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Friendships, Identity, and Well-being Among Diverse California Youth and Implications for Life After the COVID -19 Pandemic

November 17, 2021 @ 12:00 pm 1:00 pm

The first 21 years of the 21st century have been a continuous period of major social, cultural, demographic, economic and political changes. From the September 11 terrorist attacks, to the Great Recession, to marriage rights for same-sex couples, to the climate crisis, to the immigrant and refugee crisis on the southern border, to the Black Lives Matter movement, to the COVID-19 pandemic, to becoming a “majority-minority” state and country in the foreseeable future, the entire life context of today’s youth has been a cycle of rapid and often unexpected opportunities, challenges and disruptions. California has often been at the epicenter of these events. What has this meant for the adolescents and young adults of our state?

In this session, two UC faculty will discuss their research on California youth of diverse ethnic, racial, sexual and gender identities. Dr. Phillip Hammack, Professor and Chair of Psychology at UC Santa Cruz, will discuss the processes of identity development for sexual and gender diverse teens living in coastal, more urban versus central, more rural parts of northern California, and the implications for social policy to support adolescent health and well-being. Dr. Adrienne Nishina, Professor of Human Ecology at UC Davis, will present her research on the benefits of ethnic and racial diversity in schools and neighborhoods, and the implications of the remote-schooling, stay-at-home guidelines and other consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for adolescents’ social, academic and professional development.

Co-sponsored by the UC Adolescence Consortium.

Phillip L Hammack

Dr. Phillip L. Hammack

Dr. Phillip L. Hammack is Professor and Chair of Psychology and Director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is an expert on the role of culture and context in human development and has published widely in developmental and social psychology. His current research examines sexual and gender diversity in cultural and historical context.

Dr. Adrienne Nishina

Dr. Adrienne Nishina is a Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis.  Her research focuses on peer relationships during adolescence and emerging adulthood.  Specifically she examines young people’s exposure to peers from diverse ethnic backgrounds in the context of schools, and how these critical social experiences are connected to short and longer-term academic, psychological, social, and physical well-being. 

Paul Hastings

Dr. Paul Hastings


Dr. Paul Hastings is a developmental psychologist and Professor of Psychology, past Chair of Psychology, and past Interim Dean of the School of Education at the University of California Davis. He is a member of the UC Consortium on the Developmental Science of Adolescence, the Center for Poverty and Inequality Research and the Center for Mind and Brain, where he directs the Healthy Emotions, Relationships and Development Laboratory (HERD Lab).