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UCLA CDA 2023 Year-end Review

December 5, 2023
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As it was for so many, 2023 was a busy year at UCLA Center for the Developing Adolescent.

To share the science of adolescent development, we produced reports, videos, and podcast episodes. We’ve spoken to dozens of policymakers and youth-serving professionals at our own events and at other convenings. We launched a quarterly roundup of interesting research about adolescence, and we talked with reporters as they delved into issues affecting youth.

Following are some highlights from the year.

Reports and Guides

NSCA Council Report #3: Cultivating Purpose in Adolescence, a new report on how adults can help youth develop a sense of purpose, and why that’s critical to adolescent wellbeing

Youth Engagement in Evaluation: A Guide for Youth-serving Organizations, a guide to help organizations partner with young people to evaluate and improve their programs, policies, and services

Leveraging the Developmental Science of Adolescence to Promote Youth Engagement in Research and Evaluation: A Guide for Funders, a guide to help funders evaluate the developmental appropriateness of youth-engaged research and evaluation strategies


2023 Adolescent Brain Development Symposium–Adolescent Brain Development & Public Policy, a convening of researchers, practitioners, and funders on how the science of adolescent brain development can impact public policies to better support the needs of young people, with discussions on these topics:


Learn About the UCLA Center for the Developing Adolescent, a new animated video describing what we do at UCLA CDA

The Stages of Adolescent Brain Development, a presentation by our Co-executive Director Adriana Galván for the Annie E. Casey Foundation explaining how our brain develops during our ado­les­cent years and why a bet­ter under­stand­ing of these changes might improve pro­grams and ser­vices for you


Youth Engagement Matters: How to Create Meaningful, Effective Youth Engagement Programs Based On Insights from Developmental Science, an online panel discussion on how funders and youth-serving organizations can invest in and build youth-engagement programs that help young people and those who work with them succeed

Cultivating Purpose in Adolescence: A Panel Discussion on How Adults Can Support Youth to Thrive, the authors of the NSCA report Cultivating Purpose in Adolescence discuss how programs and policies could help support all young people to discover their direction and how they want to contribute to the world

Adaptivity: The Science of Adolescence
Podcast Episodes

Our Youth’s Perspective, a three-episode miniseries of Adaptivity: The Science of Adolescence podcast in which Youth Scientific Council on Adolescence (YSCA) members Mahisa Mannan, Michael Nguyen, and Tomi Dugbo talk with NSCA scientists about:

Social Adaptivity: Developing Relationship Skills in a Rapidly Changing World, host Ron Dahl talks with professors Yalda Uhls, Thao Ha, and Gustavo Carlo about how emotionally charged relationships during adolescence can support learning and positive development

How Facing Big Feelings Can Help Build Mental Health, host Ron Dahl talks with psychologist and bestselling author Lisa Damour as well as Zach Gottlieb and Makayla Dawkins about how strong emotions during adolescence–good and bad–can be opportunities for youth to build positive coping strategies that can help them thrive as adults

Media Coverage

Adolescents, Sleep, & Mental Health, our Co-Executive Directors, Adriana Galván and Andrew Fuligni, spoke with PBS NewsHour‘s William Brangham about why sleep is so important to youth mental health

Want to Understand Your Adolescent? Get to Know Their Brain, Adriana Galván and other researchers spoke with NPR science correspondent Jon Hamilton about why the adolescent brain is “a marvel”

Research Roundup

​March 2023 Research Roundup, featuring studies on exploration, school and neighborhood environments, and prosocial behavior

June 2023 Research Roundup, featuring studies on the interactions between adolescent brain development and environments, social connections, and sense of identity

September 2023 Research Roundup, featuring studies on the importance of support for positive identity development, the role of family and peers in mental health and emotion regulation, and the impacts of educational settings

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