My research examines how our interpersonal experiences can affect our mental and physical health, even years later. I am especially fascinated by youth’s relationships with their peers, as reflected by their popularity, friendships, experiences of bullying/victimization, and the ways in which our behaviors tend to conform to the behaviors of others, even when we don’t realize it. Our relationships with our peers have a significant impact on how we develop as youth, and continue to influence our interactions, our success, and our happiness as adults.
Difficulties with peers increase risk for a wide range of health problems, but perhaps most concerning is the tendency for some adolescents with peer problems to engage in self-injurious behavior. Understanding the factors that lead some teens to engage in nonsuicidal self-injurious behavior (like cutting) or suicidal behavior is another focus of my research.
I’m also very interested in helping students through the various career decisions and professional hurdles they face throughout their training. My work in professional development and on the boards of service organizations within the field of psychology (e.g., the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology, American Psychological Association, and the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy) remains an important part of my career.
Widman, L., Choukas-Bradley, S., Helms, S. W., & Prinstein, M. J. (2016). Adolescent susceptibility to peer influence in sexual situations. Journal of Adolescent Health, 58, 323-329.
Nesi, J.L. & Prinstein, M.J. (2015). Using social media for social comparison and feedback-seeking: Gender and popularity moderate associations with depressive symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 1427-1438.
Choukas-Bradley, S.C., *Giletta, M., Neblett, E.W., & Prinstein, M.J. (2015). Ethnic differences in associations among popularity, likeability, and trajectories of adolescents’ alcohol use and frequency. Child Development, 86, 519-535.
Helms, S. W., Choukas-Bradley, S., Widman, L., Giletta, M., Cohen, G. L., & Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Adolescents misperceive and are influenced by high-status peers’ health risk, deviant, and adaptive behavior. Developmental Psychology, 50, 2697-2714. doi:10.1037/a0038178
Calhoun, C.D., Helms, S.W., Heilbron, N., Rudolph, K.D., Hastings, P.D., & Prinstein, M.J. (2014). Relational victimization, friendship, and adolescents’ hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis responses to an in vivo social stressor. Development & Psychopathology, 26¸ 605-618.
Rancourt, D., Choukas-Bradey, S.C., Cohen, G.L., & Prinstein, M.J. (2014). An experimental examination of peers’ influence on adolescent girls’ intent to engage in maladaptive weight-related behaviors. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 437-447.