Christy Buchanan

Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Psychology Department
Greene Hall 449
(336) 758-5123

  • Research Interests & Relevant Publications

    Generally, my research is aimed at understanding how characteristics of the family and of the individual influence adjustment during this time of life. Specific interests include stereotypes of adolescents, and evaluating the perspective that adolescence is a time of “storm and stress”; the origins and consequences of parenting beliefs and practices among parents of adolescents; ethnic and cultural similarities and differences in expectations for adolescents, parenting of adolescents, and adolescent development; and the development of civic behavior and citizenship. Examples of my publications, grouped roughly by topic, include:

    Stereotypes of Adolescents, and Evaluating the Perspective that Adolescence is a Time of “Storm and Stress”

    As a graduate student, I was struck by the contrast between descriptions of adolescence driven by lay conceptions vs. those that could be derived from scientific data. Then and now, I argue that data lead to more positive characterizations of adolescents than are typically found in casual conversation or popular outlets. I have published reviews evaluating the more negative “storm and stress” perspective (or components of it, such as the idea that hormones are a driving force), as well as empirical research on the impact of “storm and stress” stereotypes. My research suggests that negative stereotypes about adolescents exaggerate the negative and can lead to expectations for specific children that are more negative than they should be based on the child’s history of behavior. Parents’ negative expectations consistent with stereotypes also predict a decline in parenting self-efficacy over the years that children move into adolescence, above and beyond the child’s actual negative behavior. Furthermore, negative expectations for a young adolescent child (on the part of mothers and of the children themselves) predict more negative perceived parent-child relationships and more risk-taking and difficult behavior over time.

    • Buchanan, C. M., & Hughes, J. L. (2016). Storm and stress. In R.J. R. Levesque (Ed.) Encyclopedia of adolescence. NY:  DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-32132-5_111-2
    • Glatz, T. & Buchanan, C. M. (2015). Change and predictors of change in parental self-efficacy from early to middle adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1367-1379.
    • Buchanan, C. M., & Hughes, J. L. (2009). Construction of social reality during early adolescence: Can expecting storm and stress increase storm and stress? Journal of Research on Adolescence, 19, 261-285.
    • Buchanan, C.M. (2003). Mothers’ generalized beliefs about adolescents: Links to expectations for a specific child. Journal of Early Adolescence, 23, 29-50.
    • Whiteman, S.D., & Buchanan, C.M. (2002). Mother’s and children’s expectations for adolescence: The impact of perceptions of an older sibling’s experience. Journal of Family Psychology, 16, 157-171.
    • Buchanan, C. M. & Holmbeck, G. (1998). Measuring beliefs about adolescent personality and behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 27, 609-629.
    • Buchanan, C. M., Eccles, J. S., & Becker, J. B. (1992). Are adolescents the victims of raging hormones?: Evidence for activational effects of hormones on moods and behavior at adolescence. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 62-107.
    • Buchanan, C. M., Eccles, J. S., Flanagan, C., Midgley, C., Feldlaufer, H., & Harold, R. (1990). What parents and teachers believe about adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 19, 363-394.

    Parenting Beliefs and Practices Among Parents of Adolescents

    A prominent theme of my research is parenting beliefs and practices, with a particular and growing interest in how these vary in different contexts, including different cultural or ethnic groups. One parenting belief of special interest is parenting self-efficacy, because of its theoretical connection to negative stereotypes and expectations of adolescence, a connection I and colleagues have documented empirically in some of our work. Our work also documents a drop in parenting self-efficacy as children enter adolescence, and contributes to literature establishing parenting self-efficacy as an importance influence on parenting practices. Research from my lab also points to ethnic, cultural, and historical differences in parents’ beliefs.

    • Buchanan, C. M., Glatz, T., Kiang, L., & Richwine, R. (2021). Beliefs about expressing love to adolescents among ethnically and economically diverse mothers. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-020-01347-2
    • Glatz, T., & Buchanan, C. M. (2021). Trends in parental self-efficacy between 1999 and 2014. Journal of Family Studies.
    • Glatz, T., Crowe, E., & Buchanan, C. (2018). Internet-specific parental self-efficacy: Developmental differences and links to Internet-specific mediation. Computers in Human Behavior, 84, 8–17.
    • Kiang, L, Glatz, T., & Buchanan, C. M. (2017). Acculturation conflict, cultural parenting self-efficacy and perceived parenting competence in Asian American and Latino/a families. Family Process, 56, 943-961. DOI: 1111/famp.12266
    • Glatz, T., Cotter, A., & Buchanan, C. M. (2016). Children’s behaviors as moderators for the link between parental self-efficacy and parenting practices. Journal of Child and Family Studies. doi:10.1007/s10826-016-0623-2
    • Glatz, T. & Buchanan, C. M. (2015a). Change and predictors of change in parental self-efficacy from early to middle adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 51, 1367-1379.
    • Glatz, T., & Buchanan, C. M. (2015b). Over-time associations among parental self-efficacy, promotive parenting practices, and adolescents’ externalizing behaviors. Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 427-437.
    • Buchanan, C. M., Grzywacz, J. G., & Costa, L. N. (2013). Maternal beliefs and parenting among southern African-American mothers of adolescents (pp. 190-221). In A.S. Parent Jr. & U. Wiethaus (Eds.), Trauma and resilience in American Indian and African American southern history (pp. 190-221). NY: Peter Lang Publishers.
    • Dore, R. A., Stone, E. R. & Buchanan, C. M. (2014). A social values analysis of parental decision making. The Journal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied, 148, 477-504,

