Suniya S. Luthar is Foundation Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University (2014-2019) and is Professor Emerita, Columbia University's Teachers College. After receiving her doctorate (with Distinction) from Yale University in 1990, she served on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and the Child Study Center at Yale. Between 1997 and 2013, she was professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, where she also served as senior advisor to the provost (2011-2013).
In addition to numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, Professor Luthar has published several books including "Resilience and vulnerability in childhood and Poverty and children’s adjustment." She has served as associate editor of Developmental Psychology and Development and Psychopathology, as chair of a grant review study section at the National Institutes of Health, member of the Governing Council of the Society for Research on Child Development, and of the American Psychological Association's Committee on Socioeconomic Status, and its Council of Representatives. She has been recognized as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) and has received a Dissertation Award and the Boyd McCandless Young Scientist Award, both from the American Psychological Association, a Research Scientist Development (K) Award from the National Institutes of Health, and an American Mensa Education and Research Foundation Award for Excellence in Research on Intelligence.
- Ph.D. Developmental/Clinical Psychology (Distinction), Yale University 1990
- M.S. Child Development, Delhi University, India 1980
- B.S. (Honors) Delhi University, India 1978
Conducted within a developmental psychopathology framework, research by our group revolves around the construct of resilience and positive youth development (Luthar, Cicchetti, & Becker, 2000; Luthar, Crossman & Small, 2015; Luthar & Eisenberg, 2017). Core questions of interest are: What are the processes that help some children do well in spite of diverse stressors in their lives? Across various spheres of development -psychological, emotional, interpersonal, and academic- how can children maximize their potentials and achieve competent, productive trajectories over time?
Currently, we are focused on two major programs of research. The first involves students in high-achieving schools: Extreme achievement pressure has been now been ranked the #4 risk factor for adolescent well-being placing our lab's work at the forefront of a major new direction for research, prevention, and policy. The second area of our work encompasses evidence-based groups to foster resilience among mothers (and women generally) in high-stress settings, via an empirically validated group intervention, Authentic Connections Groups.
Recent media coverage includes (for more, please see SuniyaLuthar.org:
New York Times, Oct.11, 2017. Why are more American teenagers…suffering from severe anxiety?
KJZZ, Oct 6, 2017. Authentic Connections program expected to head to ASU.
NPR, Sept. 28, 2017. Mommy mentors help fight the stigma of postpartum mood disorder.
The State Press, Sept. 22, 2017. ASU students facing anxiety or depression.. may underutilize resources.
US News & World Reports, Sept. 12. Is growing up with money a risk factor for …addiction?
American Psychological Association, Sept. 2017. Maximizing children's resilience.
Vice.com-Tonic, Aug 16, 2017. Twice as many teen girls are killing themselves & we don’t know why.
PBS Arizona (video), Aug 9, 2017. Celebrity suicides.
Fox10 News (video), July 30, 2017. Psychologist weighs in on how and why Chester Bennington took his own life.
ASUNow, July 27, 2017. ASU psychology professor sheds light on rockers’ twin suicides.
KTAR News, July 26, 2017. ASU study says wealthy teens more likely to be addicted.
Harvard Kennedy School, July 24, 2017. Rich teens, drug abuse and the importance of involved parents.
BYU Radio, Top of Mind (audio), July 19, 2017. Kids in high-achieving schools: Addiction down the road?
(for more, please see cv at https://webapp4.asu.edu/directory/person/2222239#cv_anchor)
Ebbert, A., Infurna, F. J., & Luthar, S.S. (In press). Mapping developmental changes in perceived parent-adolescent relationship quality throughout middle school and high school. Development and Psychopathology.
Curlee, A. S., Aiken, L. S., & Luthar, S. S. (2018). Middle school peer reputation in high-achieving schools: Ramifications for maladjustment versus competence by age 18. Development and Psychopathology.https://doi-org.ezproxy1.lib.asu.edu/10.1017/S0954579418000275
Infurna, F. J. & Luthar, S. S. (2018). Re-evaluating the notion that resilience is commonplace: A review and distillation of directions for future research, practice, and policy. Clinical Psychology Review.DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2018.07.003.
Luthar, S. S., Small, P.J., Ciciolla, L. (2018). Adolescents from upper middle class communities: Substance misuse and addiction across early adulthood. Development and Psychopathology, 30, 311-335. doi.org/10.1017/S0954579417000645.
Luthar, S.S., & Kumar, N.L. (2018). Youth in high-achieving schools: Challenges to mental health and directions for evidence-based interventions. In A. W. Leschied, D. H. Saklofske, and G. L. Flett, Handbook of School-Based Mental Health Promotion: An Evidence-Informed Framework (pp. 441-458). New York: Springer.
