About Us

The Family Resilience Lab at Wayne State University is devoted to improved science and practice on behalf of young children and their families.

Many families experience stress and trauma. The research literature is pretty clear on this point: adverse experiences predict negative outcomes for children. In particular, when parents and important adults experience trauma, and when children themselves are traumatized, young children demonstrate lags in multiple areas of development. At the Family Resilience Lab, we are particularly interested in children's social emotional development because early development in this area begins the long-term trajectories of mental health and mental wellness.

The Family Resilience Lab research team asks the question: when risk is present, what family processes buffer the impact of stress on early social emotional development? We are learning the ways that parents can teach their children to cope, develop healthy emotion regulation, and build long-term strategies for resilience.

Our research and outreach are consistent with the urban mission of Wayne State University. We emphasize a community-based participatory research model and partner with community organizations to develop and implement scientific innovations. Undergraduate, post-bachelor's, and graduate students achieve competency in multiple areas of this scholarly model.

The Family Resilience Lab is part of the department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at Wayne State University. 

Living, working, and serving in Detroit, Michigan requires us to acknowledge that our education resides upon the Native land and water of the Peoria, Anishinabewaki, Potawatomi, and Miami Peoples. This land acknowledgement is one small act in the ongoing process of working to be in good relationships with the land the people of the land and, ultimately, toward decolonization.

What is resilience?

Dr. Ann Masten described resilience as "ordinary magic." Resilience is a characteristic or a skill that helps an individual or a group grow, achieve, and persevere despite adversity and risk. All families can capture their own magic. At the Family Resilience Lab, we work with children and their families to understand the many ways families thrive despite stress. We seek to make our findings translatable and share what we learn with others.