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Title:The implications of conceptions of adolescence for adolescents' psychological adjustment: experimental and longitudinal neuroimaging evidence
Author(s):Qu, Yang
Director of Research:Pomerantz, Eva M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pomerantz, Eva M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Telzer, Eva; Cimpian, Andrei; Larson, Reed; Cohen, Dov
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
school engagement
risk taking
Abstract:Adolescence is often seen as a time of irresponsibility. However, prior research indicates that there is substantial variability in the extent to which youth hold irresponsibility views of adolescence, which predicts their psychological adjustment (e.g., school engagement), as they navigate the early adolescent years. Building on this research, my dissertation addressed two key questions. In Study 1a and 1b, using experimental methods with early adolescents, I demonstrated that conceptions of adolescence play a causal role in youth's psychological adjustment. Youth induced to see the teen years as a time of responsibility showed more responsible behavior—that is, heightened school engagement and dampened risk taking, as indicated by both reports of behavioral intentions and daily behavior – due in part to anticipating more negative consequences for irresponsible behavior. These findings highlight the key role of views about teens in shaping youth’s psychological adjustment over this phase of development. They also provide a potential foundation for interventions aimed at supporting youth in constructively navigating adolescence. Given that adolescence is a time of dramatic brain development, in Study 2, I examined how views of teens in terms of family obligation contribute to changes in youth’s neural processes that accompany their psychological adjustment over adolescence. Using a three-wave longitudinal neuroimaging approach, I demonstrated that seeing the teen years as a time of ignoring family obligation during early adolescence predicted increases over later adolescence in youth’s neural activation involved in cognitive control, with such neural increases related to increases in their risk taking. These findings highlight neural plasticity over adolescence and underscore the detrimental role of negative stereotype of teens in youth’s neural and psychological development at this stage.
Issue Date:2016-08-04
Rights Information:Copyright 2016 Yang Qu
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-03-01
Date Deposited:2016-12

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