Cathryn Booth-LaForce

Professor, UW School of Nursing

Dr. Booth-LaForce is a Professor in the UW School of Nursing. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Psychology and an Affiliate of the Center on Human Development and Disability. She is an international expert on the social-emotional development of children, primarily from the perspective of attachment theory. Her areas of expertise include caregiver-child relationships, parenting, peer relationships, and friendships, as well as early preventive intervention programs for children and families at risk. In longitudinal projects spanning infancy to late adolescence, she investigates early experiences in various contexts to examine their current and ongoing impact on development and adaptive (or maladaptive) outcomes. Dr. Booth-LaForce was one of the principal investigators of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, a groundbreaking 10-site longitudinal study of over 1300 families nationwide. She and her colleagues used an ecological model to examine the effects of various aspects of child care, the home environment, school, and the out-of-school environment on children’s development from birth through age 15 years. Her follow-up study of the sample at age 18 focusing on social-emotional outcomes and adult attachment yielded the largest longitudinal dataset to date on attachment security from infancy to late adolescence, and provided an unprecedented opportunity for her and her colleagues to test developmental models of importance to the field. Current research includes testing evidence-based early intervention programs in Native American communities. She has served as Principal Investigator on 12 National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants and as a Co-Investigator on 12 others, and she is above the 95th percentile nationally for 25-year cumulative NIH funding. She has received a variety of national awards for her work and was the Charles & Gerda Spence Endowed Professor of Nursing from 2006-16. Her current work includes national primary research mentorship of postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, including Native investigators.