Youth and Adolescent Development Projects

youthdev keyareas smScholars at the Wellesley Centers for Women have conducted research studies and evaluations on issues related to child and adolescent development, including issues around race, ethnicity, immigrant status, and identity; the effects of early child care; the value of physical activity; preventing depression; examining unique family dynamics; and exploring sexuality and evaluating sex-education programming.

  • Adolescent Communication with Family and Reproductive Health

    Ongoing since 2017
    Youth and Adolescent Development

    Family communication about sex can reduce risky sexual behaviors, but most studies focus only on the teen-parent dyad.

  • Boston Summer Learning Project

    Ongoing since 2010
    Evaluation of the Boston Summer Learning Project

    This project will evaluate the Boston Summer Learning Program.

  • Co-Morbid Physical and Mental Health Care Needs for Children and Youth at Risk for Obesity

    Ongoing since 2014

    Childhood obesity

    This study looks at factors putting youth at risk for obesity.

  • Communication about sex in the nuclear family and beyond: Implications for health interventions

    Ongoing since 2013
    Sex Communication

    This investigation will longitudinally explore continuity and change in teen-family sexual communication over teens' transition to high school.

  • Empowering Families

    Ongoing since 2014
    Children's social-emotional development

    This project is designed to support children's social-emotional and cognitive development.

  • Gender, Social Learning, and Adversity: Factors in Adolescent Development of Substance Use Disorders

    Ongoing since 2011
    Gender and social learning

    This study examines the influence of gender, adversity, and social learning on the development of drug and alcohol-use patterns in a sample of adolescents.

  • Improving Two-Generation Approaches for Children and Family

    Ongoing since 2015

    WCW prepares a white paper and two research reviews to frame the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s approach to two-generation strategies related to advancing family economic security and children’s education and learning simultaneously

  • Measuring the Impact of a Middle School Comprehensive Sex Education Curriculum

    Completed 2014
    Assessing Middle School Sexual Education

    This project was a multi-faceted engagement with Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts to conduct an evaluation of the Get Real middle school sexual education curriculum.

  • Media and Identity Study

    Ongoing since 2011

    The purpose of this online nationwide survey study is to understand how different types of media (i.e. social, technological, televised) impact young people’s sense of social identities, including racial/ethnic, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political attitudes, and civic engagement.

  • Prevention of Depression: Impact on the Transition to Early Adulthood

    Ongoing since 2009
    Preventing Depression for Young Adults

    The research teamwill examine the long-term effects of an earlier intervention on preventing depression during the critical developmental transition to young adulthood.

  • Prevention of Depression in At-Risk Adolescents Project - Boston

    Assessing the Benefits of Intervention

    This national, multi-site research study aims to test the effectiveness and generalizability of a cognitive-behavioral intervention for preventing depressive disorders in at-risk adolescent offspring of parents with depression.

  • Promoting Adolescent Health (PATH)

    Ongoing since 2011
    Promoting Adolescent Health (PATH) online depression prevention program

    Evaluation of a primary care/Internet-based depression prevention program for at-risk adolescents and their families.

  • Risk and Resilience of Media and Social Networking use in Vulnerable Adolescent Populations

    Ongoing since 2013
    Media and Identity Study

    Charmaraman will interview a subset of 30 participants from the larger online survey study of over 1,300 young people aged 12 – 25 from the U.S. and abroad.

  • Sibling Relationships in Children of Depressed Parents

    Connections Between Depression and Sibling Relationships

    This project aims to explicate the relation between parental depression, parenting styles, parent/child relationships, sibling relationship quality and internalizing and externalizing outcomes in children.

  • Adolescent Mixed-Ancestry Identity: A Measurement Pilot

    2006 - 2009
    Self-Identity of Youth of Mixed Ancestry

    Racial/ethnic self-identification can vary over time and place, in other words, some adolescents of mixed ancestry report different single-race or mixed-race identifications at different times and in different situations. This report seeks to explore whether adolescents of mixed-ancestry have particular strengths or weaknesses compared within their single-race-reporting peers.

  • Analysis of Adolescent Family Life

    Completed in 2011
    Adolescent family life

    This project surveyed and assessed Title XX Adolescent Family Life (AFL)-funded research to assist in developing a new AFL research agenda that is applicable to prevention and care demonstration projects.

  • An in-depth look at teen/parent sexual communication

    Teen/Parent sexual communication

    This project is an in-depth qualitative investigation of teen/parent communication about sex and relationships, which provides an in-depth look at families participating in the evaluation of middle school education program. It includes interviews with 32 teen/parent pairs who are participants in the Get Real middle school sex education program.

  • Attachment- and Mindfulness-Based Interventions

    Completed in 2009

    Interventions based on exploring intergenerational attachment patterns and learning to use mindfulness exercises can be useful in helping pregnant and parenting teens modulate their reactions to stress.

  • Girls Coalition of Greater Boston

    Coalition of Girls' Advocates

    The Girls Coalition, a diverse consortium of Boston-area organizations and individuals working together to encourage the healthy development of girls, was initiated at WCW.

  • Mothers-Sons Project: A special project at the Jean Baker Miller Training Institute

    Relationships Between Mothers and Sons

    This study seeks to emphasize connection between mothers and sons by defining stages in development and countering the pressures faced in each one.

  • Normative Development of Puerto Rican Adolescents

    Development of Young Puerto Ricans

    This longitudinal study on Puerto Rican adolescents revealed new data that differed from previous examinations of Puerto Rican 'at risk' youth. In this study, these youths were found to be well-adjusted and close to their families, not prone (as previously assumed) to risky behavior.

  • Physical Activity over Time: Health Outcomes of Elementary School Children

    Completed in 2011
    Long-term health benefits of physical activity

    This is a secondary analysis of data collected over the long-term to determine how physical activity benefits the overall health and well-being of children over time. This study will focus on the NICHD’s Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development data.

  • Puerto Rican Young Fathers' Involvement with Their Children

    Puerto Rican Fathers and Their Children

    This study utilized the data from interviews to determine what factors permeated the experiences of young Puerto Rican fathers.

  • Raising Confident and Competent Girls: How Schools Can Support Girls


    This project examined the lives of middle-school aged girls from various social, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. Researchers focused on issues such as self-confidence, bridging the home-school culture gap, and student and teacher resources.

  • Social Context Of Puerto Rican Children's Health And Growth

    Completed in 1997
    Puerto Rican Children's Health and Development

    This study sought to determine levels of healthy development of Puerto Rican children living in the U.S. mainland, and took into account family variables, perceived discrimination, and geographic location.

  • Sports as Protective of Girls' High-Risk Sexual Behavior

    Sports' Influence on Sexual Behavior

    This study sought to clarify the links and benefits between sports and high-risk sexual behavior among high-school girls.

  • Television Consumption and Adolescent Sexual Activity

    Completed in 2004
    Television's Influence on Adolescent Sex

    Conclusions from this five-year project focused on relationships between personal ethnic identification and television consumption, as well as levels of sexual content in varying shows.

  • WILL: A Unique Model for Higher Education in the 21st-Century

    Female College Students, Roles and Relationships

    This project studied the impact of an undergraduate program that enables female college students to earn a minor in women's studies through comprehensive examination of gender roles and relationships and through mentorships.