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Fri, Feb 19


Online Event

The Role of Sense of Belonging in Health and Well-being Amongst Foster Youth

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The Role of Sense of Belonging in Health and Well-being Amongst Foster Youth
The Role of Sense of Belonging in Health and Well-being Amongst Foster Youth

Time & Location

Feb 19, 2021, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Online Event

About the Event

Megan Lipsett, MA, MS

Training Description

Stigmatization of foster and system-involved youth can give rise to belonging uncertainty, where persistent negative stereotypes and under-representation lead them to wonder if they belong. In this training, we will explore the important role of establishing meaningful social relationships in health behaviors and psychological well-being among foster and system-involved youth. Belonging uncertainty, and the related experiences of social isolation and loneliness, are linked with multiple health conditions, mortality, and mental health outcomes. These significant public health issues are often overlooked despite mortality risk comparable to or exceeding well-established risk factors like cigarette smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity. Further, many of the health disparities today involve experiences of perceived social threat, taking a toll on our health and well-being. Providing reassurance to stigmatized individuals that they belong can improve health and academic performance (Walton & Cohen, 2007) - but how do we promote a sense of belonging? Together, we will explore how to respond to increased social isolation (stemming from the COVID-19-related quarantine mandates) and belonging uncertainty (stemming from social focus on racial inequity). Social belonging interventions can support foster and system-involved youth to view challenges they experience during periods of difficulty as normal and improvable so they remain socially and academically engaged. Participants will implement strategies such as adapting growth mindset, developing descriptive norms through providing peer narratives, and tools for youth to manage social anxiety. We will also examine prevention strategies for related public health impacts (e.g. higher health care utilization, academic achievement, long-term health outcomes, income, and employment).

Learning Objective

  • Understand the psychophysiological mechanisms driving the links between social connection and health.
  • Identify best practices for implementing insights from social belonging theory.
  • Review theories of growth mindset, social cognition, and social capital.
  • Review stress physiology and health outcomes related to social belonging.
  • Identify active ingredients of social belonging interventions.
  • Illustrate practical tools to improve sense of belonging among foster and systems-involved youth.
  • Learn tools to support youth in managing belonging uncertainty and social anxiety.
  • Explore the evidence-base for social belonging interventions.
  • Understand the long-term impacts of belonging uncertainty.


1:00pm - 1:45pm Introduction: The health and well-being impacts of social connection and belonging for foster and systems-involved youth - Theory, research, prevalence, mechanisms, and health disparities.

1:45pm - 2:30pm Social Belonging Interventions - What they are, how they work, and what we can learn from them.

2:30pm - 2:45pm BREAK (CEUs will not be issued for this time)

2:45pm - 3:30pm Discussion: Barriers and Opportunities to Facilitating Social Connection and Belonging during Pandemic and Social Uprising

3:30pm - 4:00pm Activity: Practical Tools for Managing Social Anxiety and Belonging Uncertainty

Meet Our Trainer

Megan Lipsett is a doctoral candidate in Social Health Psychology, conducting research in the Social Affective Neuroscience Lab. Megan also holds an MA in Integrative Health Studies from CIIS and is an assistant Professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and the founder of COPIA Health. As a practitioner, Megan has worked with clients who have experienced complex trauma and uses a mindfulness-based approach to supporting resilience. As a research psychologist, she examines how our perceptions impact physiology (such as inflammatory biomarkers and cortisol), social connection, and long-term health behaviors underlying noncommunicable diseases. With an interest in factors that promote resilience to adversity, she focuses on translational work that informs how research on health mindsets can inform behavioral interventions and public policy. She has done program development and facilitation for diverse organizations, including integrative medicine centers, transitional women's homes, social worker training centers, environmental awareness groups, benefit corporations, and health and wellness centers.

This course meets the qualifications for (2.75) BBS CEUs for LCSWs and MFTs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences & is provided by Fred Finch Youth Center, CAMFT Provider #045295.

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