Welcome to the Adolescent Development and Delinquency Lab! This research laboratory is based at the University of Texas at El Paso, under the direction of Dr. April Gile Thomas.

 

Our research examines adolescent behavior and juvenile delinquency using a developmental framework. We conduct primarily quantitative research that investigates predictors and consequences of juvenile delinquency and adolescent risk behavior. Our research addresses topics such as juvenile transfer to adult court, legal knowledge, sexting, sleep problems, peer influence, parent-adolescent relationships, and more.

Our Team

Our research team consists of 19  undergraduate/post-graduate research assistants and three graduate students, led by faculty mentor Dr. April Gile Thomas.

The Adolescent Development and Delinquency Laboratory accepts applications on a rolling basis; our next recruitment period will be in November. To be considered, please submit your application by October 31, 2021

For more information, see "For Students".

News & Events

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July 7, 2021

Jackie Vargas accepted into Behavior Analysis MS program at Simmons University

Undergraduate RA Jackie Vargas has been accepted into Simmons University's Behavior Analysis Master of Science program, to start Fall 2021.

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May 18, 2021

Dr. April Thomas awarded U-CURED Grant

Dr. April Thomas was awarded funds from the UTEP Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences Development (U-CURED) Program to help integrate research and scholarly inquiry into her Psychology and the Law course in the Fall 2021 semester. The U-CURED program aims to promote undergraduate involvement in research and places an emphasis on the enhancement of students’ engagement in university activities, critical thinking, teamwork, academic self-efficacy, and preparation for and entry into advanced degrees.

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May 6, 2021

Mayra Solis and Ashley Lindquist present honors thesis posters to the UTEP Psychology Department

Undergraduate students Mayra Solis and Ashley Lindquist presented their honors thesis research projects to UTEP's Psychology Department during the final departmental colloquium of Fall 2021.

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February 18, 2021

Isabelle Clough appointed as SPSSI GSC Communications Focus Member-at-Large

Graduate student, Isabelle Clough, was selected as the Communications Focus Member-at-Large for the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) Graduate Student Committee (GSC). Isabelle will be conducting targeted outreach to SPSSI student members and reviewing and editing submissions for the GSC section of SPSSI's newsletter.

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November 16, 2020

Anna Drozdova awarded Dodson Grant funds to attend statistics workshop

Graduate student, Anna Drozdova, received a $475 Dodson Grant award, allowing her to attend a three day statistics workshop on mixture modeling and latent class analysis.

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November 03, 2020

Mayra Solis earns UTEP's RISE Award

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Mayra Solis, has been awarded entry into UTEP's RISE Scholars Research Training Program. The program features training for underrepresented minority undergraduates, and is intended for students pursuing graduate school and a research career.

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August 11, 2020

Daisy Guzman invited as panelist on Latin Xs in Social Work Podcast

Lab alumna, Daisy Guzman, was invited to speak in a podcast about her academic journey and her ongoing experience in the field of social work. Find the podcast by searching for La Mesa Latina Episode 20 on your preferred podcast streaming app.

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May 13, 2020

Isabelle Clough awarded $1330 Dodson Research Grant

Graduate student, Isabelle Clough, was awarded a $1,330 Dodson Research Grant by the University of Texas at El Paso's Graduate School. Isabelle will be using these funds to study how a juvenile defendant's age, gender, and psychosocial maturity influence mock jurors' perceptions of the defendant's culpability, guilt, and appropriateness of sentencing severity.

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March 02, 2020

Arielle Marquez awarded AP-LS Access Path to Psychology and Law Fellowship

Undergraduate researcher Arielle Marquez was awarded the Access Path to Psychology and Law Fellowship through the American Psychology-Law Society. This award, established to support underrepresented students, will fund Arielle's work on a mentored research project. Results from the project will be submitted to the AP-LS annual conference.

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December 11, 2019

Isabelle Clough successfully proposes thesis

Doctoral student, Isabelle Clough, successfully proposed her Master's thesis on December 11. Her research study will explore how jurors' perceptions of defendants' psychosocial maturity, age, and gender influence their sentencing decisions. Congratulations Isabelle!

