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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. During this study, we will measure the ways in which the body and brain change as during 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 self-esteem, motivation, thinking skills, friendships, emotions, and well-being. The study involves three assessments over three years.

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.

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