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Karen Bluth

PhD

Assistant Professor

Fellow, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

Location:

UNC Hospitals – Chapel Hill

Education and Training:

B.S., Zoology, Duke University
M.S., Environmental Education, Southern Connecticut State University
Ph.D., Child and Family Studies, University of Tennessee

Summary Statement:

Dr. Bluth studies the relationship between the constructs of mindfulness and self-compassion and mental health in adolescents. Mindfulness is defined as paying attention purposefully and without judgment, and has been linked with positive mental health in both adults and adolescents. Related to mindfulness, self-compassion is described as being open and touched by one’s own suffering, not avoiding or disconnecting from it, and then taking an active role to alleviate one’s own pain. Self-compassion has also been associated with positive mental health and wellbeing in adult and adolescent populations. Her program of research focuses on developing and rigorously testing behavioral interventions that provide adolescents with coping skills to navigate what can be a challenging developmental period. In particular, Dr. Bluth’s research has shown that mindfulness and self-compassion interventions can be effective in empowering teens to take responsibility for their own mental health, thereby decreasing stress, anxiety and depression, promoting resilience, and reducing the likelihood of developing maladaptive behavioral trajectories. She has created a universal intervention to be implemented for adolescents in community settings, and has trained 130 instructors to implement this program internationally. In addition, she has recently developed an adaptation of that intervention to be implemented in the classroom, and is presently piloting that intervention. Dr. Bluth is also in the process of developing adaptations for subpopulations of adolescents, such as those with gender dysphoria and those who struggle with eating disorders. Her future research will focus on assessing the feasibility/acceptability of these interventions and eventually assessing program efficacy.

Karen Bluth