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May 05, 2019

Tiffany Vasquez and Adria Corral awarded 2019 Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques Diversity Fellowship

Congratulations to Elizabeth Purser for receiving the 2019 Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques Diversity Fellowship at the University of Michigan! She will be joining Tiffany and Adria on this two and a half week survey methodology program.

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March 16, 2019

American Psychology-Law Society Conference 2019

Doctoral student, Isabelle Clough, presented her work on adolescents’ and parents’ perceptions of legal fairness last night at the American Psychology-Law Society conference in Portland, Oregon.

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January 30, 2019

Elizabeth Purser earns APL-LS Access Path to Psychology & Law Award

Congratulations to undergraduate Research Assistant, Elizabeth Purser, for being awarded the AP-LS Access Path to Psychology and Law Award! This award is presented to students underrepresented in the field to increase diversity within the psychology and law community.

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June 19, 2018

Dr. April Thomas interviewed on ABC News about effects of family separations at the border

Dr. Thomas was interviewed by ABC News regarding the developmental consequences for children as a result of the family separations taking place at the border. Dr. Thomas stated, "Especially for young children, being separated can damage the attachment relationship that they have with their parents. Attachment has consistently been found to be one of the best predictors of child outcomes.".

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April 21, 2018

Student researchers present at UTEP COURI Symposium

Undergraduate Research Assistants Tiffany Vasquez and Joseph Reyes presented their research titled "What are my legal rights? Parents' and adolescents' knowledge of legal rights" (co-authors Britney Perez, Roberto Moran, and Kiran Misra) at UTEP's COURI Symposium. Their study reveals the limited knowledge of adolescents' legal rights among both youth and parents. This research also finds that adolescents' knowledge of legal rights is correlated with parental knowledge, suggesting that parents may be one means through which adolescents become socialized in their understanding of their legal rights.

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June 19, 2021

Claudia Cota joins AD&D Lab and receives UTEP's Summer Bridge Fellowship

Claudia Cota has joined the AD&D Lab as a first-year doctoral student starting Summer 2021. Claudia was additionally awarded funds through UTEP's Summer Bridge to the Doctorate Program--a fellowship designed to prepare incoming doctoral students for the rigors of a Ph.D. program. This 8-week full-time program is focused on jumpstarting the first-year research project, attending professional development workshops, and developing other research skills necessary to succeed in graduate school and beyond. 

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May 13, 2021

Dr. April Thomas awarded Career Enhancement Award by UTEP's College of Liberal Arts

UTEP's College of Liberal Arts has recognized Dr. April Thomas with a $5,000 Career Enhancement Award for Summer 2021. This award promotes peer reviewed projects that are designed to enhance the careers of UTEP scholars, as well as the intellectual environment at UTEP. Awardees are recognized for their important roles within their respective disciplines and are expected to present the work they have completed during the funding period to a broad audience interested in learning more about the scholarship going on in UTEP’s College of Liberal Arts.

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February 18, 2021

Ashley Lindquist accepted into UTEP's Clinical Psychology MA program

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Ashley Lindquist, was accepted into the Clinical Psychology MA program at the University of Texas at El Paso. Ashley will start her first year of graduate study in the Fall 2021 semester.

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January 27, 2021

Mayra Solis accepted into Human Development and Family Studies doctoral program at Pennsylvania State University

Research Assistant, Mayra Solis, was accepted to attend the Human Development and Family Studies doctoral program at Pennsylvania State University for her graduate study, starting in the 2021-2022 academic year.

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November 03, 2020

Isabelle Clough successfully defends thesis

Graduate student, Isabelle Clough, successfully defended her Master's thesis November 3, 2020. Isabelle's thesis focused on how juvenile defendants' developmental characteristics influence mock jurors' perspectives about criminal responsibility, guilt, and sentencing.

