College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

Kayla Nelson

  • Pronouns: she, her, hers

  • Doctoral Student

  • Institute of Child Development
    Carmen D. and James R. Campbell Hall
    51 East River Parkway
    Minneapolis, MN 55455

Kayla Nelson

Areas of interest

Adolescents and youth; Families and parenting; Prevention/intervention; Resilience


Masters of Arts (MA) in Developmental Psychology, 2022, University of Minnesota
Bachelors of Science (BS) in Psychology, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, 2018


Kayla is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science track at the Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota. Before attending UMN, she received her B.S. in Psychology from the U and worked as a research coordinator for Dr. Ann Masten at the Institute of Child Development. She currently works primarily with Dr. Sylia Wilson and her current research examines the emergence and development of psychopathology across adolescence. In particular, she is interested in pathways which promote the health and well-being of teens and their families as well as the development of comorbid psychopathology during this period.

Developmental psychopathology and clinical science community/clinical work

Kayla's clinical work broadly centers around promoting health and well-being for children and adolescents as well as their families. She conducts diagnostic assessments with teens and their families and psychotherapy for children and adolescents experiencing a wide range of challenges including depression, anxiety, and self-injurious behaviors. In addition to individual psychotherapy, Kayla also works with parents of adolescents engaging in self-injury to promote positive attachment relationships and parental support of their teens.


Padrutt, E. R., Harper, J., Schaefer, J. D., Nelson, K. M., McGue, M., Iacono, W. G., & Wilson, S. (2023). Pubertal timing and adolescent outcomes: Investigating explanations for associations with a genetically informed design. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 64(8), 1232-1241.

Schaefer, J. D., Nelson, K. M., & Wilson, S. (2023). The effects of adolescent cannabis use on psychosocial functioning: A critical review of the evidence. Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics, 32(1), 43-55.

Tyrell, F. A., Lucke, C. M., Nelson, K. M., & Masten, A. S. (2023). Parent's ethnic-racial socialization practices in families with young children experiencing homelessness. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 62, 76-88.

Masten, A. S., Nelson, K. M., & Gillespie, S. (2022). Resilience and student engagement: Promoting and protective processes in schools. In A. L. Reschly & S. L. Christenson (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Student Engagement (pp. 239-255).

Distefano, R., Nelson, K. M., & Masten, A. S. (2022). A qualitative analysis of autonomy-supportive parenting in families experiencing homelessness. Journal of Family Relations,, 71(1), 147-162.

Masten, A. S., Lucke, C. M., Nelson, K. M., & Stallworthy, I. C. (2021). Resilience in development and psychopathology: Multisystem perspectives. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 17, 521-549.

Tyrell, F. A., Lucke, C. M., Nelson, K. M., & Masten, A. S. (2020, May). Predictors of Parent’s Ethnic-Racial Socialization Practices in Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness. Poster presented virtually at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Sullivan, M. M., Fiat, A. E., Merrick, J. S., Labella, M. H., Nelson, K. M., Masten, A. S. (2019, May). Validity of the Life Challenges Scale: A Single-Item Measure of Lifetime Adversity. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research. San Francisco, CA.

Nelson, K. M., Narayan, A. J., Masten, A. S. (2019, March). Unpacking the Associations of Family Adversity and Child Internalizing Symptoms in Homeless Families. Poster presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development. Baltimore, MD.