Adolescent Health Promotion Lab

The Adolescent Health Promotion Lab is overseen by Dr. Elizabeth H. Weybright, and includes undergraduate and graduate 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 and Linda Caldwell. We are using both cross-sectional and longitudinal data from U.S. (Monitoring the Future) and South African adolescents to answer questions such as: How does boredom change across adolescence? and How is boredom related to externalizing and internalizing symptoms? Research opportunities related to this project include 1) experience working with secondary data from cross-sectional and longitudinal data sets, 2) learning person-centered (latent profile analysis) and longitudinal (growth curves) methodological approaches, and 3) the ability to answer your own research question with a nationally representative dataset.

Youth Advocates for Health (YA4-H!): YA4-H! is an umbrella program that engages teens and adults in partnership to address crucial community health issues through learning, research, advocacy, and/or teaching. Under this umbrella, the Youth Voice: Youth Choice program was implemented using youth-adult partnerships to support teenagers as teachers and advocates to teach younger youth nutrition. This project is funded by the National 4-H council and Wal-Mart. Research opportunities related to this project include 1) collection and analysis of survey data from children and teens on nutrition, physical activity, community engagement, and leadership skills and 2) collection and analysis of focus group and individual interview data from teen teachers.

Healthy Leisure in Adolescence and Emerging Adults: 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 have conducted focus groups with young adults and are currently conducting thematic analysis of this data. Research opportunities related to this project include 1) co-facilitation of focus groups with adolescents and 2) qualitative data analysis including transcribing and coding.

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!