Luthar, S. S. (2018). Mothering mothers. In R.A. Settersten Jr. & Megan M. McClelland (Eds.), The Study of Human Development: The Future of the Field. New York: Routledge.
Luthar, S. S. (2017). Doing for the greater good: What price, in academe? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 1153-1158. DOI10.1177/1745691617727863.
Luthar, S. S., Small, P.J., Ciciolla, L. (2017). Adolescents from upper middle class communities: Substance misuse and addiction across early adulthood. Development and Psychopathology. First view: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579417000645
Ciciolla, L., Curlee, A., & Luthar, S. S. (2017). What women want: Employment preference and adjustment among mothers. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. Online first: DOI 10.1007/s10834-017-9534-7.
Infurna, F. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2017). Parent’s adjustment following the death of their child: Resilience is multidimensional and differs across outcomes examined. Journal of Personality, 68, 38-53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2017.04.004
Infurna, F.J. & Luthar, S. S. (2017). The multidimensional nature of resilience to spousal loss. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 112, 926-947. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspp0000095
Luthar, S.S., Curlee, A., Tye, S.J., Engelman, J.C., &. Stonnington, C. M. (2017). Fostering resilience among mothers under stress: “Authentic Connections Groups” for medical professionals. Women’s Health Issues. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2017.02.007
Luthar, S.S., & Eisenberg, N. (2017). Resilient adaptation among at-risk children: Harnessing science toward maximizing salutary environments. Child Development, 88, 337–349. doi:10.1111/cdev.1273m
Recent publications: Blogs
Luthar, S. S. (2018). Many teens drink. Rich ones like Kavanaugh are more likely to abuse alcohol. Washington Post, September 28.
Luthar, S. S. (2018). Middle-school 'popularity' can backfire over time: Peer popularity presages high substance use at age 18. Psychology Today, September 7.
Luthar, S. S. (2018). Reducing over-the-top pressure on our children: Exemplary actions from one high-achieving community. Psychology Today, June 26.
Luthar, S. S. (2017). What's needed from Professors: Modeling eminence in scholarship along with commitment to doing for others. Psychology Today, December 12.
Luthar, S. S. (2017). When being a stay-at-home mom is not really a “choice”: The need for reliable, high quality child care. Psychology Today, October 23.
Luthar, S.S. (2017). Our kids are not all right: High-achieving schools and risks for addiction. Psychology Today, June 13.
Luthar, S. S. (2017). Mothering mothers: “Authentic Connections” fostered in the workplace. Psychology Today, May 13.
Luthar, S. S., & Ciciolla, L. (2016). Why mothers of tweens – not babies – are the most depressed. Aeon Opinions, April 4.
Public Work (for more, see here):
Dr. Luthar regularly shares findings of her work to stakeholders (parents, school administrators and policy makers) either through in-person presentations or interviews with journalists. Examples include the following:
- PBS, Arizona Pubic Media (video), Oct 1, 2018. Connecting mothers.
- New York Times, Sept. 27, 2018. ‘Risky Business’ and Brett Kavanaugh, 35 Years Later
- NPR Morning Edition, June 11, 2018. The perils of pushing kids too hard.
- PBS Catalyst: Shaping the future (video), May 16, 2018. Helping mothers through friendship.
- PBS Cronkite News, April 16, 2018 (video). Why some women under stress struggle to find a mental balance
- New York Times, Oct.11, 2017. Why are more American teenagers…suffering from severe anxiety?
- NPR, Sept. 28, 2017. Mommy mentors help fight the stigma of postpartum mood disorder.
- Huffington Post, July 7, 2015. Is it possible to raise happy kids in affluence?
- NPR, Dec 29, 2016. Being mom to a middle schooler can be the toughest gig. (2nd, "Best of NPR").
- Times of India, Dec 1, 2016. Why you should stop pressuring kids over grades.
- Bloomberg Businessweek. Nov. 21. Affluenza Anonymous: Rehab for the young, rich, and addicted.
- The New York Times, Sept. 26, 2016. When a spouse dies, resilience can be uneven.
- KJZZ Public Radio (podcast), Sept. 20, 2016. Why our resilience may rely more on relationships...
- CNN, Jan 8, 2015. Believe it or not, there are challenges to growing up wealthy,
- Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, April 9, 2015 (Open Session video). Fragility in affluent families and implications for parenting research and practice.
- National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: Fragility in Affluent Families
- American Psychological Association Podcast: Mental Price of Affluence
- The Atlantic, Dec 2015: Suicide clusters in Palo Alto
- Science News, Oct 2015: Who mothers mommy?
- New York Times, Jan 2015: Risks for affluent teens
Principal Investigator: “Authentic Connections”: Fostering resilience among mothers in their community and work settings. Three-month manualized support groups for at-risk mothers. Grant from the Rodel Foundation; dates: 09/22/2015 – 09/21/2018; costs: $100,000.
