Jennifer L. Kerpelman, Ph.D.
Professor & Associate Dean
for Research and Graduate Studies
Ph.D., Auburn University, 1994
(334) 844-3791 | 210 Spidle Hall
My research centers on the examination of adolescent and young adult development within the context of relationships with parents, friends, and romantic partners. Most central are questions pertaining to identity formation within family and peer contexts, and questions about emotional and sexual health and quality of adolescents’ and young adults’ romantic relationships. I also am interested in how identity and close relationships intersect to affect adolescents’ capacities to achieve important educational and career goals. In addition to conducting basic research, I have been involved in the evaluation of relationship education for adolescents. This applied research focuses on youth ages 12-25, with primary emphasis on the evaluation of curricula implemented in school and community settings.
Many of my recent publications examine the efficacy of relationship education to foster beliefs, skills and behaviors associated with healthy adolescent romantic relationships. My applied research also addresses the integration of relationship knowledge and skills within sexual health education, as well as facilitating parents’ capacities to communicate effectively with their adolescents about romantic relationships. Support for my applied research has been provided by the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation; the Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention; and the Alabama Department of Public Health.