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Welcome to the COAST Lab website. We study how everyday life factors such as school, family, and peer relationships influence levels of stress, health, and well-being in children and adolescents. We try to trace the pathways by which stress “gets under the skin” to contribute to poor health and affect behavioral, academic, and emotional development.

By using noninvasive methods such as measurement of the stress-sensitive hormone cortisol, we study how adolescents react to stress, as well as explore how their daily experiences, stress hormone regulation, and sleep habits influence their everyday functioning as well as their health and well-being as they become adults.


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We are led by Dr. Emma Adam. A developmental psychologist, Dr. Adam has been with Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy since 2000. Dr. Adam has a PhD in Child Psychology and a MA degree in Public Policy. Dr. Adam is a member of the American Psychological Association, the Society for Research in Child Development, the Society for the Study of Human Development, the Society of Research on Adolescence, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology. In addition to conducting multiple research projects supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Adam is the recipient of a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (2003–04), a five-year William T. Grant Scholars Award (2004–09), and the Curt Richter Award from the International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology in 2013 for her research.