james mazza

James Mazza

Professor of Education

Research Areas

Adolescent Mental Health

Social-Emotional Learning

Adolescent Suicidal Behavior

Scholar Snapshot

Professor Mazza’s research interests focus broadly on adolescent mental health issues, particularly internalizing disorders such as depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, exposure to violence and especially suicidal behavior. Guided by the need to better understand the complex relationships of how mental health issues impact adolescent social emotional abilities and academic skills, this work involves investigating a multitiered systems of support (MTSS) that emphasizes the provision of school-based mental health services and social-emotional learning programs to all students as part of their education.

Over the past decade, Professor Mazza and his colleagues have developed and tested an innovative social-emotional learning curriculum designed to help students in grades 6-12 learn adaptive coping strategies and decision-making abilities. A practical manual for teaching the curriculum, “DBT Skills in Schools: Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents,” was co-authored by Professor Mazza and pilot projects using it are taking place across the United States and internationally. He has also expanded this work to universities/college campuses and developed an undergraduate course, “Wellness and Resilience for College and Beyond,” at the UW.

Professor Mazza is a past president of the American Association of Suicidology and his publications include “An examination of the validity of retrospective measures of suicide attempts in youth” and “Identifying trajectories of adolescents’ depressive phenomena: An examination of early risk factors” in the Journal of Adolescent Health, “Suicide prevention programs in the schools: A review and public health perspective” in School Psychology Review, and “After-school activities, misbehavior in school, and delinquency from the end of elementary school through the beginning of high school: A test of social development hypotheses” in the Journal of Early Adolescence.

In Depth

Watch Professor Mazza’s EduTalk on his work developing a social-emotional curriculum to support student success.