The Adolescent Health Promotion Lab is overseen by Dr. Elizabeth H. Weybright, and includes undergraduate Human Development and graduate Prevention Science students. Recognizing adolescence as a critical period of biological, cognitive, and social development, we seek to optimize health and put adolescents on a thriving trajectory toward adulthood. Using a prevention science framework we work to identify what facilitates and impedes healthy adolescent development and use this information to develop and/or refine preventive interventions that promote the health of adolescents and emerging adults.
Current research projects include:
Understanding Boredom in Adolescence: Boredom is a common experience in adolescence but as researchers, we don’t fully understand when boredom may be helpful or harmful. To answer these questions and better understand the experience of boredom in adolescence, I’m collaborating with Drs. John Schulenberg, Linda Caldwell, and Sammy Perone. With Schulenberg and Caldwell, we are using cross-sectional and longitudinal data from U.S. (Monitoring the Future) and South African (HealthWise) adolescents to answer questions such as: How does boredom change across adolescence? and How is boredom related to externalizing and internalizing symptoms? With Perone, we are looking at how the experience of boredom is associated with cognition using EEG data. Research opportunities related to this topic include 1) working with secondary data from cross-sectional and longitudinal data sets, 2) using person-centered (latent profile analysis) and longitudinal (growth curves) methodological approaches, and 3) data collection from adolescents.
Youth Advocates for Health (YA4-H!): YA4-H! is an Extension-based approach that engages teens and adults in partnership to address crucial community health issues through learning, research, advocacy, and/or teaching. Since 2014, we have received funding from National 4-H Council and partners to implement YA4-H! using youth-adult partnerships to support teenagers as teachers and advocates to teach children nutrition. Working with Dr. Mary Katherine Deen, we have implemented YA4-H! programming with over 12,000 children and teens across Washington state. Research on YA4-H! indicates teens experience positive youth development outcomes and internalization of curriculum content. Research opportunities related to this project include 1) collecting and analyzing survey data from children and teens on nutrition, physical activity, community engagement, and leadership skills and 2) analyzing focus group and individual interview data from teen teachers.
Healthy Leisure in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: Very little is known about how adolescents and young adults conceptualize, or define, healthy and unhealthy leisure. Ultimately, we want to identify how perceptions of healthy and unhealthy leisure are associated with healthy adolescent development. In collaboration with Drs. Linda Caldwell and Julie Son, we conducted focus groups with adolescents and young adults and worked with undergraduate research assistants to analyze qualitative data. Next steps include developing and testing measures of healthy and unhealthy leisure. Research opportunities related to this project include 1) development and testing of new measures and 2) survey data collection.
General opportunities for students include: Although research opportunities will vary depending on current projects, we welcome both undergraduate and graduate students interested in adolescent health promotion. Examples of research opportunities include:
- Involvement in quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis
- Access to secondary data for new research questions
- Experience contributing to scholarly work (papers, posters, newsletters)
- Being a part of exciting and groundbreaking research!