Teen and Young Adult Development: Understanding Interpersonal and Sociocultural Influences

Supervising Faculty:

Sophia Choukas-Bradley, Ph.D.


Dr. Sophia Choukas-Bradley


Area of Research: Developmental Psychology, Clinical Psychology

Description of Research: The Teen and Young Adult (TAYA) Lab is a new Pitt lab beginning Fall 2017. We aim to understand interpersonal and sociocultural influences on adolescent development, with special emphases on peer and social media influences on teen girls’ sexual behaviors and body image. Examples of research questions include: 

  • How do adolescents’ sexual behaviors develop over time? 
  • How do teen girls and young women navigate complex messages about sex? 
  • How is social media changing teens’ interpersonal lives? 
  • How does social media affect body image and self-objectification in girls and young women? 
  • What are the roles of social norms, peer influence, and popularity in adolescents’ risky behaviors? 
  • How do gender and sexual orientation affect adolescent development? 

Duties of Students:

A position in this new lab will be ideal for students who are interested in seeing how research projects get started. We will collect data in a number of different ways, including bringing participants into the lab for survey-based data collection and experiments, conducting surveys online, and going into school classrooms. Students who are part of the lab through directed research will primarily work on data entry, data management, and preparing surveys. Once studies are up and running, students will likely have opportunities to interact directly with adolescent and young adult participants through data collection. 

• Must have a 3.5 GPA and meet the other departmental requirements
• Must also obtain clearances for work with children (Act 33/34/73)
Terms offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Students: 2-3

Additional Information: More information about Dr. Choukas-Bradley’s work and her CV can be found here: http://www.psychology.pitt.edu/person/sophia-choukas-bradley-phd. A lab website will be coming soon.