J. Douglas Coatsworth
Professor of Human Development and Professor-in-Charge, Graduate Program
314 Health & Human Development East
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16803
My research focuses broadly on aspects of risk and resilience and the development of competence in adolescence and emerging adulthood. I am particularly interested in how family-focused interventions promote competence and well-being and prevent problem behavior during these age periods. My current research falls into three general areas.
First, I work on developing and evaluating family-focused interventions. Currently, I am collaborating with Mark Greenberg and a former graduate student, Larissa Duncan, to test an adapted version of the Strengthening Families program. Our adaptation integrates new activities for parents that draw on the concept of “mindfulness.” Mindfulness interventions frequently draw from eastern meditation and contemplative practices and have been used effectively to treat depression, substance abuse, and a variety of stress-related physical and psychological conditions. Our efforts apply mindfulness principles and interventions within a preventive intervention to teach parents how to deal more effectively with daily stressful situations, especially in their relationships with their adolescents. A pilot test of the intervention produced promising effects and we plan to test the intervention in a larger trial.
A second line of research investigates the relations of youth activity participation and identity development. Drawing on a discovery approach to identity development, we are studying how the various extracurricular and instrumental activities in which adolescents and youth participate provide feelings of personal expressiveness, flow, and goal-directed behavior. We are trying to understand how families and communities promote activity involvement for their youth and the extent to which parents actively facilitate and support their youths’ identity exploration through activities.
A third line of my research studies the extent to which athletics can be used as a context for positive youth development. In collaboration with Dr. David Conroy in Kinesiology, we are testing a brief coach-training workshop as a means for enhancing the sport context and promoting youth social development. So far, we have conducted two brief trials to test whether training coaches does enhance youth sport experiences and the mechanisms of those effects.
A.B., 1983, Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard College, Cambridge MA
Ph.D., 1991, Clinical Psychology/Child Development University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Post-doctoral, 1991-1994, Prevention Science, Arizona State University Training, Tempe, AZ
2008: President's Award for Engagement with Students
2006: Health and Human Development Excellence in Teaching Award.
2005: Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University.
2003: Outstanding Research Publication Award from the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for the article: Coatsworth, J. D., Pantin, H., & Szapocznik, J. (2002). Familias Unidas: A family-centered ecodevelopmental intervention to reduce risk for conduct problems and substance use among Hispanic adolescents. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 5, 113-132.
2001: Early Career Preventionist Award from the Society for Prevention Research
July 2012- Present, Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
9/2011 - Present, Professor-in-Charge, HDFS Graduate Program
9/2006 - 9/2011, Professor-in-Charge, HDFS Undergraduate Program.
July 2006 - June 2012, Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies
August 2000 - June 2006, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies and Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
May 1994 - July 2000, Research Assistant Professor, Co-Director of the Prevention Research Branch, Center for Family Studies, University of Miami School of Medicine
June 1991 - April 1994, Post Doctoral Fellow, Preventive Intervention Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.
Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L. G., Greenberg, M. T., & Nix, R. L. (2010) Changing parents’ mindfulness, child management skills, and relationship quality with their youth: Results from a randomized pilot intervention trial. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19, 203-217. DOI: 10.1007/s10826-009-9304-8.
Coatsworth, J. D., & Conroy, D. (2009). The effects of autonomy-supportive coaching, need satisfaction and self-perceptions on initiative and identity in youth swimmers. Developmental Psychology, 45, 320-328.
Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., & Greenberg, M. T. (2009) A model of mindful parenting: Implications for parent-child relationships and prevention research. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 12, 255-270.
Coatsworth, J. D., & Conroy, D. E. (2007). Youth sport as a component of afterschool programs. New Directions for Youth Development, 115, 57-74.
Conroy, D. E., & Coatsworth, J. D. (2007). Assessing autonomy-supportive coaching strategies in youth sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 8, 671-684.
Coatsworth, J. D., Palen, L. A., Sharp, E. H., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (2006). Self-defining activities, expressive identity, and adolescent wellness. Applied Developmental Science, 10, 157-170.
Coatsworth, J. D., Duncan, L., Pantin, H., & Szapocznik, J. (2006). Classifying retention patterns in a preventive intervention for ethnic minority families: The quality of group process. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 27, 367-389.
Masten, A. S., Burt, K., & Coatsworth, J. D. (2006). Competence and Psychopathology. In D. Cicchetti & D. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology, Vol 3, Risk, disorder and psychopathology (2nd ed.) (pp. 696-738). New York: Wiley.
Masten, A. S. & Coatsworth, J. D. (1998) The development of competence in favorable and unfavorable environments: Lessons from research on successful children. American Psychologist, 53, 205-220.
Pantin, H., Coatsworth, J. D., Feaster, D.J., Newman, F. L., Briones, E., Prado, G., & Szapocznik, J. (2003). Familias Unidas: The efficacy of an intervention to increase parental investment in Hispanic immigrant families. Prevention Science, 4, 189- 201.
- Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development
- Domains of Health and Behavior
- Contexts and Social Institutions