Children’s and adolescents’ ability to successfully interact with peers is an important factor related to current and future psychological adjustment. Peers can be an important source of support for youth during stressful transitions or traumatic events. Peer relationships also can promote adaptive social, academic, and behavioral development. However, negative peer experiences, such as peer rejection or victimization from peers, can contribute to disruptive or risk-taking behavior, anxiety, depression, and related psychological symptoms for some children and adolescents.
The Peer Relations Lab is involved in the study of peer relationships and adjustment across development – from early childhood to adolescence. We are interested in understanding how peer relationships might contribute to psychological distress, and also how psychological impairment can reciprocally influence social development. The focus of our work is specifically on the links among peer experiences, depression, suicidality, and health-risk behaviors.