Our major research interests are in adolescent development, with a focus on two main questions:
(1) What predicts the individual differences found among adolescents with regard to health-risk behaviors, mental health, affinity for solitude, peer sensitivity, etc., and
(2) Is adolescence a sensitive period for development, resulting in unique vulnerabilities and opportunities for both negative (e.g., risk taking, nonsuicidal self-injury) as well as positive behaviors (e.g., engagement in structured activities, academic achievement)?
In order to answer these questions, we have three longitudinal survey studies of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. We currently are collecting data from 1201 children and adolescents (see BHYP Study for more information) who we are following for 5 years. We also have longitudinal-sequential survey data from 4412 adolescents who were followed from grade 9 to grade 12, and longitudinal survey data from 1132 emerging adults who were followed for 7 years (see Stressed@Brock Study for more information). The surveys assess risk taking (e.g., substance use, aggression, delinquency), intrapersonal adjustment (e.g., depression, nonsuicidal self-injury, social anxiety, stress, etc.), involvement in structured and unstructured activities, Internet/videogame use, interpersonal relationships with parents and friends, school culture, neighbourhood quality, temperament, sleep quality, academic achievement, parental monitoring, physical activity, coping, etc. The surveys are unique in their comprehensive assessment of lifestyle choices over time and are a critical extension to the extant literature on adolescent development.
The Adolescent Development Lab is a member of the Jack and Nora
Walker, Canadian Centre for Lifespan Development Research, where we work closely with other Lifespan members. Learn more about the Lifespan Development Research Institute.