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Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development

Sara K. Johnson

Assistant Professor

Sara K. Johnson

Assistant Professor

Phone 617-627-4449
Room 164
105 College Avenue, Medford, MA

Current Projects

I am currently the Co-Principal Investigator, with Jacqueline Lerner (Principal Investigator) of Boston College, for the Connecting Adolescents, Beliefs and Behaviors Study (CABB). Funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, the CABB study is a three-year, longitudinal, mixed method study of the role of individual (e.g., moral identity, intentional self regulation) and contextual characteristics (e.g., character role models, parenting behaviors, school climate) in promoting positive development (e.g., character attributes, contribution behaviors) of students in 6-12th grades. Student participants are from several states in New England and were recruited from schools as well as through online methods. We are collecting four waves of survey data from students, as well as one of their parents or guardians and an adult at their school (e.g., teacher, counselor, coach) who the student nominates as someone who knows them well. We are also conducting interviews with a subset of student participants.

Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut, 2012
Certificate in Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology, University of Connecticut, 2012

Adolescence and young adulthood; identity development; youth contribution; quantitative methods (including mixture models such as latent class and latent profile analyses); positive youth development

Research Interests: 

My research integrates applied developmental science and developmental methodology to understand and promote the positive development of adolescents and young adults.

Selected Publications and Presentations: 

Johnson, S. K., Buckingham, M. H., Morris, S., Suzuki, S., Aymong, C. C., Weiner, M. B., Hershberg, R. M., Fremont, E., Batanova, M., Bowers, E. P., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (in press). Adolescents' character role models: Exploring who young people look up to as examples of how to be a good person. Research in Human Development.

Johnson, S. K., Agans, J. P., Weiner, M. B., & Lerner, R. M. (2014). Profiles of civic engagement across educational transitions: Stability and change. International Journal of Developmental Science, 8 (3/4), 81-93.

Johnson, S. K., Goldman, J. A., Garey, A. I., Britner, P. A., & Weaver, S. E. (2011). Emerging adults' identity exploration: Illustrations from inside the 'camp bubble.' Journal of Adolescent Research, 26(2), 258-295.

Johnson, S. K., & Lerner, R. M. (2015). Self regulation skills and identity development in adolescence: A relational developmental systems perspective. In F. Guay, D. M. McInerney, R. Craven, & H. W. Marsh (Eds.), International advances in self research. Vol. 5. Self-concept, motivation, and identity: Underpinning success with research and practice (pp. 1, 27). Charlotte, NC: Information Age.

Bowers, E. P., Geldhof, G. J., Johnson, S. K., Hershberg, R. M., Hilliard, L. J., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (Eds.). (2015). Promoting positive youth development: Bridging the gaps between research, practice, and policy. New York: Springer.

Bowers, E. P., Geldhof, G. J., Johnson, S. K., Lerner, J. V., & Lerner, R. M. (Eds.) (2014). Thriving across the adolescent years [special issue]. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(6).

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