Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development
My overarching research interest is the promotion of healthy adolescent development among marginalized youth. Specifically, my work has focused on identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths lives, such as supportive intergenerational relationships. Using a resilience framework, I have assessed the potential of nonparental adults to serve as resources to marginalized youth, and I have investigated the processes through which these relationships affect a variety of youth outcomes (e.g., psychological distress, health-risk behaviors, academic achievement). In addition to exploring the role of supportive relationships in contributing to youth development, I also have researched the role of broader contextual factors (e.g., neighborhood characteristics) in shaping youth outcomes. Currently, I am investigating the role of contextual factors in promoting or deterring the formation of intergenerational relationships and shaping the nature of interactions between marginalized youth and the adults in their communities. I also am further examining the mechanisms that drive the promotive effects of natural mentoring relationships and developing an intervention focused on enhancing positive intergenerational relationships between adolescents and the nonparental adults in their everyday lives. I run the Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development (PHAD) Lab at the University of Virginia. https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/PHAD_Lab/
<b><i>UNLEASH (Undergraduate Research)</b></i>
We study factors that contribute to the healthy development of disadvantaged adolescents. Foci of the lab include the promotion of mental health, the prevention of healthrisk behaviors, and the encouragement of positive educational outcomes. In addition, we are interested in the development of skills that will help youth to be successful in life, such as leadership and interpersonal skills. One particular area of interest is the relationships that youth form with nonparental adults. Supportive adults in youths lives may help them to navigate and overcome challenges they face and encourage adolescents healthy development. Understanding how to promote these intergenerational relationships and the mechanisms through which these relationships may facilitate more positive youth outcomes are core areas of this labs research.
Responsibilities for undergraduate researchers may include 1) conducting reviews of empirical articles, 2) survey administration both in the lab as well as in youths homes or schools, and 3) data management. It is important that RAs feel comfortable working with diverse populations. RAs will work closely with graduate students. In addition, RAs will also have opportunities to develop their own projects and present findings at conferences.
Contact: Aly Ladd, firstname.lastname@example.org