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Transitions in Adolescent Girls (TAG)


In late 2015, the Developmental Social Neuroscience (DSN) lab at the University of Oregon (UO) launched the Transitions in Adolescent Girls (TAG) Study. The transition from childhood to adolescence is a time of many significant changes – the end of elementary school and the start of middle school, growing brains and bodies that are going through puberty, and big changes in relationships with family and friends. It is a time of vulnerability to problems, as well as great opportunities for growth. The goal of our study is to better understand how these changes are connected with each other, so that in the future we can help all adolescents to thrive during these changes, and help those at higher risk to avoid problems. We know that navigating these transitions successfully is important to you and your child, and invite you to consider joining a confidential, secure database of families who might be interested in participating in this study.

The scientist leading the study is Jennifer Pfeifer, Ph.D., from the Department of Psychology at UO. Other scientists participating are Nick Allen, Ph.D., also from UO; Ron Dahl, Ph.D. from Berkeley; and Elizabeth Shirtcliff, Ph.D., from Iowa State University. The study is funded by a major grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

If your daughter decides to participate (with your consent), we will measure the ways her body and brain change as she goes through puberty. (To see more about what it’s like to do a brain scan at UO, watch a video at!) We will relate these biological changes to her self-esteem, motivation, thinking skills, friendships, emotions, and well-being. The study involves three assessments over three years. Each assessment takes up to 6 hours (conducted over two visits), and you and your child will be paid for your time. The study takes place not at your daughter’s school, but on the UO campus – providing an opportunity to interact meaningfully with scientists at UO. Your choice whether or not to participate in this study will be completely confidential, and will in no way be communicated to the school or district.

If you think you and your child might be interested in participating, please visit us at Here you can join our database of families by giving information about the best ways and times to reach you, as well as a few details about your child. Again, this information is confidential and secure. A researcher will contact you to discuss the study in more detail, and work with you to find out if this is something you and your daughter want to join. You will not be pushed to participate if you are not interested after learning more.

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