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Deborah Welsh

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

Web site:
Phone: (865) 974-8540

Key words: Adolescent romantic relationships, adolescent friendships, gender, family relationships, couples, transition to college, and emerging adulthood.

Research Interests

Adolescent romantic relationships

Research statement

My current research focuses understanding adolescent relationships and their impact on adolescent functioning.  Specifically, my research is focused on (1) understanding the development of adolescents' romantic relationships and (2) understanding relationship-related factors that are associated with the successful transition to college. My examination of adolescents' romantic relationships uses observational methodologies and video recall techniques to understand participants' own perceptions of the meaning of their interactions with their romantic partners' interactions. I am interested in how romantic relationships develop over adolescence, how contextual and personal variables (such as gender, identity and intimacy development, temperament, cultural context, and religious context) impact romantic relationships, and how romantic relationships impact adolescent functioning.  I am also interested examining how late adolescents' communications with family, romantic partners, and peers impact their transition to college.

  • Editorial Board, Journal of Family Psychology (2007-present)
  • UT Grant Writing Institute Mentor (2010)
  • Senior North American Scholar/Mentor for the SRA 2010 International Young Scholars Program (2008; 2010)
  • 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)
  • UTK 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)

Norona, J. C., Khaddouma, A., Welsh, D. P., & Samawi, H. (in press).  Adolescents' understandings of infidelity. Personal Relationships.

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

*Little, K. C., Welsh, D.P., Darling, N., & * Holmes, R. (2011). "I can't talk about it:" Sexuality and self-silencing as interactive predictors of depressive symptoms in adolescent dating couples. Journal of Adolescence. 34, 789-794.

*Langlais, M. R., *Kivisto, K. L., & Welsh, D. P. (2010). Communication and sexual behaviors within adolescent couples. Psi Chi, 15, 194-202.

Powers, S.I., Battle, C. L., Dorta, K., & Welsh, D. P. (2010). Adolescents' submission and conflict behaviors with mothers predicts current and future internalizing problems. Research in Human Development, 7(4), 257–273.

*Smith, J.D., Welsh, D.P., & Fite, P. (2010).  Adolescents' relational schemas and their subjective understanding of romantic relationship interactions. Journal of Adolescence, 33, 147-157.

Buehler, C. & Welsh, D. P. (2009). A process model of adolescents' triangulation into parents' marital conflict: The mediating role of emotional reactivity.  Journal of Family Psychology, 23, 167-180.

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

Lounsbury, J. W., Fisher, L. A., Levy, J. J., & Welsh, D. P. (2009).  An investigation of character strengths in relation to the academic success of college students.  Individual Differences Research, 1, 52-69.

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.

Welsh, D. P. & Shulman, S. (2008). Introduction: Observational investigations of adolescent romantic relationships. Journal of Adolescence, 31, 669-670.

*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.

*Galliher, R. V., Welsh, D. P.,* Rostosky, S. S, & *Kawaguchi, M. C. (2004). Interaction and relationship quality in late adolescent romantic couples.  Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 21, 203-216.

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.

*Grello, C. M., Welsh, D. P., *Harper, M. S. & *Dickson, J. W (2003). Dating and sexual relationship trajectories and adolescent functioning.  Adolescent & Family Health, 3, 103-112.

*Rostosky, S. S., *Galliher, R.C., Welsh, D. P., & *Kawaguchi, M.C. (2000).  Sexual behaviors and relationship qualities in late adolescent couples.  Journal of Adolescence, 23, 583-597.

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.

*Galliher, R. V., *Rostosky, S. S., Welsh, D. P., & *Kawaguchi, M. C. (1999). Power and psychological well-being in late adolescent romantic relationships. Sex Roles, 40, 689-710.

*Rostosky, S., Welsh, D. P., & *Kawaguchi, M. C., *Vickerman, R. C. (1999).  Commitment and sexual behaviors in adolescent dating couples.  In W. Jones &  J. Adams (Eds.) Handbook of Interpersonal Commitment and Relationship Stability (pp. 323-338). New York: Plenum.

Welsh, D. P., *Galliher, R. V., & Powers, S. I. (1998).  Divergent realities and perceived inequalities: Adolescents', mothers', and observers' perceptions of family interactions and adolescent psychological functioning. Journal of Adolescent Research, 13, 377-402.

Powers, S. I., & Welsh, D. P. (1998).  Mother-daughter interactions and adolescent girls' depression. In M. Cox and J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Conflict and cohesion in families: Causes and consequences (pp. 243-281).  Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

*Kawaguchi, M. C., Welsh, D. P., Powers, S. I., & *Rostosky, S. (1998).  Mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters: Temperament, gender, and adolescent-parent relationships.  Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 44, 77-96.

*denotes student

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