What the Many Pandemics Tell Us about Youth Risk and Resilience Around the World

A recurring theme across studies of the COVID-19 pandemic as an ecological threat impacting adolescent development is diversity. Diversity characterizes experiences of the pandemic, in the contexts within which the pandemic occurred, in populations most affected, and in the mechanisms that underlie risk impact and resilience. Understanding diversity within adolescent development is a key hallmark of modern developmental science and requires a global perspective to capture the range of levers that characterize shape pathways through adolescence and early adolescent. In this symposium, we consider ways of conceptualizing the COVID-19 pandemic as an ecological threat within a diversity lens. Two teams engaged in international research will share their findings about how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted various aspects of adolescent development – informing models of risk and resilience. We also consider the translational value of this work in terms of informing policy and practice at both a global and local level. Finally, we map out a path forward that highlights the critical role of global perspectives for understanding the diversity that underlies “shared experience” to build more effective ways to promote youth resilience around the world.

Velma McBride Murry, PhD, Moderator/Speaker

Vanderbilt University 
[email protected]

About: Dr. Velma McBride Murry holds the Lois Autrey Betts Endowed Chair, serves as Co-Director of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Program for Health Equity Research,  and is a University Distinguished Professor in Departments of Health Policy [Vanderbilt School of Medicine] and Human and Organizational Development [Peabody College]. She is Past President of the Society for Research on Adolescence and current President of The International Consortium of Developmental Science Societies. McBride Murry is one of the 100 elected members to the 2020 Class of the National Academic of Medicine.  She was recently appointed to the National Institutes of Health National Advisory Mental Health Research Council. Her research examines the significance of context to everyday life experiences of African American families and youth, focusing on processes through which racism, and other social structural stressors, cascade through families to influence parenting and family functioning, developmental outcomes, and adjustment among youth, during critical developmental periods from middle childhood through young adulthood.

Andrea Hussong, PhD, Speaker

About: Andrea Hussong, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a licensed clinical psychologist, and a developmental scientist. She previously served as the director of the Center for Developmental Science and of an NICHD-funded graduate and postdoctoral training program in Developmental Science and now facilitates the international ICDSS COVID Scholars Network. Her research has long focused on developmental pathways to substance use and disorder, particularly for children of drug-involved parents, and on collaborations advancing innovative methods for longitudinal data analysis and integrative data analysis. Her current research encompasses positive youth development and recovery and resilience, particularly the socializing gratitude and the impact of COVID on youth, as well as on creating empirically-based intervention tools and programs.  She has received multiple NIH and foundation grants and authored over 100 publications in the field of child development and addictions.

Suman Verma, PhD, Speaker

About: Suman Verma, Ph.D. is a Developmental Psychologist and former head of the Department of Human Development & Family Relations, Panjab University, India. Her research is in the areas of behavior settings of street/working children, daily ecology of adolescent family life, school stress, adolescent abuse, intervention studies using life skills education approaches, positive youth development and social policy. She was a two-time fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, where she developed her cross-cultural project “Pathways of Risk and Protection among Street Youth in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Africa.” As a member of a cross-cultural group, she conducted a study on Learning under Conditions of COVID-19 among Indian Adolescents in 2020. 

As an active member of various professional organizations her interests are in (i) promoting greater visibility for the Asian region in professional societies; (ii) capacity building and mentoring initiatives for professional growth of young scholars in the Asia, Africa and Latin American region; and (iii) facilitating regional collaborations and creating opportunities for resource sharing. She is an ISSBD Fellow, and currently is a member of International Consortium of Developmental Science Societies (ICDSS) COVID-19 Global Scholar Network, member of the editorial board of Zeitschrift für Psychologie, IJBD and Psychological Science, member of the International Panel on Social Progress, and one of the lead authors of a chapter in their report “Rethinking societies for the 21st century.” Her book on Developmental Science and Sustainable Development Goals for Children and Youth with Anne Petersen (2018) addresses developmental issues related to inequity, gender, health, education, social protection, climate change, and needs of vulnerable populations of young people with a special focus on low-and middle-income countries. She is a steering committee member of the initiative on Developmental Scientists for Climate Action (DevSCA). She is a guest editor, along with A.C. Petersen and J.E. Lansford, of the 2019 (2) issue of Zeitschrift für Psychologie on Sustainable Human Development: Challenges and Solutions for Implementing the United Nations’ Goals. Currently she is an associate editor of the International Journal of Behavioral Development (IJBD) and one of the guest editors of a special issue on COVID-19 of Journal of Research in Adolescence (JRA).

Charissa S. L. Cheah, PhD, Speaker

About: Charissa S. L. Cheah, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Asian Studies Faculty Affiliate at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Dr. Cheah is the President of the Society for Research on Adolescence. As a cultural developmental scientist, she utilizes mixed-method approaches to explore how individual characteristics, relationships, socialization agents, and contexts interact to influence social-emotional, mental, and physical health. Dr. Cheah is particularly interested in understanding these processes among families of Asian heritage and/or Muslim religious backgrounds, considering their ethnic-racial/religious minoritized, immigrant, and marginalized intersecting statuses across different countries.