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Dr. Schonert-Reichl

Dr. Schonert-Reichl





Kim's Biography

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl is an Applied Developmental Psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia. She began her professional career first as a middle school teacher and then as a high school teacher for youth “at risk.” For over 20 years she has been conducting research in the area of the child and adolescent social and emotional learning (SEL) and development with a particular emphasis on identifying the processes and mechanisms that foster positive development, such as empathy, optimism, and altruism.

Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s current research includes examining the effectiveness of programs designed to promote students’ social and emotional development in schools, including a multi-site evaluation of the Roots of Empathy program, an investigation examining the efficacy of a preschool social and emotional competence promotion program, and an examination of the effects of the MindUp program -- a mindfulness-based program aimed at fostering children’s and positive development in schools.

In 2007, Dr. Schonert-Reichl, in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland, conducted a large-scale study examining the social and psychological worlds of children ages 9 to 12 both in and out of school in 8 school districts in the Lower Mainland. She has over 100 papers presented at scholarly national and international conferences, as well as over 50 publications in scholarly journals, books, and reports. In the past few years, she has also given over 100 presentations on the topic of children’s social and emotional development and social emotional learning to lay audiences, including parents, community organizations, educators, and policy makers. She has appeared on local radio and television programs, including CBC’s Early Edition with Rick Cluff, the Bill Good Show on CKNW, and Breakfast Television on City TV. 

Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research also has been highlighted in several magazines and newspapers across Canada, the US, and beyond, including Canadian Living Magazine, Reader’s Digest-Canada, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, The Georgia Strait, 24 Hours, The National Post, Today’s Parent Magazine, Westcoast Families, BC Parent, The Greater Good Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Schonert-Reichl is active with several national and international advisory boards, including the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning’s (CASEL) Research Advisory Group. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is an award winning teacher and has been internationally recognized for her collaborative work that translates research into practice. She is the recipient of the 2007 UBC Killam Teaching Prize in recognition of excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching and the 2004 Vancouver School Board Recognition Award for her work to promote social responsibility in students.

In 2009 the Confederation of University Faculty Association (CUFA-BC) awarded Dr. Schonert-Reichl with their highest Distinguished Academic Award – the Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award. In 2006, Kim served on the organizing committee for the visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the Vancouver Dialogues, and chaired a dialogue between the Dalai Lama and leading educators, researchers, and policy makers on the themes of cultivating compassion and educating the heart.

Research Interests

My research examines the social, emotional, and moral development of children and adolescents with an emphasis on identifying the processes and mechanisms that promote positive development.

Within this framework, my research interests can be divided into three main areas:

(1) the development of positive human traits, including the development of empathy, emotion awareness, emotional regulation, and prosocial behaviours;
(2) risk and resiliency, including the identification of protective factors, such as attachment relationships with parents and significant non-related adults; and
(3) the influence of contexts on development, with a particular focus on the role of schools and other educational contexts in promoting positive social and emotional well-being, including the development of positive characteristics such as happiness, optimism, empathy, social responsibility, and altruism.

Educational History

1989 -1991 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Postdoctoral Fellow,
Clinical Research Training Program in Adolescence
University of Chicago, Northwestern University Medical School

1989 Ph.D., Educational Psychology
Focus Area: Applied Development Psychology
University of Iowa

1985 MA, Educational Psychology
University of Chicago

1980 B.S., Major: Elementary Education; Minors: French, Reading Education
Illinois State University


2009 Confederation of University Faculty Associations, BC
Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award

2007 Killam Teaching Award, University of British Columbia

2004 Vancouver School Board Recognition Award,
(Recognition of outstanding service in promoting students’ social responsibility)

1989 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Postdoctoral Fellowship

1988 Phi Delta Kappa Education Honor Society, University of Iowa

1978 Study Abroad, University of Grenoble, Grenoble, France

Scholarly Publications

Recent Articles

Catherine, N. L. A., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (in press). Age and sex differences in children’s understanding of infant distress: Relations to empathy and perspective-taking during middle childhood. British Journal of Developmental Psychology.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Stewart Lawlor, M. (2010). The effects of a mindfulness-based education program on pre- and early adolescents’ well-being and social and emotional competence. Mindfulness.