    Parenting and Adolescent Adjustment

    Another arm of my research focuses directly on parenting practices and/or adolescent adjustment, as well as the association between the two. In recent years, this work has often examined whether parenting practices or their impact differ in different cultural or ethnic groups. Among other things, my students, colleagues, and I have documented important ethnic differences in parenting practices, and different associations between “authoritative” or “authoritarian” practices and adolescents’ perceptions of love from parents. In other work, colleagues and I have examined physiological contributions to parenting or adolescent adjustment.

    • Fletcher, A. C., Buehler, C., Buchanan, C. M., & Weymouth, B. B. (2017). Parenting stressors and young adolescents’ depressive symptoms: Does high vagal suppression offer protection? Physiology and Behavior, 170, 78-87. PMID: 27979628.
    • Buchanan, C. M., & Bobbitt, S. G. (2016). Parenting for adolescent well-being in the American Indian community. In U. Wiethaus, C. Beasley, & M. A. Jacobs (Eds.), American Indian Women of Proud Nations (pp. 125-142). NY: Peter Lang Publishers.
    • Glatz, T., & Buchanan, C. M. (2015b). Over-time associations among parental self-efficacy, promotive parenting practices, and adolescents’ externalizing behaviors. Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 427-437. doi: 10.1037/fam0000076.
    • Kiang, L., & Buchanan, C. M. (2014). Same-day and lagged associations between daily stress and emotional well-being among Asian American adolescents. Developmental Psychology, 50, 611-621.
    • Jackson-Newsom, J., Buchanan, C. M., & McDonald, R. (2008). Parenting and perceived maternal warmth in European American and African American adolescents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 70, 62-75.
    • Waizenhofer, R.N., Buchanan, C.M., & Jackson-Newsom, J. (2004). Parents’ knowledge of adolescents’ daily activities: Its sources and its links with adolescent adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 18, 348-360.
    • Rogers, K. N., Buchanan, C. M., & Winchell, M. E. (2003). Psychological control during early adolescence: Links to adjustment in different parent/adolescent dyads. Journal of Early Adolescence, 23, 349-383.
    • Connolly, S. D., Paikoff, R. L., & Buchanan, C. M. (1996). Puberty: The interplay of biological and psychosocial processes in adolescence. In G. Adams, R. Montemayor, & T. Gullotta (Eds.), Psychosocial development in adolescence: Vol 8. Advances in adolescent development (pp. 259-299). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
    • Buchanan, C. M. (1991). Pubertal status in early-adolescent girls: Relations to moods, energy, and restlessness. Journal of Early Adolescence, 11, 185-200.

    Development of Civic Attitudes and Engagement During Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

    I am interested in understanding the positive developments that take place during adolescence and emerging adulthood and how these can be enhanced. One way this interest has manifested itself in my research is through studies of how culture and educational experiences (at both the secondary school and college level) are related to civic attitudes and engagement during adolescence and emerging adulthood.  Several of the publications in this area document the long-term impact of college experiences in deliberative dialogue on young adults’ citizenship.

