Sophia Choukas-Bradley, Ph.D. 

Lab Director

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Delaware. I hold an A.B. (B.A.) degree in Psychology from Brown University (2008) and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2016). Before beginning my first faculty position in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychology in 2017, I completed a pre-doctoral clinical internship and a post-doctoral fellowship in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry (Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic). I joined the University of Delaware’s Clinical Science Program in June 2020.


My research focuses on understanding interpersonal and sociocultural influences on adolescent mental health, with an emphasis on gender and sexuality. A clinical psychologist by training, I integrate developmental and social psychology theories and methods into my work. Much of my research focuses on adolescents' social media use, including its influence on peer relationships, mental health, and wellbeing. I’m especially passionate about understanding the role of social media in adolescent girls' self-objectification and body image. Additionally, I have a growing line of work focused on body image and mental health among LGBTQ+ youth. Across my areas of work, I use a range of study designs and methods, including laboratory-based studies that integrate eye-tracking technology; qualitative interviews, which allow us to hear adolescents' own words and inform the development of larger-scale studies; longitudinal school-based studies, through which we can examine a broad range of behaviors over time; and anonymous online surveys, which allow us to reach understudied populations (e.g., transgender adolescents who are not out to their parents). I also collaborate with neuroscientists to understand adolescents' brain responses to social media experiences. While most of my research has focused on basic science, I’m currently collaborating on several intervention development projects.


As the director of the Teen and Young Adult Lab (TAYA Lab), I strive to foster an inclusive, warm, and collaborative research lab. I’m passionate about mentoring undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-baccalaureate trainees who are interested in gaining research experience between college and grad school. If you’re interested in learning about opportunities to join the TAYA Lab research team, please visit our Join the Lab page. You can also learn more about our current and recent work on the Research Projects and Publications pages.

Annie Maheux, M.S.

Graduate Student

Annie joined the TAYA Lab in the fall of 2018 as a joint Ph.D. student of Developmental and Social Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She will continue her graduate studies and her work in the TAYA Lab at the University of Delaware beginning in the fall of 2020. A 2020 recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, Annie graduated in 2015 with a B.A. in psychology from the University of Vermont and completed an M.S. in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2020, where her master’s thesis investigated the longitudinal associations between adolescents’ social media use, appearance-related social media consciousness, and depressive symptoms. Broadly, Annie’s research examines sociocultural influences on adolescent development, with a focus on the role of gender in academic achievement, sexuality, and mental health, particularly through the routes of gender socialization, peer influence, media messages, and social media use. Annie’s interdisciplinary work seeks to unite basic social psychological research with multi-methodological investigations of development—including using eye-tracking, implicit association tests, ecological momentary assessment, and both quantitative and qualitative designs—to address gender disparities and enhance well-being for all adolescents. Annie is also passionate about social justice work. She has prior experience in crisis-based social work and as a middle school teacher in rural India. She now mentors undergraduate students with special attention to building knowledge and confidence in advanced statistical methods among young female scientists. During her time at Pitt, she served as chair of the Outreach Subcommittee of Pitt’s Psychology Equity, Inclusion, and Community Committee.

Savannah Roberts, B.S.

Graduate Student

Savannah joined the TAYA Lab in the fall of 2019 as a joint Ph.D. student of Clinical and Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. Savannah will be continuing her graduate studies at the University of Delaware beginning in the fall of 2020. In the TAYA Lab, she is currently researching body image, disordered eating, and feminist identity in gender minority youth. She is interested in understanding the development of body dissatisfaction and disordered eating in sexual and gender minority youth, as well as assessing the effect of social media on adolescents’ body image broadly. Previously, she coordinated NIH clinical trials for obesity in the Center for Weight, Eating, and Lifestyle Science at Drexel University. Savannah graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Western Washington University in 2016, where she researched the effect of gender on the perception of anorexia nervosa. 

Brianna Ladd, B.A.