Oberle, E., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Thomson, K. (2010). Understanding the link between social and emotional well-being and peer relations in early adolescence: Gender-specific predictors of peer acceptance. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Gaderman, A. M., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Zumbo, B. D. (2010). Investigating validity evidence of the Satisfaction with Life Scale adapted for children. Social Indicators Research, 96, 229-247.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Stewart Lawlor, M., Oberle, E., & Thomson, K. C. (2009). Identifying indicators and tools for measuring social and emotional healthy living: Children ages 5 to 12 Years. Report for the Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. (Available in pdf)

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & LeRose, M. (2008). Resiliency in children and adolescents: Recent research findings and implications for policy and practice in Canada. Working paper, The Learning Partnership’s Resiliency in Canadian Children Project.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2008). Evaluating resiliency initiatives for children and youth: Current issues, lingering questions, and future directions. Working Paper, The Learning Partnerships’ Resiliency in Canadian Children Project. (Available in pdf)

Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2007). Middle childhood inside and out: The psychological and social world of children ages 9 to 12. Burnaby, BC: United Way of the Lower Mainland. (Available in pdf)

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Hymel, S. (2007). Educating the heart as well as the mind: Why social and emotional learning is critical for students’ school and life success. Education Canada, 47, 20-25.

Hymel, S., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Miller, L. D. (2007). Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmetic and relationships: Considering the social side of education. Exceptionality Education Canada, 16, 149-191.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Buote, D., & Jaramillo, A. (2006). What Do Kids Do When They Are Not in School? The experiences of children in Canada during out of school time: Summary of findings from focus groups with children and parents. Report prepared for the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Buote, D., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A.  (2006). The “Staying in School, Staying on Track” program for adolescents with FASD: A process evaluation of the transition to work component. Report prepared for the Vancouver School Board and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

Beaudoin, K., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2006). Epistemic reasoning and adolescent egocentrism in adolescence: Relations to internalizing and externalizing problems in antisocial youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 999-1014.

Laye, A.,& Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2005). Nonsuicidal self-harm in a community sample of adolescents. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34, 447-457.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2003). Adolescent help-seeking behaviors. Prevention
Researcher, 10, 1-5.

Binnendyk, L., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2002). Harry Potter and moral development in preadolescent children. Journal of Moral Education, 31, 195-201.

Sullivan, K., Marshall, S. K., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2002). Do expectancies influence choice of help-giver? Adolescents' criteria for selecting an informal helper. Journal of Adolescent Research, 17, 509-531.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A.  (2000). Children and youth at risk: Some conceptual considerations.  Refereed paper prepared for the Pan-Canadian Education Research Agenda Symposium, Ottawa, Ontario, Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC). (Available in pdf)


Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Roeser, R. (Eds.). (in preparation). Mindfulness in education for children, adolescents, early adults, and teachers: Emerging theory, research, and programs. Springer Press.

Chapters in Edited Books

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Utne O’Brien, M. (forthcoming). Social and emotional learning (SEL) and prosocial education: Theoretical perspectives and current approaches. In P. Brown & M. Elias (Eds.), The case for prosocial education: Developing caring, capable citizens.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Oberle, E. (forthcoming). Can empathy be taught or cultivated? In B. Weber, E. Marsal, & T. Dobashi (Eds.), “The politics of Empathy:” New Interdisciplinary Perspectives on an Ancient Phenomenon. Berlin, Germany: Lit Verlag.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (forthcoming). Promoting empathy to prevent school
violence: Current approaches and practices. To appear in K. Nader (Ed.),       School rampage shootings and other youth disturbances: Early preventive interventions. NY, NY:Routledge.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (forthcoming). Accelerating the development of empathy, optimism, and altruism in children and adolescents: Recent research findings and guidelines for educators and parents. Conference Proceedings, II Emotional Intelligence Conference, Marcelino Botin Foundation.

Hymel, S., Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Bonanno, R. A., Vallaincourt, T., & Rocke Henderson, N. (2010). Bullying  and morality: Understanding how good kids can behave badly. In S. R. Jimerson, S. M. Swearer, & D. L. Espelage (Eds.), The International Handbook of School Bullying. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A., & Scott, F. (2009). Effectiveness of “The Roots of Empathy” program in promoting children’s emotional and social competence:  A summary of research findings. In M. Gordon, The Roots of Empathy: Changing the world child by child (pp. 239-252). Toronto, Ontario: Thomas Allen Publishers. (Available in pdf)

Pedersen, C. E., & Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2007). Developmental psychology. In W. A. Darity (Ed.), Sciences. International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd Edition.

Schonert-Reichl, K. A. (2005). Effectiveness of the Roots of Empathy program in promoting children’s social and emotional competence. In M. Gordon, The Roots of Empathy: Changing the world child by child (pp. 239-252). Toronto, Ontario: Thomas Allen Publishers.