Ann Masten

Picture of Ann Masten
Regents Professor
Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development

I study risk and resilience in development with a focus on the processes leading to positive adaptation and outcomes in children and families whose lives are threatened by adversity. The goal of my work is inform science, practice, and policy seeking to understand and promote human adaptation and resilience.

I direct the Project Competence Research on Risk and Resilience (PCR3), including studies of normative populations and high-risk young people exposed to homelessness, poverty, war, natural disasters, and migration. Our work is collaborative with community and faculty partners, as well as multi-level and multi-disciplinary.

Our recent research in Minnesota has focused on school success in homeless and other disadvantaged mobile children, with a focus on malleable protective processes, including parenting, self-regulation skills, and housing. Our work includes basic and translational studies aimed at understanding resilience processes and strategies to promote success in disadvantaged children and families. We have analyzed large-scale administrative data sets and also conducted intensive studies of families currently experiencing homelessness. In collaboration with colleagues Andy Barnes, Daniel Berry, Stephanie Carlson, Philip Zelazo, and other partners, we have studied self-regulation, parenting, and sleep as strategic targets for assessment and preventive interventions.

I also co-direct a Grand Challenge project, the Homework Starts with Home Research Partnership, in collaboration with university faculty, students, and centers, working with State partners from Minnesota Housing and the Minnesota Department of Education, and community programs aiming to end student homelessness. We integrate statewide administrative data to provide evidence to guide policy and practice.

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. I collaborate with Professor Frosso Motti-Stefanidi on the Athena Studies of Resilient Adaptation (AStRA), currently focused on acculturation and development in immigrant youth in Greece.

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, pandemics, terrorism and war, and also for building resilience capacity in children, families, and societies around the world.