Lab Manager

Brianna joined the TAYA Lab in the summer of 2019. She graduated first-generation from UNC Chapel Hill in 2019 with a B.A. in Psychology. At UNC, she was involved in research that focused on the role of the classroom context on children’s executive function and academic achievement. She was also involved in research with the Peer Relations Lab that investigated suicidal behavior and the role of peer influence on adolescent risk behavior. Brianna is interested in how sociocultural contexts, interpersonal relationships, and sexual experiences influence body image and sexual and gender identity development. She is also interested in using a feminist framework to examine mental health among populations at the intersection of racial, sexual, and gender minority identities, as well as the social justice implications of research in this area. Brianna hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology in the future. 

Former Lab Members

Post-baccalaureate Alumni

Chloe Bryen, B.A.

TAYA Lab Manager

Current Position: Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, Florida State University

Emily Carrino, B.A.

TAYA Lab Manager

Current Position: Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, UNC-Chapel Hill

Madelaine Romito, B.A.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Masters Student in Counseling, Northeastern Illinois University

Yiyao Zhou, B.A.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Doctoral Student in Counseling Psychology, University of Indiana

Undergraduate Alumni

Uma Balaji

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Undergraduate Senior, University of Pittsburgh

Sarah Drexler, B.S.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Research Coordinator, Drexel University

Megan Kundra

TAYA Research Assistant

Emma Stewart, B.S.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Lease Analyst, JLL,

Pittsburgh, PA

Tori Blazinski, B.S.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Research Specialist, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Julia Friedman

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Undergraduate Senior, University of Pittsburgh

Kendra Plummer, B.S.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position:  Intake Coordinator, Child and Family Institute, NY

Laura Boyajian, B.S.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Research Coordinator,

Drexel University

Haley Henry, B.S.

TAYA Research Assistant

Current Position: Clinical Research Specialist, Duke University

Madeline Rushlau

TAYA Research Assistant

Evelyn Zamora-Vargas

TAYA Research Assistant

TAYA Lab Gallery 


September 2017 - The First Lab Members

From left: Emily Carrino, Madeline Rushlau, Sophie Choukas-Bradley, Chloe Bryen, & Tori Blazinkski

July 2018 - Conference in Madrid

Sophie Choukas-Bradley with her long-time collaborator Dr. Laura Widman, at the International Academy of Sex Research conference in Madrid

Fall 2017 Lab Members

From top left: Emily Carrino, Sophie Choukas-Bradley, Chloe Bryen, Madeline Rushlau, Madelaine Romito, & Tori Blazinkski

October 2018 - Soergel's Orchard

Lab managers Chloe Bryen and Emily Carrino

April 2018 - Undergraduate Student Research Poster Session

From left: Chloe Bryen, Yiyao Zhou, Emma Stewart, Tori Blazinkski, Madeline Rushlau, Sophie Choukas-Bradley, & Emily Carrino.

Not pictured: Madelaine Romito & Julia Friedman

Fall 2018 Lab Members

Front row from left: Evelyn Zamora-Vargas, Chloe Bryen, Emily Carrino, Sophie Choukas-Bradley, Megan Kundra, Madeline Rushlau, Emma Stewart. Back row from left: Julia Friedman, Yiyao Zhou, Annie Maheux, Uma Balaji, Madelaine Romito. 

December 2018 - Holiday Lab Party

From left: Sophie Choukas-Bradley, Emily Carrino, Uma Balaji, Yiyao Zhou, Annie Maheux, Megan Kundra, Julia Friedman, Emma Stewart, Madelaine Romito, and Chloe Bryen

Not pictured: Madeline Rushlau

March 2019 - SRCD

Biennial Meeting

March 2019 - SRCD

Biennial Meeting

Lab manager, Emily Carrino.

From left: Annie Maheux, Sophie Choukas-Bradley, Emily Carrino, Chloe Bryen, Yiyao Zhou

March 2019 - Research Symposium

March 2019 - SRCD

Biennial Meeting

Annie Maheux at the 7th Annual Adolescent and Young Adult Health Research Symposium at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

August 2019: Welcoming New Lab Members, Pitt's Cathedral of Learning

Lab manager, Chloe Bryen.

From left to right: Lab manager Bri Ladd, lab director Sophie Choukas-Bradley, and grad students Annie Maheux and Savannah Roberts

University of Delaware

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

Wolf Hall

105 The Green

Newark, DE 19716

(Operating remotely due to COVID-19)

Teen and Young Adult Lab

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© January 2021