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Judith Smetana

  • Professor of Psychology

PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1978

439 Meliora Hall
(585) 275-4592

Office Hours: By appointment


Research Overview

Professor Smetana's research examines adolescent-parent relationships and development in cultural contexts; children's moral and social reasoning; and development of parenting beliefs.

My current research focuses on three areas:

(a) adolescent-parent relationships and adolescent development in different cultural contexts. We are currently conducting several studies of disclosure and nondisclosure in adolescent-parent relationships. We are focusing on adolescents' strategies for managing information about their everyday activities and parents' strategies for remaining informed about what their adolescents are doing;

(b) the development of young children's moral and social knowledge, including the development of and conceptual distinctions between children's understanding of moral and social- conventional rules and transgressions, relationships among social knowledge, affect, and behavior, and contextual influences on social and moral judgments; and

(c) parents' parenting beliefs and their relationships to parenting practices and child outcomes.

For more detail, please visit the Social Development and Family Processes Research Group website.

For more information, please visit Dr. Smetana's faculty page in the Developmental Program area.

Courses Offered (subject to change)

  • PSY 278:  Adolescent Development
  • PSY 383:  Moral Development
  • PSY 563:  Adolescent Development
  • PSY 569:  Developmental Theory and Research
  • PSY 583:  Moral Development

Selected Publications

Adolescent-Parent Relationships

  • Villalobos-Solis, M., Smetana, J. G., & Tasopoulos-Chan, M. (2016). Evaluations of conflicts between Latino values and autonomy desires among Puerto Rican adolescents. Child Development. Available online. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12687
  • Smetana, J. G., Ahmad, I., & Wray-Lake, L. (2016). Beliefs about parental authority legitimacy among refugee youth in Jordan: Between- and within-person variations. Developmental Psychology, 52, 484-495.
  • Rote, W. M., & Smetana, J. G. (2016). Beliefs about parents’ right to know: Domain distinctions and associations with change in concealment. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 26, 334-344.
  • Smetana, J. G., Ahmad, I., & Wray-Lake, L. (2015). Iraqi, Syrian, and Palestinian refugee adolescents’ beliefs about parental authority legitimacy and its correlates. Child Development, 86, 2017-2033.
  • Rote, W. M., & Smetana, J. G. (2015). Acceptability of information management strategies: Adolescents’ and parents’ judgments and links with adjustment and relationships.Journal of Research on Adolescence,25, 490-505.
  • Smetana, J. G. (2015). Goals, goal pursuit, and adolescent-parent relationships. In P. Gollwitzer & G. Oettingen (Eds.), Self Regulation in Adolescence (pp. 243-265). New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Villalobos, M., & Smetana, J. G. (2015). Associations among solicitation, relationship quality, and adolescents’ disclosure and secrecy with mothers and best friends. Journal of Adolescence, 43, 193-205.
  • Smetana, J. G., & Rote, W. (2015). What do mothers want to know about adolescents’ activities? Levels, trajectories, and correlates. Journal of Adolescence, 38, 5-15.
  • Smetana, J. G., Wong, M., Ball, C., & Yau, J. (2014). American and Chinese children’s evaluations of personal domain events and resistance to parental authority. Child Development, 85, 626-642.
  • Rote, W. M., Smetana, J. G., Campione-Barr, N., Villalobos, M., & Tasopoulos-Chan, M. (2012). Associations between observed mother-adolescent interactions and adolescents’ information management. Journal of Research on Adolescence. 22, 206-214.
  • Smetana, J. G. (2011). Adolescents, families, and social developmentHow adolescents construct their worlds. West Sussex, England: Wiley-Blackwell, Inc.
  • Amsel, E., & Smetana, J. G. (Eds., 2011). Adolescent vulnerabilities and opportunities: Constructivist and developmental perspectives. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Moral and Social Reasoning and Behavior

  • Smetana, J. G., & Ball, C. L. (2017). Young children’s moral judgments, justifications, and emotion attributions in peer relationship contexts. Child Development. Available online. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12846
  • Jambon, M., & Smetana, J. (2017). Individual differences in prototypical moral and conventional judgments and children’s proactive and reactive aggression. Child Development. Available online. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12757
  • Ball, C., Smetana, J. G., & Sturge-Apple, M. (2016). Following my head and my heart: Integrating preschoolers’ empathy, false belief understanding, and moral judgments. Child Development, 26, 146-164. Available online. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12605
  • Kim, E. B., Chen, C., Smetana, J. G., & Greenberger, E. (2016). Does children’s moral compass waver under social pressure? Using the conformity paradigm to test preschoolers’ moral and social-conventional judgments. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 150, 241-251.
  • Killen, M., & Smetana, J. G. (2015). Origins and development of morality. In M. Lamb (Ed.), Handbook of child psychology, Vol. 3, Social and emotional development (pp. 701-749).  (7th Ed., R. M. Lerner, Series Ed.). New York: Wiley/Blackwell Publishers.
  • Smetana, J. G., Jambon, M., & Ball, C. (2014). The social domain approach to children’s moral and social judgments. In M. Killen & J. G. Smetana (Eds.), Handbook of Moral Development, 2nd Edition (pp. 23-45). New York: Psychology Press.
  • Jambon, M., & Smetana, J. G. (2014). Moral complexity in middle childhood: Children’s evaluations of necessary harm. Developmental Psychology, 50, 22-33.
  • Shaw, L. A., Wainryb, C., & Smetana, J. G. (2014). Early and middle adolescents’ reasoning about moral and personal concerns in opposite sex interactions. Social Development. 23, 784-802.
  • Smetana, J. G. (2013). Young children’s moral and conventional understanding. In M. Benaji & S. Gelman (Eds.), Navigating the social world: What infants, children, and other species can teach us (pp. 352-355). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Smetana, J. G., Jambon, M., Conry-Murray, C., & Sturge-Apple, M. (2012). Reciprocal associations between young children’s developing moral judgments and theory of mind. Developmental Psychology, 48, 1144-1155.

Parenting and Parenting Beliefs

  • Rote, W., & Smetana, J. G. (in press). Children’s and adolescents’ perceptions of maternal guilt induction: Variation by features of the inductive message. Developmental Psychology.
  • Smetana, J. G. (2017). Current research on parenting styles, opinions, and beliefs. Current Opinions in Psychology. Available online. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2017.02.012
  • Smetana, J. G., & Ahmad, I. (2017). Heterogeneity in perceptions of parenting among refugee youth in Jordan. Child Development. Available online. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12844
  • Smetana, J., Robinson, J., & Rote, W. (2015). Socialization in adolescence. In J. E. Grusec & P. D. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of socialization: Theory and Research, 2nd Ed. (pp. 60 – 84). New York: Guilford Press.