avatar for Ann Masten

Ann Masten

I study competence, risk, and resilience in development, with a focus on the processes leading to positive adaptation and outcomes in young people whose lives are threatened by adversity. This work aims to build a better science for promoting positive adaptation and preventing problems in human development.

I direct the Project Competence Studies of Risk and Resilience, including the Project Competence Longitudinal Study, which has followed a sample of community children and their families for more than 20 years. Our recent research in Minnesota has focused on school success in homeless and other disadvantaged mobile children, in collaboration with partners from the community and university. This program of research includes basic and translational projects aimed at learning what makes a difference for resilience and how to strategically target and time interventions or policies to promote success in disadvantaged children. We have analyzed large-scale administrative data sets and also conducted intensive studies of families residing in emergency shelters for homeless families. Our work is multi-level and multi-disciplinary.

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

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