Candice Odgers is a developmental psychologist who studies adolescents’ mental health and development. Her research team tracks adolescents’ daily mental health and device use via smartphones and has built new virtual tools for capturing the neighborhoods where children live and attend school.
Areas of Expertise (7)
Technology and Young People
Adolescent Mental Health
Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest Early Career Award (professional)
2015 American Psychological Association
Janet Taylor Spence Award (professional)
2012 Association for Psychological Science
Excellence in Mentorship Award (professional)
2012 Institute for Clinical and Translational Science
Early Career Contributions Award (professional)
2011 Society for Research on Child Development
Distinguished Assistant Professor Award for Research (professional)
2010 University of California, Irvine
University of Virginia: PhD, Psychology 2005
Simon Fraser University: MA 2001
Simon Fraser University: BA 1999
- Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology : Editorial Board
- Perspectives on Psychological Science : Editorial Board
Media Appearances (8)
Dr. Michael Kobor, Dr. Candice Odgers, Dr. Kim Schmidt: The hidden costs of COVID-19 for children
The Province online
The fact that severe cases of COVID-19 in children are relatively rare has led some to claim that children are “spared” from the harmful effects of the novel coronavirus. But this should not lull us into a false sense of security that the kids will be alright.
The Anxious Child and the Crisis of Modern Parenting
The Atlantic online
A stronger case can be made that social media is potentially hazardous for people who are already at risk of anxiety and depression. “What we are seeing now,” writes Candice Odgers, a professor at UC Irvine who has reviewed the literature closely, “might be the emergence of a new kind of digital divide, in which differences in online experiences are amplifying risks among [the] already-vulnerable.” For instance, kids who are anxious are more likely than other kids to be bullied—and kids who are cyberbullied are much more likely to consider suicide. And for young people who are already struggling, online distractions can make retreating from offline life all too tempting, which can lead to deepening isolation and depression.
Panicking About Your Kids’ Phones? New Research Says Don’t
New York Times online
“There doesn’t seem to be an evidence base that would explain the level of panic and consternation around these issues,” said Candice L. Odgers, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the lead author of the paper, which was published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Teens with a higher sense of family status are healthier
“The amount of financial resources children have access to is one of the most reliable predictors of their health and life chances,” says senior author Candice Odgers, a professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine. “But these findings show that how young people see their family’s place in a hierarchical system also matters. Their perceptions of social status were an equally good, and often stronger, indicator of how well they were going to do with respect to mental health and social outcomes.”
Don't Blame Technology for Young People's Mood Problems: Study
U.S. News & World Report online
"It may be time for adults to stop arguing over whether smartphones and social media are good or bad for teens' mental health and start figuring out ways to best support them in both their offline and online lives," said study co-author Candice Odgers. She's a professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Maybe Social Media Isn’t As Bad for Teens As We Thought
As Candice Odgers, a researcher and professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine, said in a statement regarding the new UCI study, "It may be time for adults to stop arguing over whether smartphones and social media are good or bad for teens' mental health and start figuring out ways to best support them in both their offline and online lives."
The Kids (Who Use Tech) Seem to Be All Right
Scientific American online
“This is an incredibly important paper,” says Candice Odgers, a psychologist studying adolescent health and technology at the University of California, Irvine, who wasn’t involved in the research. “It provides a sophisticated set of analyses and is one of the most comprehensive and careful accountings of the associations between digital technologies and well-being to date.
Poor doors highlight social costs of growing up in the shadow of wealth
The Conversation online
One of New York City’s newest luxury apartment buildings recently started accepting applications for low-income renters who will use a controversial “poor door” – a separate entrance from their wealthier neighbors who pay the full monthly rate.
Annual Research Review: Adolescent mental health in the digital age: facts, fears, and future directionsJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
2020 Adolescents are spending an increasing amount of their time online and connected to each other via digital technologies. Mobile device ownership and social media usage have reached unprecedented levels, and concerns have been raised that this constant connectivity is harming adolescents’ mental health.
Young Adolescents' Digital Technology Use, Perceived Impairments, and Well-Being in a Representative SampleThe Journal of Pediatrics
2020 To examine the cross-sectional associations between young adolescents' access, use, and perceived impairments related to digital technologies and their academic, psychological, and physical well-being.
Adolescents’ perceptions of family social status correlate with health and life chances: A twin difference longitudinal cohort studyPNAS
2020 Despite growing up in the same family, siblings do not always see their family’s social standing identically. Eighteen-year-old twins who rated their family as having higher social standing, compared with their cotwin’s rating, had fewer difficulties negotiating the transition to adulthood: they were less likely to be convicted of a crime, not in education, employment, or training, and had fewer mental health problems.
Biological embedding of experience: A primer on epigeneticsPNAS
2019 Biological embedding occurs when life experience alters biological processes to affect later life health and well-being. Although extensive correlative data exist supporting the notion that epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation underlie biological embedding, causal data are lacking. We describe specific epigenetic mechanisms and their potential roles in the biological embedding of experience.
Smartphones are bad for some teens, not allNature
2018 Last year, I received a phone call from an angry father. He had just read in the newspaper about my research suggesting that some adolescents might benefit from time spent online. Once, he raged, his children had been fully engaged with family and church and had talked non-stop at meal times. Now, as adolescents who were constantly connected to their phones, they had disappeared into their online lives.
Persistence and Fadeout in the Impacts of Child and Adolescent InterventionsJournal of Research on Educational Effectiveness
2015 Many interventions targeting cognitive skills or socioemotional skills and behaviors demonstrate initially promising but then quickly disappearing impacts. Our article seeks to identify the key features of interventions, as well as the characteristics and environments of the children and adolescents who participate in them, that can be expected to sustain persistently beneficial program impacts.
Seven Fears and the Science of How Mobile Technologies May Be Influencing Adolescents in the Digital AgePerspectives on Psychological Science
2015 Close to 90% of U.S. adolescents now own or have access to a mobile phone, and they are using them frequently. Adolescents send and receive an average of over 60 text messages per day from their devices, and over 90% of adolescents now access the Internet from a mobile device at least occasionally. Many adults are asking how this constant connectivity is influencing adolescents’ development.
Systematic social observation of children’s neighborhoods using Google Street View: a reliable and cost‐effective methodThe Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
2012 Children growing up in poor versus affluent neighborhoods are more likely to spend time in prison, develop health problems and die at an early age. The question of how neighborhood conditions influence our behavior and health has attracted the attention of public health officials and scholars for generations. Online tools are now providing new opportunities to measure neighborhood features and may provide a cost effective way to advance our understanding of neighborhood effects on child health.