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Deborah Welsh

Deborah WelshDeborah Welsh
Ph.D., University of Massachusetts (1992)

Web site:
Phone: (865) 974-8540

Key words: Life transitions, romantic relationships, gender, family relationships, couples, transition to college, transition to retirement, and emerging adulthood.

Research Interests

Adolescent romantic relationships

Research statement

My research program focuses understanding the development of romantic relationships and their impact on adolescent, young adult, and older adult functioning.  I am also interested in examining psychological mechanisms associated with major developmental life transitions, especially the transition from adolescence to adulthood and the transition in older adulthood to retirement. My research lab, currently named “Transitions Across the Lifespan Lab” or TALL, is interested in the various transition periods that occur across the individual’s life trajectory and their impacts on the many aspects of development including academic, relational, and individual psychological functioning.

  • Co-Guest Editor, special issue for Journal of Emerging Adulthood (2017)
  • Angie Warren Perkins Award for outstanding leadership (2015)
  • NIH Study Section Review Committee Member (2014)
  • Albert Bandura Graduate Research Award Faculty Advisor (2014)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Family Psychology (2007-present)
  • Co-President, Special Interest Group in Adolescent Romantic Relationships (2007-08)
  • Co-Guest Editor, special issue for Journal of Adolescence (2008)     
  • Psychology Graduate Education Award (2007)
  • Psi Chi Undergraduate Teaching Award (2005)
  • Psychology Graduate Education Award (2000)
  • Chancellor's Award for Professional Promise in Research and Creative Achievement (1999)
  • College of Arts and Sciences Junior Faculty Research Award (1998)
  • Phi Beta Kappa Research in Social Sciences Award (1998)
  • UT Chancellor's Award (2005-2006)
  • National Institute of Child and Human Development (NIH) (2000-2007) 
  • Haines and Morris Grant (2003)
  • Social Science Research Council (1997-1998)
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) (1995-1997)
  • UTK Professional Development Award (1995-1996)

*Bishop, J. L., *Norona, J. C., Roberson, P. N. E., Welsh, D. P, & **McCurry, S. K. (2019). Adult attachment, role balance, and depressive symptoms in Emerging Adulthood. Journal of Adult Development, 26(1), 31-40.

*Norona, J. C., Scharf, M., Welsh. D. P., &  Shulman, S. (2018). Predicting post-breakup distress and growth in emerging adulthood: The roles of emotion regulation and relationship experiences. Journal of Adolescence, 63, 191-193.
*Norona, J. C. & Welsh, D. P. (2017). Romantic relationship dissolution in emerging adulthood: Introduction to the Special Issue.  Emerging Adulthood, 5, 227-229. DOI: 10.1177/2167696817712801
*Norona, J. C., Welsh, D. P., Olmstead, S. B., and **Bliton, C. F. (2017). The symbolic nature of trust in adolescent romantic relationships. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 46, 1673-1684.

*Norona, J. C., Olmstead, S. B., & Welsh, D. P. (2017). Breakups in emerging adulthood: A developmental perspective of relationship dissolution. Emerging Adulthood, 5(2), 116-127. doi:10.1177/2167696816658585 

*Norona, J. C., Roberson, P. N., & Welsh, D. P. (2016). Rejection sensitivity and depressive symptoms: Longitudinal actor-partner effects in adolescent romantic relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 6-18. DOI: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.05.007

*Kivisto, K.L., Welsh, D.P., Darling, N., & *Culpepper, C. (2015).  Family enmeshment, adolescent emotional dysregulation, and the moderating role of gender.  Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 604-613. Doi:10.1037/fam0000118

*Norona, J. C., *Khaddouma, A., Welsh, D. P., & **Samawi, H. (2015).  Adolescents’ understandings of infidelity. Personal Relationships, 22(3), 431-448. DOI: 10.1111/pere.12088.

* Vasilenko, S. A., Lefkowitz, E. S., & Welsh, D. P. (2014). Is sexual behavior healthy for adolescents?  A conceptual framework for research on adolescent sexual behavior and physical, mental, and social health.  In E.S. Lefkowitz & S. A. Vasilenko (Eds.), Positive and negative outcomes of sexual behaviors.  New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 144, 3-19. doi:10.1002/cad.20057

*Norona, J. C., *Salvatore, J. F., Welsh, D. P., & Darling, N. (2014). Rejection sensitivity and adolescents’ perceptions of romantic interactions. Journal of Adolescence, 37(8), 1257-1267. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2014.09.003

Collins, W.A., Welsh, D.P., & Furman, W. (2009). Adolescent romantic relationships. Annual Review of Psychology. 60, 631-652.

Welsh, D. P. & Shulman, S. (2008). Directly observed interaction within adolescent romantic relationships: What have we learned? Journal of Adolescence, 31, 877-891.

*Haugen, P. T., Welsh, D. P., McNulty, J. (2008).  Empathic accuracy and adolescent romantic relationships.  Journal of Adolescence, 31, 709-727.

*Harper, M. S. & Welsh, D. P. (2007).  Keeping quiet:  Self-silencing and its association with relational and individual functioning among adolescent romantic couples. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 99-116.                    

*Harper, M. S.,* Dickson, J.W., & Welsh, D. P. (2006). Self-silencing and rejection sensitivity in adolescent romantic relationships. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35, 459-467.

*Grello, C. M., Welsh, D. P., & *Harper, M.S. (2006). No strings attached: The nature of casual sex in late adolescents. The Journal of Sex Research, 43, 255-267.

*Widman, L., Welsh, D. P., McNulty, J. K., & *Little, K.C. (2006). Sexual communication and contraceptive use in adolescent dating couples.  Journal of Adolescent Health, 893-899.

Welsh, D. P. & *Dickson, J. W. (2005).  Video-recall procedures for examining observational data and subjective understanding in family psychology.  Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 62-71.

Welsh, D. P., *Haugen, P.T., *Widman, L., Darling, N., & *Grello, C. M. (2005).  Kissing is good: A developmental investigation of sexuality in adolescent romantic couples. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 2, 32-41.

Welsh, D. P., *Grello, C. M., & *Harper, M.S. (2003).  When love hurts: Depression and adolescent romantic relationships.  In P. Florsheim (Ed.), Adolescent romantic relations and sexual behavior: Theory, research and practical implications (pp. 185 - 211).  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Welsh, D. P., *Rostosky, S. S., & *Kawaguchi, M.C. (2000). A normative perspective of adolescent girls' developing sexuality. In C. B. Travis & J. S. White (Eds.), Sexuality, society, and feminism: Psychological perspectives on women (pp. 111-140). Washington, D.C.: APA.

Welsh, D. P., *Galliher, R.V., *Kawaguchi, M. C., & *Rostosky, S. S. (1999). Discrepancies in adolescent romantic couples’ and observers’ perceptions of couple interaction and their relationship to mental health. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 28, 645-666.

*denotes student co-author

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