The transition from childhood to adulthood is fraught with changes in emotion, cognition, relationships with parents, peers, and society. Thirty or forty years ago, the sequence of transitions from childhood to adulthood was predictable. Today, individuals traverse a variety of pathways as they go from the dependency of childhood to achieving adult milestones and independence. In the U.S., many individuals spend years finishing their education and establishing a foothold in adulthood. In some other countries, the pathway to adulthood ends sooner. Research on adolescence and early adulthood focuses on understanding cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in paths through this protacted transition period.

Faculty Research

Sharon Christ

Dr. Christ studies the causes and consequences of adolescent’s exposure to maltreatment (abuse/neglect), and how work experiences during adolescence relate to health and well-being in adolescence and young adulthood. Her work in these areas has a strong methodological focus.

Jennifer Dobbs-Oates

Dr. Dobbs-Oates conducts scholarship on teaching and learning in the higher education context. Thus, the learning of college students, who are often in late adolescence and emerging adulthood, is a particular interest.

Doran French

Dr. French studies both children and adolescents. He is currently completing a study of social competence, peer relationships and bullying in fifth grade children in the U.S., China, and Indonesia. He is completing a longitudinal study of adolescents in China, and has conducted research on adolescents in Indonesia.

Valerie S. Knopik

Dr. Knopik’s work examines early biological and environmental influences on behavioral development during adolescence. This includes a strong focus on externalizing behavior and associated neurocognitive deficits.

Kristine Marceau

Dr. Marceau’s work examines early biological and environmental influences on behavioral and familial relationship development during adolescence. This includes a strong focus on pubertal development, and the role of hormones during the pubertal transition for adolescent relationships and behavior.

Cleveland Shields

Dr. Shields collaborates with colleagues at Purdue and at IU to examine how adolescents talk to their physicians or other health providers about health and sexuality.

Zoe Taylor

Dr. Taylor’s research examines psychological, environmental, and biological processes that contribute to social and emotional development during the transition from middle childhood into early adolescence. In particular, she focuses on positive dispositional characteristics, as well as parenting behaviors, that are linked to positive development and competence in youth.

Natasha Watkins

Dr. Watkins' research focuses on the developmental period of adolescence, with an emphasis on positive youth development and the transition from adolescence to adulthood.


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