The Peer Relations Lab is
involved in numerous research investigations on child and adolescent
peer status, friendship, peer victimization, peer crowds, romantic
relationships, and peer influence. Four sample projects are described
Studies funded by the National Institute of Mental
Health and by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
Project ADAPT includes a group of longitudinal
investigations of preadolescent children as they transition into
adolescence. These projects focus on normative changes and interactions
peer functioning, family functioning, and physical/pubertal development
during this time period as possible predictors of internalizing
symptoms and health-risk behaviors over time. National data has
noted sharp increases in serious destructive behaviors during
this specific age period (e.g., substance use, aggressive/delinquent
behavior, suicidality). Thus, these large-scale investigations
are designed to prospectively examine psychosocial predictors
and social-cognitive mechanisms that may be responsible for the
onset of these behaviors in both normative and psychiatrically-referred
Funded by the National Institute of Child & Human Development
We know that peers strongly influence adolescent towards various health risk behaviors, such as substance use, illegal/violent behavior,
and sexual risk-taking behavior. But we don't know how peer influence occurs or for whom it is most powerful. This project examines mechanisms
of adolescent peer influence towards prosocial behavior and health-risk behaviors. Theories of social psychology are integrated with the study of peer status to better understand how adolescents behavior
may be shaped by peer experiences.
Studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
Project ARCH examines interpersonal interactions
among boys and girls at the transition to adolescence. This longitiudinal
projectis conducted in our research laboratory on the UNC campus
and allows us to better understand how adolescents' peer interactions,
social behaviors, and emotional and physiological reactions may
beassociated with future development. A focus of this project is on observations of social interactions between adolescents and their best friends.
Principal Investigator: Joseph C. Franklin, M.S.
Project STARTLE refers to a collection of studies fully conceived and executed by my graduate student, Joe Franklin. These studies examine psychophysiological responses to stress and pain, with a particular focus on startle and prepulse inhibition responses that may be relevant for understanding cognitive processing during NSSI.