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September 17, 2020

Anna Drozdova presents First-Year Project

Graduate student, Anna Drozdova, presented her First-Year project to UTEP's Psychology Department on Thursday, September 17. Anna's project examined maternal attachment as a moderator for parental solicitation and adolescent risk behavior.

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June 03, 2020

Dr. Caitlin Cavanagh featured in MSU article for work on Daily Experiences during COVID-19 Study

Dr. Caitlin Cavanagh, a collaborator on the ongoing Daily Experiences during COVID-19 Study, was featured in a Michigan State University article written June 3, 2020. The article highlights the recent National Science Foundation RAPID Grant award through which the study is being funded, as well as the study's many potential implications.

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May 04, 2020

Anna Drozdova awarded $350 UTEP Dodson Travel Funds and $350 UTEP SGA Appropriations

Graduate student, Anna Drozdova, was awarded $350 in UTEP Dodson Travel Funds and $350 in appropriations from the UTEP Student Government Association to attend a Network Analysis workshop by Curran-Bauer Analytics. Anna will be utilizing skills gained through this workshop to study how characteristics of incarcerated juveniles' social networks impact their institutional offending and recidivism patterns.

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March 01, 2020

Arielle Marquez earned $4800 MERITUS award through UTEP

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Arielle Marquez, was awarded $4800 for completion of an independent project through UTEP's MERITUS program. Arielle's project, titled "Examining the association between adolescent gang membership, exposure to violence and stress", was completed over the course of the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters.

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May 23, 2019

Elizabeth Purser awarded 2019 Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques Diversity Fellowship

Congratulations to undergraduate Research Assistant, Elizabeth Purser, for receiving the 2019 Summer Institute in Survey Research Techniques Diversity Fellowship at the University of Michigan! She will be joining Tiffany and Adria on this two and a half week survey methodology program.

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April 13, 2019

UTEP COURI Symposium

Join us at UTEP’s COURI symposium today to see outstanding undergraduate research, such as this presentation by MERITUS award recipient and AD&D Lab member, Mariana Cardenas Dominguez. Her work suggests Hispanic adolescents may develop their legal attitudes from a process of parental legal socialization, whereas non-Hispanic adolescents develop their attitudes via alternate sources.

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March 16, 2019

American Psychology-Law Society Conference 2019

Undergraduate researchers Adria Corral, Elizabeth Purser, and Joseph Reyes presented their poster "Association with Delinquent Peers: Influence on Adolescents' Perception of the Law" at the 2019 American Psychology-Law Society Conference in Portland, Oregon.

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September 08, 2018

AD&D lab receives the American Psychological Foundation's 2018 Visionary Grant for research on adolescent sleep

Drs. April Gile Thomas and Caitlin Cavanagh received the 2018 Visionary Grant from the American Psychological Foundation to fund their research examining the effects of incarceration on adolescent sleep.

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April 14, 2018

Dr. April Thomas presents at Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting

Dr. April Gile Thomas presented her research titled "Adolescents' Susceptibility To Maternal & Peer Influence: Effects on Risk Behavior" at the Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Meeting April 14 in Minneapolis, MN. This research is the first experimental study to directly compare whether adolescents are more influenced by their mothers or friends.

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June 1, 2021

Anna Drozdova appointed as Student Awards Officer for the APS Student Caucus Executive Board

Doctoral student Anna Drozdova has been elected as the Student Awards Officer (SAO) for the Association for Psychological Science Student Caucus Executive Board. Anna will be coordinating the awards process for the RISE and Student Research Awards during the 2021-22 academic year.

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May 7, 2021

Anna Drozdova successfully defends Master's thesis

Graduate student, Anna Drozdova, successfully defended her Master's thesis Friday, May 7th. Anna's thesis focused on the associations between juvenile offenders' friendship characteristics--specifically, stability and homophily--and juveniles' re-offending and substance use.

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February 18, 2021

Anna Drozdova selected as SRA Blog Process Associate Editor

Graduate student, Anna Drozdova, has been selected as the Associate Editor for the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) online blog process. Anna will be reviewing and editing incoming blogs for the SRA website, as well as writing blogs to be posted to the website.

