Broadly, Dr. Kerrick’s program of research examines the development of self-beliefs, relationships, and identities in the context of interpersonal interactions. She is especially interested in how individuals make meaning of their experiences and their selves as emerging and early adults engaged in sexual/romantic and parental development. With a background in reproductive and maternal health, a primary aim of her work is to explore development in the context of family and health-related interactions. She engages an array of methods — quantitative, qualitative, and mixed — to understand how individuals construct their sense of self. For instance, her past research has examined how adolescents develop beliefs about the personal consequences of sex, and how emerging adult friends position their identities and work out what they want in a romantic partner through talk-in-interaction. For more information on her past research, please see her publications and presentations.
Currently, Dr. Kerrick is engaged in several research studies examining women’s psychological development as they become parents for the first time. Her research questions include how women’s experiences in prenatal care relate to their developing sense of themselves as mothers, how new mothers spontaneously describe the development of their feelings for and connection to their babies, how maternal development differs for emerging adult and adult mothers, and how women’s experiences of solitude change during the transition to parenthood. You can read more about this research in her publications.