Jennifer Pfeifer, Department of Psychology

Jennifer Pfeifer

Practice Areas: Adolescence, Socioemotional Development, Brain Development, Puberty, Mental Health

Jennifer Pfeifer is an academic expert in adolescent social and emotional development, pubertal and neural development, and mental health. At the University of Oregon, she is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Developmental Social Neuroscience Lab, as well as Co-Director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience. She is also Co-Director of the National Scientific Council on Adolescence (, which recently released a report on anti-Black racism and inequity during adolescence. Her work includes a longitudinal project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health that examines the links between changes in adolescent girls’ bodies, brains, and social worlds relate to their current and future mental health. She also 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. Her 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. She partnered with Hopelab to run a randomized controlled trial of Nod, a smarphone app to foster social connection in late adolescents. 

Contact: | 541-346-1984


Recent Media:
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)