Faculty Spotlight: Daniel Ewon Choe
Associate Professor of Human Development & Family Studies within the Department of Human Ecology


Children’s development of self-regulation and behavior problems, how they relate to parents’ mental health and parenting, and their contributions to mental illness in childhood and adolescence.

Poverty and Inequality Research

Much of Daniel’s research focuses on adjustment problems such as juvenile delinquency and maternal depression, which children and parents are at heightened risk of showing in low-income households. He is interested in how adverse experiences, such as poverty and violence exposure, affect families and their ability to overcome adversity.

Recent Work

Daniel’s most recent publication (in Social Development) presents a longitudinal study of a diverse group of low-income families, half randomized to the Family Check-Up intervention.

  • Higher levels of self-regulation and positive mother–child engagement in early childhood predicted children’s higher academic skills when entering kindergarten.
  • Higher levels of positive mother–child engagement also predicted greater gains in children’s academic skills across elementary school but only among children in the intervention group.
  • Early interventions combined with positive parent–child interactions may help increase academic success among low-income children.

Current Projects

Daniel is part of a small research team at UC Davis that has partnered with Yolo County Health and Human Services, as well as other organizations, on the Yolo County Basic Income Program

This is a two-year, guaranteed-income intervention for low-income families with young children that boosts each household $1 above the poverty level. The UC Davis team is evaluating the intervention’s effectiveness in reducing financial hardship, housing insecurity, and mental health problems.

He also recently started a small study of mothers and toddlers in Yolo County that examines their physiological stress, self-regulation, and parent-child interactions to understand how they manage stress and achieve resilience.

How does Daniel unwind?

“I love to exercise and be active outdoors,” says Daniel. “Walking through Davis parks, playing soccer, swimming, and weightlifting allow me to manage my stress and stay healthy. Spending time in nature, such as strolling through the UC Davis arboretum, also helps me unwind.”


Read a policy brief by Daniel Ewon Choe:
Early Interventions May Boost Academic Skills Among Disadvantaged Children


April 2024