    • McMillan, J. J., Harriger, K. J., Buchanan, C. M., & Gusler, S. (2018). Life outside the bubble: Reflections from Wake Forest University alumni. Diversity and Democracy (Special issue on Democracy’s Graduates: Reimagining Alumnihood), 21(2), 20-22.
    • McMillan, J. J., Harriger, K. J., Buchanan, C. M., & Gusler, S. (2018). The new civic persona: Organizational/institutional citizenship reimagined. In O. Ilen and R. L. Heath (Eds.), Handbook of organizational rhetoric and communication: Foundations of dialogue, discourse, narrative and engagement (pp. 215-227). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Harriger, K., McMillan, J., Buchanan, C., & Gusler, S. (2017). Learning to deliberate: Implications for political participation after college. In I. Marin & Minor, R. (Eds.), Beyond politics as usual: Paths for engaging college students in politics (pp. 207-231). Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation Press.
    • Harriger, K., McMillan, J., Buchanan, C., & Gusler, S. (2016). The long-term impact of learning to deliberate: A follow-up study of Democracy Fellows and a class cohort. Dayton, OH: Kettering Foundation Press.
    • Harriger, K., McMillan, J. J., Buchanan, C. M., & Gusler, S. (2015). The long-term impact of learning to deliberate.  Diversity and Democracy (Special issue on Student and Institutional Engagement in Public Life), 18(4), 27-28.
    • Ballard, P. J., Caccavale, L., & Buchanan, C. M. (2015). Civic orientation in cultures of privilege: What role do schools play? Youth & Society. 47, 70-94. DOI: 10.1177/0044118X14538464
    • Jahromi, P., Crocetti, E., & Buchanan, C. M. (2012). A cross-cultural examination of adolescent civic engagement: Comparing Italian and American volunteerism and political involvement. Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, 40, 22-36.
    • Crocetti, E., Jahromi, P., & Buchanan, C. M. (2012). Commitment to community and political involvement: A cross-cultural study with Italian and American adolescents. Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities & Social Sciences Quarterly, 22, 375-389. DOI: 10.2478/s13374-012-0031-2

    Academic Advising

    As a result of a stint in administration, I have published a bit on the topic of academic advising.

    • Scholl, M. B., Buchanan, C. M., & Suess, E. (2020). Academic and career issues. In Paladino, D. A., Gonzalez, L. M., & Watson, J. C. (Eds.), College Counseling and Student Development Services: Addressing the Needs of the Contemporary College Student (pp. 299 – 316). Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association.

    Divorce, Custody, and Marital Conflict

    In the 1990s and early 2000s, a main focus of my research concerned how divorce, custody arrangements, and interparental conflict affect the relationships between adolescents and parents, and how the patterns of relationships that develop in families where parents divorce affect adolescent adjustment. An important conclusion emerging from this work is that adolescent adjustment after divorce depends heavily on the family processes (e.g., parenting, conflict) that take place in the family after divorce. Although divorce is difficult, so is life in a family with high conflict, and there are many things parents and others can do to help adolescents thrive after divorce.

    • Buchanan, C. M., & Jahromi, P. L. (2008). A psychological perspective on shared custody arrangements. Wake Forest University Law Review, 2, 419-439.
    • Buchanan, C.M., & Williams, A. (2006). Issues of visitation and custody. In G.G. Bear & K.M. Minke (Eds.), Children’s needs III: Development, prevention, and interventions (pp. 759-770). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.
    • Buchanan, C.M. (2005). Girls’ adjustment to divorce and remarriage. In D.J. Bell, S.L. Foster, & E.J. Mash (Eds.), Handbook of behavioral and emotional problems in girls (pp. 415-438). New York: Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers.
    • Buchanan, C. M., & Waizenhofer, R. (2001). The impact of interparental conflict on adolescent children: Considerations of family systems and family structure. In A. Booth, A. C. Crouter, & M. Clements (Eds.), Couples in conflict (pp. 149-160). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.
    • Buchanan, C.M., & Heiges, K.L. (2001). When conflict continues after the marriage ends: Effects of post-divorce conflict on children. In J.H. Grych & F.D. Fincham (Eds.), Interparental conflict and child development (pp. 337-362). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
    • Buchanan, C. M. (2000). The impact of divorce on adjustment during adolescence. In R. D. Taylor & M. Wang (Eds.), Resilience across contexts: Family, work, culture, and community (pp. 179-216). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
    • Buchanan, C.M., Maccoby, E.E., & Dornbusch, S.M. (1996). Adolescents after divorce. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    • Monahan, S. C., Buchanan, C. M., Maccoby, E. E., & Dornbusch, S. M. (1993). Sibling differences in divorced families. Child Development, 64, 152-168.
    • Buchanan, C. M., Maccoby, E. E., & Dornbusch, S. (1992). Adolescents and their families after divorce: Three residential arrangements compared. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 2, 261-291.
    • Buchanan, C. M., Maccoby, E. E., & Dornbusch, S. (1991). Caught between parents: Adolescents’ experience in divorced homes. Child Development, 62, 1008-1029.
  • Courses
    • Introduction to Psychology
    • Developmental Psychology
    • Child Development and Social Policy
    • Parent-Child Relationships
    • Contemporary Issues in Adolescent Development
    • Seminar in Developmental Psychology (Graduate Level)
    • Vienna’s Psychologists (taught in Vienna, Spring 2001)
  • Curriculum Vitae