Research Projects

 mother-child-reading580Family Dyad Study (Double Digits)

Research has implicated pubertal development as an important catalyst to the changes in parent-child relationships during early adolescence.  Pubertal development is a salient individual change for both the adolescent experiencing it and his/her family members.  While the familial response to pubertal growth is likely to shape the adolescents’ experience of it, the family’s response may also contribute to the shifts in family relations during this developmental period.  This study investigates the links between the timing of pubertal development and a number of aspects of the parent-child relationship. Observational and qualitative data are obtained to examine transformations in parent-child relationships at puberty.

Peers and Puberty Study

Association with older peers is a commonly assumed mediating mechanism across several models of pubertal timing effects on girls’ psychosocial development.  This study examines associations between the occurrence of same-gender and mixed-gender affiliative activities and their developmental significance to the physical and hormonal changes associated with puberty. In this study, secondary data analyses are pursued to examine associations between pubertal development and peer relations during the pubertal transition.

Completed Projects

classhandsTeachers and Puberty Study Adaptation to pubertal changes is particularly difficult for girls who negotiate an early pubertal transition in a stressful social environment. The purpose of this study is to examine whether teachers’ overtax capacities or underestimate the academic potential of early (or late) developing girls because they physically look older (or younger) than their chronological age suggests. In this study, photo-vignettes describing girls in various academic and behavioral scenarios are given to practicing elementary-school teachers to assess their academic and behavioral expectations of each girl.

Friends and Couples Study couple3Peer networks are important social settings for a better understanding of the significance of romantic involvement in sexual development and individual well-being. This study examines whether adolescent girls with different levels of involvement in romantic relationships, and different qualities of these relationships in early, middle, or late adolescence, have different interactions with their close friends and have different peer social network structures. In this study, adolescent females, their close friends, and romantic partners complete measures about their dating history, sexual activities, and peer network.  Observational data is also obtained to rate the girls’ behavior toward their close friend and romantic partner, as well as their close friend and romantic partner’s behavior toward them.