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Understanding and Addressing the Impact of Adversity on Mothers and Infants Living in a Low-Income Context
Liliana J. Lengua, PhD

Children growing up in a low-income context often demonstrate social, emotional, behavioral and academic problems that are rooted in early childhood experiences of adversity. In this presentation, I will share our recent findings of the impact of income-related adversity on infants’ biological systems of self-regulation through its effects on parental mental health and parenting. I will also discuss findings from a study evaluating the effects of mindfulness-based prevention interventions on perinatal maternal and infant well-being and our next steps in implementing and evaluating mindfulness-based prevention interventions in community settings.

Liliana J. Lengua, PhD, Maritz Family Professor of Psychology, University of Washington, Director of the Center for Child and Family Well-being, is a child clinical psychologist studying the effects of stress and adversity on children, examining risk and protective factors that contribute to children’s resilience or vulnerability. She examines children’s neurobiological stress responses, temperament, coping, parenting and family contexts as risk and protective factors that account for the effects of adversity on children’s social-emotional well-being and psychopathology.  She has been an investigator on several federally-funded projects examining the development of executive function (NICHD), the effects of low income, neighborhood, family, and parenting  on neurobiological systems of self-regulation, and their effects on preschool and preadolescent children’s social, emotional and academic development (NICHD, NIMH), neighborhood, family and peer effects on adolescent substance use (NIDA), and childhood risk factors for the emergence of adult mental health problems (NIDA). Dr. Lengua is the author of over 150 published papers and two upcoming books on temperament. She serves on the steering committees for the CDC funded Washington State Essentials for Childhood Initiative and Early Childhood Courts initiative.


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