Principal Investigator: “Fostering resilience: An intervention for women physicians at risk for burnout”. Piloting a three-month manualized intervention for physicians at the Mayo Clinic. 01/01/2015- 09/01/2016; costs: $100,000.
Principal Investigator: “Maximizing resilience among ASU undergraduates”. Arizona State University Provost’s Grant. Dates: 09/12/2104 – 09/11/2017; costs: $103,711.
Training core faculty, Research training in drug abuse-HIV prevention: Closing the research-practice gap. HHS-NIH-NIDA T32 Training Grant; dates: 7/1/2015 - 6/30/2020. Costs: $1,654,491.
Principal Investigator: “Substance Abuse Among Suburban Youth: A Prospective Study”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA014385-06); dates: 06/16/2008 – 01/31/2014; costs: $1,959,684.
Principal Investigator: Family Research Consortium – V. National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, OBSSR; (R13 MH082592-01); Dates: May 01, 2008 – April 30, 2011; Costs $2,111,090
Principal Investigator: “Substance Abuse Among Suburban Youth: A Prospective Study”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA014385-01); dates: 02/01/2003 – 01/31/2008; costs: $1,262,126.
Principal Investigator: “Maternal Drug Abuse, Psychopathology, and Child Adaptation”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (2 R01 DA010726-12); dates: 09/30/2007 – 05/31/2012; costs: $2,785,648.
Principal Investigator: “Maternal Drug Abuse, Psychopathology, and Child Adaptation”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (RO1DA10726–07); dates: 04/01/2002 – 03/01/2007; costs: $1,933, 415.
Principal Investigator: “Vulnerability and competence among suburban youth: A seven wave longitudinal study”. William T. Grant Foundation; dates: 06/01/2001 – 05/31/2007; costs: $502,845.
Principal Investigator: “Relational Parenting Groups for DCF-involved mothers”. Department of Children and Families, State of Connecticut; dates: 01/03/2000 – 06/31/2000; costs: $11,000.
Principal Investigator: "Risk and resilience among suburban adolescents: A three-year longitudinal study". William T. Grant Foundation; dates: 04/01/1999 – 03/31/2001; costs: $53,705.
Co-Principal Investigator: “Aggression in school-age children”. Co-Investigators: Marla Brassard, Terry Orr, Charles Basch, Teachers College, Columbia University. Spencer Foundation; dates: 08/01/1999 – 07/31/2001; costs: $300,000.
Co-investigator: “Drug-Dependent Fathers: A Developmental Perspective” P.I.: Thomas McMahon, Yale University. National Institute on Drug Abuse (RO1–DA11988); dates: 07/01/1998 – 06/30/2000; costs: $136,787.
Principal Investigator: “Relational Parenting Therapy for Opioid Abusing Mothers”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (RO1–DA11498); dates: 01/01/1998 – 11/30/2002; costs: $2,226,520.
Principal Investigator: “Maternal drug use, psychopathology, and child adaptation”. National Institute on Drug Abuse (RO1–DA10726); dates: 09/30/1996 – 09/29/2001; costs: $1,513,080.
Principal Investigator: “Risk and resilience among adolescents”. William T. Grant Foundation; dates: 07/01/1996 – 06/30/1997; costs: $5,000.
Faculty Award: Salary support from the Smith Richardson Foundation, Westport, CT, to supplement NIDA Research Scientist Development Award; dates: 08/01/1996 – 07/31/1997; costs: $19,019.
Principal Investigator: “Psychosocial profiles associated with adolescent substance use: A school-based, needs-assessment study”. Component grant within the "Psychotherapy Development for Cocaine and Opioid Abuse" Center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Center PI: Bruce Rounsaville, M.D. (P50–DA09241); dates: 09/01/1995 – 08/01/1997; costs: $11,800.
Principal Investigator: "Relational Psychotherapy Parenting for addicted mothers". Component grant within the "Psychotherapy Development for Cocaine and Opioid Abuse" Center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Center PI: Bruce Rounsaville, M.D. (P50–DA09241); dates: 09/01/1994 – 08/31/1997; costs: $401, 628.
Co-Investigator: "Parenting stress in opioid dependent women and the developmental competence of their children: A study of treatment needs". Component grant within the "Psychotherapy Development for Cocaine and Opioid Abuse" Center funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse; PI: Bruce Rounsaville, M.D. (P50–DA09241); dates: 09/01/1994 – 08/01/1996; costs: $11,862.
Research Scientist Development Award (K21) from National Institute on Drug Abuse (K21–DA00202); dates: 08/01/1993 – 07/31/1998; costs: $574,066.
Principal Investigator on grant from the Social Science Research Council, New York, for research on resilience among underprivileged adolescents. Funded by the Rockefeller Foundation; dates: 09/1990 – 12/1991; costs: $6,850.