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December 04, 2020

Anna Drozdova successfully proposes thesis

Doctoral student, Anna Drozdova, successfully proposed her Master's thesis on December 4. Her study will explore how the stability and homophily of juvenile offenders' close friendships impact re-offending and substance use.

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October 19, 2020

Isabelle Clough receives AP-LS Grant in Aid award for students

Doctoral student, Isabelle Clough, was awarded the American Psychology-Law Society's Grant in Aid for students. This $1,000 award will help fund continued assessments for the Daily Experiences during COVID-19 Study.

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September 04, 2020

Doctoral students Isabelle Clough and Anna Drozdova lead Introduction to Statistics Workshop

Ph.D. students Isabelle Clough and Anna Drozdova led an Introduction to Statistics Workshop for the lab's undergraduate Research Assistants (RAs) Friday, September 4. RAs interested in presenting at future conferences attended the workshop to hone their statistics skills and learn how to apply statistics techniques to their research questions of interest

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May 27, 2020

Dr. April Thomas recognized for NSF RAPID Grant award and NSF REU award, speaks at UTEP's Virtual Research Forum

Dr. April Thomas was recognized by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects during UTEP's May Research Forum for her National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates award. This award has allowed her to financially support two undergraduate student researchers in the Adolescent Development and Delinquency Lab.

 

As a panelist for the virtual forum, Dr. Thomas also presented preliminary findings from the Daily Experiences during COVID-19 Study, which explores how at-risk teens and their parents are affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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May 01, 2020

Dr. April Thomas awarded NSF RAPID Grant to study impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on at-risk teens and their parents

The National Science Foundation has awarded RAPID Grant to Dr. April Thomas, which will allow her to conduct research on the impacts of COVID-19 on adolescents and their parents. This research will examine how at-risk youth (specifically incarcerated and justice-involved juveniles) may be particularly impacted by the global pandemic.

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December 13, 2019

UTEP Undergraduate Honors Awards Ceremony

Dr. Thomas presented the chords and medallions to the graduating members of the Adolescent Development & Delinquency Lab at today's ceremony. Congratulations to Genevieve, Jhairo, and Elizabeth on graduating!

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May 08, 2019

Daisy Guzman awarded travel funds to attend Behavioral Health Graduate Recruitment Fair at UT Austin and grad tour at ASU

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Daisy Guzman, has been chosen for a travel award to attend the Behavioral Health Graduate Recruitment Fair at the University of Texas, Austin and a fully funded graduate school tour at Arizona State University in May. 

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March 16, 2019

American Psychology-Law Society Conference 2019

Dr. April G. Thomas presented her research titled "Understanding deterrence: Considering the role of adolescents' legal knowledge & perception of fairness" at the 2019 American Psychology-Law Society Conference in Portland, Oregon.

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March 16, 2019

American Psychology-Law Society Conference 2019

Undergraduate Research Assistants Joseph Reyes, Desiree Pimentel, Tiffany Vasquez, and Roberto Moran presented their poster titled "What Are My Legal Rights? Parents' and Adolescents' Knowledge of Legal Rights" at the 2019 American Psychology-Law Society Conference in Portland, Oregon.

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September 01, 2018

AD&D lab receives NSF Grant to study effects of incarceration on adolescent development

Drs. April Gile Thomas (University of Texas at El Paso) and Caitlin Cavanagh (Michigan State University) have received a grant from the National Science Foundation in the area of Law and Social Sciences to fund their research investigating the effects of incarceration on adolescent social functioning and mental health.

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April 21, 2018

Student researchers present at UTEP COURI Symposium

Undergraduate Research Assistants, Joseph A. Reyes and Elizabeth Purser, presented their research "Association with delinquent peers: Influence on Adolescents' rule orientation" (co-authors Vanessa Hernandez and Amri Viruet) at the UTEP Campus Office of Undergraduate Research Initiatives (COURI) Symposium on April 14, 2018. This research team found that adolescents who associate with a greater number of delinquent friends tend to be less oriented to obeying rules and laws.