Background on Applied Developmental Science

Applied Developmental Science, also called "ADS", focuses on the real world or practical application of what we know about human development in order to better people's lives. ADS researchers develop and evaluate interventions and also examine the impact of existing policy and services on individuals, families, and communities. 

ADS research is conducted in a spirit of collaboration with community members and actively seeks to promote respectful and sustainable university-community collaborations. ADS scholars often work across subfields within psychology as well as across disciplinary boundaries. 

Intervention and implementation science, which are interdisciplinary fields in themselves, are often fused with ADS research. For example, intervention science has many goals, but two goals that are closely aligned with ADS are the prevention of problem behaviors as well as the promotion of health, well-being, and optimal psychological functioning. 

Work conducted in this research program offers examples of the fusion of applied developmental science and intervention/implementation science. Another area of scholarship evident in this ADS program is inquiry into how culture relates to human development. 

Doctoral student collaborators affiliated with the ADS Program and supervised by Drs. Ferrer-Wreder or Eninger (in alphabetical order)

  • Ingela Clausén Gull
  • Marie-Louise Klingstedt
  • Sarah Thomas 

Research Projects

ADS researchers are involved in several different studies and initiatives, such as the Family Pilot Study, KUPOL, the Positive Youth Development Cross-National Project, and the Swedish PATHS project. The Swedish PATHS project is described in more detail here as an illustration of studies led by and/or conducted in collaboration with ADS researchers.

The preschool edition of Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies®: A Swedish Effectiveness Trial

The PATHS study in Sweden deals with the question of how culture relates to intervention effectiveness. This research is being conducted in collaboration with Swedish municipalities and preschools, and is conducted in collaboration with research team members affiliated with Special Pedagogy, Psychology, or Social Work departments across different Swedish universities, as well as international collaborators.

Funding for this project and subprojects that have emanated from the intervention trial are from the first combined research grant call by FORTE, FORMAS, the Swedish Research Council, and VINNOVA on child and adolescent mental health, as well as funding from the Groschinsky Foundation (in Swedish, Stiftelsen Clas Groschinskys Minnesfond) and Stockholm University’s Social Science CKVO Committee (in Swedish, Centrum för kompetensutveckling inom vård och omsorg). 

What is PATHS®about? 

Social emotional competence is instrumental to child and adolescent mental health. In early childhood, social emotional competence can include prosocial friendship skills, emotional knowledge and skill, social cognitive problem solving, as well as executive function related goals like self-control (Bierman et al., 2008). The goal of the Swedish PATHS project is to test the effects of the preschool edition of Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies - PATHS® intervention with Swedish children. PATHS®is an evidence-based American developed intervention to promote social and emotional competence in preschool children. The aim of the project is to protect preschool aged children's mental health by promoting social emotional competencies, factors which have been shown to reduce school maladjustment and mental health problems later in childhood. Other research questions examined in this project focus on teacher innovation, implementation science, and better understanding the ecology of preschools and local communities, as well as testing the utility and further developing intervention cultural adaptation protocols.

PATHS Bergen Talk April 2018 (15646 Kb) : Presentation slides that concern the PATHS project in Sweden and its implications for advancing intervention science.

Forthcoming publications related to the Swedish PATHS project

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Eninger, L., Olsson, T. M., Sedem, M., & Allodi Westling, M. The cultural adaptation of interventions to promote positive development: The preschool edition of PATHS®in Sweden. In R. Dimitrova & N. Wiium (Eds)., Handbook of positive youth development in a global context. Research, policy and practice applications. New York, Springer. Status: Submitted under review.

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Eninger, L., Ginner Hau, H., Olsson, T. M., Sedem, M., Thomas, S., & Allodi Westling, M. (in press). Childcare, culture, and child development: A Swedish perspective. L. A. Jensen (Ed.)., The Oxford Handbook of Moral Development: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

A 2018 Presentation Concerning Children’s Social Emotional Competence and the PATHS project in Sweden

Click here to see a video of a presentation in Swedish entitled Verktyg för känslomässiga kompetenser given by Lilianne Eninger, Hanna Ginner Hau and Mina Sedem at the 2018 Special Pedagogy Day at Stockholm University.  Slides, Specialpedagogikens dag, 2018-03-14 (2785 Kb)

Other Recent Presentations Concerning the PATHS project in Sweden

Eninger, L., Ferrer-Wreder, L., Eichas, K., Allodi Westling, M., Smedler, A-C., Olsson, T. M., Sedem, M., Ginner Hau, H., Herkner, B., Domitrovich, C. E. (2017). Culture and young children’s social emotional competence: Findings and implications for the cultural adaptation of interventions. Symposium at the Society for Research on Child Development, Austin Texas, USA on April 8, 2017.

Eninger, L., Ferrer-Wreder, L., Allodi Westling, M., Smedler, A-C., Ginner Hau, H., Olsson, T. M.,  Herkner, B., Sedem, M., & Domitrovich, C. (2015, July 1). Teacher Innovation and implementation in an ongoing Swedish effectiveness trial of preschool PATHS. Invited symposium presented at the International PATHS® Learning Conference (a pre-conference of the European Network for Social and Emotional Competence), Lisbon, Portugal.

Publications concerning the Swedish PATHS project and/or Advances in Intervention Science

Olsson, T. M., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Eninger, L. (2014). Advancing school-based interventions through economic analysis. New Directions for Youth Development, 141, 117-123. DOI: 10.1002/yd.20091

Sundell, K., Ferrer-Wreder, L., & Fraser, M. (2014). Going global: A model for evaluating empirically supported family-based interventions in new contexts. Evaluation & the Health Professions, 37(2), 203-230. DOI: 10.1177/0163278712469813

Ferrer-Wreder, L. (2013). Advancing child and adolescent well-being through positive youth development and prevention programs. In Ben-Arieh, A., Frones, I., Casas, F., & Korbin, J.E. (Eds.), The Handbook of Child Well-Being (pp. 2035-3041). New York: Springer. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9063-8_164

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Adamson, L., Kumpfer, K. L., & Eichas, K. (2012). Advancing intervention science through effectiveness research: A global perspective. Child and Youth Care Forum, 41(2), 109-117. DOI: 10.1007/s10566-012-9173-y

Ferrer-Wreder, L., Sundell, K., & Mansoory, S. (2012). Tinkering with perfection: Theory development in the intervention cultural adaptation field. Child and Youth Care Forum, 41(2), 149-171. DOI: 10.1007/s10566-011-9162-6

For other ADS related research examples see Drs. Ferrer-Wreder's and Eninger's personal home pages.