Call for papers for a Special Section of the Journal of Research on Adolescence:

Celebrating the Legacy and Work of John Schulenberg: Taking the Long View on Adolescence

Dr. John Schulenberg was a researcher focused on adolescence with a lifespan focus. The overriding theme of John’s research was illuminating the importance of adolescence in the life course, which he did while paying particular attention to substance use and its consequences. In his 2016 SRA Presidential Address, John referred to this as “Taking the Long View” on adolescence. Central to his focus on taking the long view was embracing developmental continuity and discontinuity. For example, consistent with a long-term continuity perspective where development entails progression and individual coherence over time, one theme of John’s scholarship was long-term developmental connections or how childhood experiences inform adolescent pathways and, in turn, how adolescent pathways inform long-term health and functioning (Schulenberg et al., 2018; Schulenberg & Maggs, 2002). Although development is often characterized by continuity, adolescent functioning is not necessarily a direct effect of childhood functioning nor is adult functioning necessarily a direct effect of adolescent functioning. Instead, the effects of early experiences may be amplified, neutralized, or reversed by later experiences. Such developmentally proximal influences introduce discontinuity, whereby current functioning and adjustment is due more to recent and current contexts and experiences than to earlier ones. Thus, taking the long view on adolescent development ties into a second theme of John’s scholarship which was the interplay of developmentally distal and more proximal effects and how they comingle to either work together to solidify an ongoing trajectory or work in competition such that distal effects are negated, reversed, or enhanced by more proximal effects (Schulenberg et al., 2004; 2018; 2019). Developmental transitions, which can have proximal effects on developmental trajectories that counteract developmentally distal effects and thereby prompt discontinuity, include transformations in individuals, their contexts, and the relations between individuals and their contexts across the life course. Because transitions are dense during adolescence, a third theme of John’s scholarship was adolescence as a turning point or how developmental transitions during adolescence and the transition to adulthood can translate into inflection points that reflect positive or negative long-term changes in development (Schulenberg et al., 2018; Schulenberg & Maslowsky, 2015). A fourth and longstanding theme of John’s scholarship was adolescence and the transition to adulthood as a developmental disturbance (Schulenberg et al., 2001; 2004; 2019). In contrast to turning points, developmental disturbances reflect short-term responses to transitions that result in more acute deviations in developmental course, such that once individuals are given time to adjust to a transition, they might resume their prior, ongoing trajectory. In such cases, a transition may simply result in short-term discontinuity that subsides and thus does not inform developmental course over the long term or predict later functioning in adulthood.

In this special section of the Journal of Research on Adolescence, we seek articles that celebrate John Schulenberg’s legacy and heed his call to take the long view on adolescence by addressing one or more of the four major themes identified above: (1) Long-term developmental connections; (2) Interplay of developmentally distal and more proximal effects; (3) Turning points; and (4) Developmental disturbances. Manuscripts should be original empirical studies or literature reviews and incorporate the developmental period of adolescence (ages 10-24). We encourage manuscripts that include developmental periods in addition to adolescence (e.g., childhood, young adulthood) and take a lifespan perspective.

Special section editors: Justin Jager, Ph.D. ([email protected]) and Megan Patrick, Ph.D. ([email protected]).

Abstracts due: June 1, 2023; Invited full-length manuscripts due: October 1, 2023

Abstract Instructions
Abstracts (1-2 single-spaced pages, up to 1 page of references, 1-2 tables and/or figures) must include:
- Brief description of the introduction, methods, and preliminary results
- Relevance to Special Section and alignment with its major themes
- Names, affiliations, and email addresses of all authors

We welcome abstract submissions for this special section by email to [email protected]. Please indicate “JRA Schulenberg special issue” in the subject line of the email.


Schulenberg, J. E., & Maggs, J. L. (2002). A developmental perspective on alcohol use and heavy drinking during adolescence and the transition to young adulthood. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement, (14), 54-70.
Schulenberg, J., Maggs, J. L., Long, S. W., Sher, K. J., Gotham, H. J., Baer, J. S., ... & Zucker, R. A. (2001). The problem of college drinking: Insights from a developmental perspective. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 25(3), 473-477.
Schulenberg, J., & Maslowsky, J. (2015). Contribution of adolescence to the life course: What matters most in the long run? Research in Human Development, 12(3-4), 319-326. doi:10.1080/15427609.2015.1068039
Schulenberg, J., Maslowsky, J., Maggs, J. L., & Zucker, R. A. (2018). Development matters: Taking the long view on substance use during adolescence and the transition to adulthood. In P. M. Monti, S. M. Colby, & T. O. Tevyaw (Eds.), Brief interventions for adolescent alcohol and substance abuse (pp. 13–49). The Guilford Press.
Schulenberg, J., Maslowsky, J., Patrick, M. E., & Martz, M. (2019). Substance use in the context of adolescent development. In R. A. Zucker & S. A. Brown (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of adolescent substance abuse (pp. 19–35). Oxford University Press.
Schulenberg, J. E., Sameroff, A. J., & Cicchetti, D. (2004). The transition to adulthood as a critical juncture in the course of psychopathology and mental health. Development and Psychopathology, 16, 799-806. DOI: 10.10170S0954579404040015