właściwego doboru oddziaływań do potrzeb danej grupy osób lub osoby. Autorki wskazują na dwa zasadnicze kierunki profilaktyki: wzmacnianie czynników chroniących i minimalizowanie czynników ryzyka. Podkreślają, że aby rzetelnie i trafnie realizować zadania profilaktyczne należy posiadać o nich wiedzę. Poprzez swoją konstrukcję podręcznik jest bez wątpienia źródłem takiej wiedzy."
Article
Little is known about how the COVID-19 pandemic relates to child and parent functioning in a rural population. The present study investigated how disability status and parent factors related to resilience in a rural population before and after the shift to remote instruction. Parents of elementary-aged children in a rural area of the U.S. completed an online questionnaire, rating their own functioning and their child's academic, cognitive, and socioemotional functioning (1) retrospectively thinking back to a month before the pandemic, and (2) at the time of the survey, approximately four months after the onset of pandemic changes. Parents of children with disabilities perceived stronger child resilience through the pandemic transition than parents of children without disabilities. Additionally, parents who better maintained their work-life balance and support through the pandemic transition reported stronger resilience in their children. These results highlight the importance of supporting all children and parents during difficult transitions (e.g., providing additional resources so that parents can maintain similar levels of balance and support through the transition), including those students who have experienced less adversity pre-transition.
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-Depression, Anxiety, Rule-Breaking, and Substance Use-and an optional scale on Isolation at School. A total of 2,444 students from 2 high schools completed the WBI, the Youth Self-Report (YSR), and other related measures. Alpha coefficients showed acceptable internal consistency, with values for the 5 WBI subscales at .83, .84, .78, .79, and .74, respectively. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses demonstrated consistent factorial validity. Correlations with corresponding YSR subscales indicated good convergent and discriminant validity. The WBI Substance Use and Isolation at School subscales, similarly, had high correlations with subscales from preexisting measures. Criterion-related validity was indicated in significant correlations between WBI subscales and conceptually related dimensions of close relationships. Also examined was the percentage of youth falling above clinical cutoffs on both the WBI and YSR, and findings demonstrated high concurrent validity. Collectively, results suggest the promise of the WBI as a brief, psychometrically sound measure to assess the adjustment of adolescents, along with perceptions of school climate that can be modified toward fostering their overall well-being. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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 preliminary results on a short-term intervention for mothers, the Authentic Connections Virtual Groups. A previous randomized trial of the in-person version of this program, conducted with mothers at high risk for stress and burnout, showed significant benefits. There had been zero dropouts across the 3-month program, and participants showed significant improvements on psychological indices as well as cortisol, even 3 months after the program ended. In the present study, virtual groups were conducted with five sets of women, all white-collar professionals with highly stressful, exacting careers, and most also primary caregivers of their children. Again, there were zero dropouts. Mean satisfaction ratings were 9.6 of 10, and the Net Promoter Score (promoters vs. detractors) fell in the “world class” range. To illuminate mechanisms of change, participants’ responses to open-ended questions on the groups’ value are presented verbatim. Recurrently mentioned were the development of new, authentic connections and invaluable ongoing support. These results, with the low costs and ease of women's attendance, attest to the value of expanding offerings such as these, toward benefiting even more highly stressed mothers themselves as well as the children for whose care they are responsible.
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 of maltreatment while promoting positive parenting, and strengthening emotional self-regulation of caregivers and children. In future work, there must be more attention to developing and testing interventions within real-world settings (not just in laboratories) and to ensuring feasibility in procedures, costs, and assessments involved. Such movement will require shifts in funding priorities—currently focused largely on biological processes—toward maximizing the benefits from large-scale, empirically supported intervention programs for today's at-risk youth and families.
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 reflected Ed's value that no cause is greater than that of improving the lives of children and their families who are vulnerable because of life circumstances. For more than half a century, Ed was a tireless and devoted champion for children with intellectual disability, children born into poverty, children from minority backgrounds, adults with psychopathology, and many other marginalized groups. Ed's academic legacy is enshrined by his more than 800 scholarly articles, 43 books and monographs, the numerous social and educational programs that have positively impacted millions of children and families in the United States and around the world, and his generations of students who have contributed to the well-being of children and families in many different ways. This extensive and varied tapestry of accomplishments reflects Ed's world view that success in advocacy, public policy, and social programming is dependent on meticulous science, and that science is only meaningful when it enhances the lives of others. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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 were to test the feasibility and acceptability of the AC Groups intervention with nurse leader mothers and examine its effects on participant resilience, as measured by increased self-compassion and decreased distress, depression, perceived stress, and burnout. Methods: A randomized controlled trial design was employed for this pilot study, with 36 nurse leaders at Mayo Clinic. AC participants attended group sessions for an hour per week for 12 weeks. Control group members were provided 1 hr per week of free time over 12 weeks. Multiple self-report psychological measures were completed at baseline, post-intervention, and 3-month follow-up. Results: The AC Groups intervention was feasible and well-received by nurse leaders. Session attendance rates averaged 92%. Despite the small n's, repeated measures of Analysis of Variance showed significantly greater improvements (p < .05) for participants in the AC Groups than control condition for depression, self-compassion, and perceived stress, with large effect sizes ( η p 2 0.18-0.22). In addition, effect sizes for anxiety and feeling loved approximated the moderate range ( η p 2 0.05 and .07). Linking evidence to action: The AC intervention shows promise as a feasible intervention for mitigating nurse leader mothers' stress by positively impacting indices of well-being, including depression, self-compassion, and perceived stress. Given, the prevalence of stress and burnout among nurse leaders, the effectiveness of the AC intervention in fostering resilience in this population has significant implications for research and practice. Further research is warranted with larger numbers from multiple sites, longer follow-up periods, and biomarker measures of stress.
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 evidence from other research using diverse designs. Grounded in theories on resilience and ecological influences in development, a conceptual model is presented here on major risk and protective processes implicated in unrelenting achievement pressures facing HAS youth. These include forces at the macrolevel, including economic and technological changes that have led to the "middle class squeeze," and proximal influences involving the family, peers, schools, and communities. Also considered are potential directions for future interventions, with precautions about some practices that are currently widespread in HAS contexts. In the years ahead, any meaningful reductions in the high distress of HAS youth will require collaborations among all stakeholders, with parents and educators targeting the specific areas that must be prioritized in their own communities. Leaders in higher education and social policy could also help in beginning to curtail this problem, which is truly becoming an epidemic among today's youth. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).