The Stress and Development Lab

The Stress and Development Lab examines how experiences of stress and adversity impact children’s development. Stressful life events are a universal experience for children, adults, and families. The studies we conduct aim to understand which types of stressors are most likely to influence emotional, cognitive, social, and brain development and what kinds of supports might protect children from the effects of toxic stress. To do so, we use a number of tools such as behavioral measures, cognitive tests, assessments of social and emotional functioning, and brain imaging (MRI) to shed light on the relationship between stressful life experiences and different aspects of children’s development.

We are hopeful that understanding the ways that these experiences influence children’s brain and behavioral development will ultimately provide better strategies for fostering healthy outcomes and preventing the onset of health problems in children who have experienced stress and disadvantage. We are also developing clinical and educational interventions aimed at reducing the impact of stressful life experiences on children’s health and development.

The Stress and Development Lab is run by Katie McLaughlin, Ph.D., a faculty member in Child Clinical Psychology at the University of Washington. To learn more about our ongoing studies and opportunities for participation, please click the link to ‘Participate’ above. To learn about joining the lab to assist with our research, please click the link to “Get Involved.”