My area of interest is the impact of relationships on youth development, including family functioning, teacher-student relationships, and peer relations. My current focus is the impact of small-group instruction (e.g., cooperative learning, peer tutoring) on positive peer relations, and subsequent cascading effects of improved peer relations on student engagement, behavior, mental health. My goal is to develop a scalable technology to support teachers in delivering these small-group lessons, and to assess the impact of large-scale implementation on both students (e.g., social-emotional development, educational equity) and teachers (e.g., stress, efficacy).
My core research interest is the development and integration of streamlined, efficient prevention strategies into large-scale delivery systems, particularly schools and primary care systems. I focus on how peer and family processes impact adolescent behavior and adjustment, and how these processes can be modified by prevention programming. I have both basic and applied aspects to my work, in which research findings on adolescent development can inform the refinement and optimization of prevention programs and, in turn, the implementation and evaluation of prevention programs can inform developmental theory. My work is framed by a number of social and developmental theories, including attachment theory, self-determination theory, contact theory, and theories of coercion and social learning. I have employed a variety of cutting-edge methods in my research, including non-parametric and mixture modeling, meta-analysis, technology-supported daily diary methods, and social network analysis.