Joseph Allen

Allen, Joseph P.

Primary Appointment

Hugh P Kelly Distinguished Professorship in Arts & Sciences, Psychology

Contact Information

PO Box 400400
Gilmer Hall 326
Telephone: 982-4727

Research Disciplines


Research Interests

Adolescent Social Development

Research Description

Adolescent Social Development, Family Relations, Peer relations & Problematic Behaviors (ranging from delinquency and teen pregnancy to depression and anxiety).

Specific topics:

Development of peer influence and peer pressure in adolescence.

Prevention of Teen Pregnancy.

Development of Autonomy and Relatedness in Adolescent Social Interactions.

Adolescent attachment organization.

UNLEASH (Undergraduate Research)

(1)The VIDA Project is a longitudinal study following adolescents from age 13 into adulthood (ages 27-32) examining the influence of peer relationships, autonomy, and attachment processes on long-term psychosocial development and mental and physical health outcomes. We are exploring how young adults develop and manage friendships with their peers, and how family relationships influence qualities of these peer relationships and mental health outcomes such as anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance use and externalizing behavior. Most recently, we have begun examining the ways that social relationships predict physical health outcomes, and we now examine our participants’ heart rate variability under stress, as well as markers of inflammation and immune functioning. We use a variety of measurement methods, including self-reports, semi-structured interviews, parent-reports, peer reports, and observations of family and peer interactions and physical health assessments. We have now been following our original sample of 184 participants for over 15 years and have 98% of them still active in the study.

RA tasks include conducting interviews with participants, data entry and checking, transcribing, and other administrative tasks. We train RAs in physical health assessments (e.g., EKG assessments of heart rate variability), and to use computer programs and protocols for conducting interviews with participants. RAs who work on the project for multiple semesters often have the opportunity to take on higher level responsibilities (such as coding data, scheduling participants, and writing a thesis) and may apply for paid positions.

Contact: Project Coordinators at Phone: 434 982 5789

(2) Hoos Connected is a new group-based intervention designed for first-years and transfer students. Groups of 6-12 students meet for ~1 hour/week for 9 weeks, with the goal of helping students get to know one another beneath the surface and experience authentic, meaningful connections. The curriculum is led by two co-facilitators -- these are lab RAs who receive extensive training and research credit for their participation. RAs on this project must make at least a two-semester commitment. Hoos Connected RAs complete one semester of training, during which time they participate in their own Hoos Connected group with other trainees and complete additional didactics. Their second semester, RAs are eligible to co-facilitate a Hoos Connected group and participate in weekly supervision. For any additional semesters, RAs are then eligible to be a lead facilitator of one or more groups and help train new facilitators. RAs receive a minimum of two credits at the end of their second semester, reflecting a ~3 hour/week commitment. There is also an opportunity to receive 2 or 3 credits per semester with more dedicated weekly hours. Additional responsibilities would include data entry and checking, preparing curriculum materials for group leaders, aiding in recruitment efforts for Hoos Connected group members and facilitators, and other administrative tasks.
Contact: Website:

Selected Publications