Jennifer Pfeifer, Department of Psychology

Jennifer Pfeifer

Co-director, Center for Translational Neuroscience
Practice Areas: Adolescence, Socioemotional Development, Brain Development, Puberty, Mental Health

Faculty bio | 541-346-1984

Professor Jennifer Pfeifer is the co-director of the National Scientific Council on Adolescence. She is the co-author of a report on digital technology use and early adolescents. Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Science Foundation, and the Oregon Medical Research Foundation. A longitudinal project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health examines the links between changes in adolescent girls’ bodies, brains, and social worlds relate to their current and future mental health. She developed a repository of materials to assess adolescents’ responses to the COVID pandemic, which was used by over 50 research groups worldwide and fostered collaborative efforts to assess pandemic impacts on adolescent socioemotional functioning and mental health. Pfeifer’s work also includes a longitudinal project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that examines late adolescents’ transitions to college, and how factors like autonomy, self-regulation, and social connection relate to adjustment and well-being over the course of freshman year and beyond.

Recent Media:
Portland-area middle schools, walloped by bullying, fights and unrest in pandemic’s wake, remain on the brink (The Oregonian, Feb. 5, 2023)
Social Media Use Is Linked to Brain Changes in Teens, Research Finds (The New York Times, Jan. 3, 2023)
What neuroscience tells us about the teenage brain (Monitor on Neuroscience, Aug. 25, 2022)
Report offers suggestions for supporting teens experiencing racism (Oregon Public Broadcasting, Sept. 22, 2021)
New report looks at anti-Black racism during adolescence (Around the O, Aug. 30, 2021)
Teens aren't just risk machines – there's a method to their madness (Yahoo News, Dec. 27, 2020)
Experts say this is what children need to survive the COVID-19 pandemic (USA Today, Dec. 22, 2020)
Children of Quarantine: What does a year of isolation and anxiety do to a developing brain? (The Cut, Nov. 24, 2020)
Hopelab and Grit Digital Health Announce New Data on Nod, an App to Combat Loneliness in College Students (Markets Insider, Oct. 20, 2020)
Research team addresses coronavirus impact on families (Around the O, April 22, 2020)
Researchers Baldwin, Measelle, Pfeifer and Caouette Examine Youth and Teen Behavior (Around the O, Jan. 21, 2020)
Brain Scans, Saliva Tests, and Baby Teeth: Inside the Massive, Government-Funded Effort to Understand How Kids’ Brains Develop (Mother Jones, Aug. 30, 2019) 
Teens aren’t just risk machines – there’s a method to their madness (The Conversation, Feb. 6, 2018)