Current Research

Our research examines how young people’s interpersonal relationships contribute to their development across different social settings. We incorporate longitudinal survey methods in schools, behavioral observations in the lab, and ambulatory assessments as young people go about their daily lives. You can read more about our ongoing and upcoming projects below and view our recent publications here.

 

Combatting Bullying & Discrimination in schools

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How can we promote safe and inclusive school environments for all adolescents? In this line of research, we are interested in identifying intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual factors that protect teens in the face of peer victimization and bias-based mistreatment. With funding from an SRCD Early Career Grant, we are currently collaborating with Dr. Adam Hoffman (North Carolina State University) on the Promoting Relationship and Identity Development in Education (PRIDE) study. As part of the project, we will develop an identity-based self-affirmation intervention to mitigate the negative effects of discrimination among high school students in the Detroit area.  

 

How does peer stress Get “under the skin”?

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Bullied teens experience heightened risk for illness and disease in adulthood, but how does victimization get “under the skin” to impair long-term health? We are launching a new line of research to investigate the biological toll of peer stressors. This work will incorporate primary data collection using ambulatory assessment methods as well as secondary analyses of nationally representative data. By studying connections between adolescents’ day-to-day social experiences and stress-sensitive biological systems (e.g., sleep; HPA axis activity), our goal is to identify potential biosocial mechanisms linking peer victimization to health problems.

 

Understanding Early-Stage Romantic Relationships

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Although extensive research has been conducted on adult marital relationships, we know considerably less about patterns of romantic functioning earlier in development. What do teens look for in a dating partner? How do early dating relationships contribute to young people’s health and emotional well-being? In collaboration with the USC Family Studies Lab, we are using lab-based (e.g., behavioral observation) and field-based (e.g., experience sampling) methods to better understand antecedents and consequences of early romantic relationships.