Dr. Kerrick received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz. Her program of research centers on the dynamics of how individuals use talk to construct relationships, self-beliefs, and identity positions. Specifically, she examines how adolescents and young adults construct their selves by talking with others about sexual and romantic concerns, and their experiences of carrying, bearing and caring for their first child, with a focus on family and health-related contexts. She uses a mixed method approach that combines qualitative and quantitative analyses and an array of methods, including longitudinal research, surveys, interviews, and naturalistic observation.


Dr. Kerrick’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the UC Global Health Institute’s Women’s Health, Gender & Empowerment Center of Expertise, and the UC Santa Cruz Chancellor’s Office. Her research has been published in a range of peer-reviewed journals.