SOVA (Supporting Our Valued Adolescents)

Supervising Faculty:
Dr. Dana Rofey

Dr. Ana Radovic,

Area of Research: mental health, depression, anxiety

Description of Research:
SOVA (Supporting Our Valued Adolescents) is a research project that aims to study how to help young people with depression and anxiety. Depression is a common problem in the U.S. and globally. About 10% of adolescents have had a major depressive episode.  About a quarter to half of depressed adolescents also have anxiety. Unfortunately, only one third have received any help. And even if they do receive some help, they might not follow through with getting enough treatment. One main issue is that parents and young people may not understand what depression is, what treatments can help, and may feel bad about getting help. Young people and their parents already use social media to talk to each other about depression. We think by connecting young people to each other, and parents to each other, in separate social media sites, they can learn about depression and treatment from each other and a therapist moderator in a safe space.

Duties of Students:

  • Participate in reading previously published literature related to study
  • Perform relevant literature searches
  • Maintain study participants’ (user) profiles on both research websites (SOVA and WiseSOVA)
  • Track user participation and retention
  • Participate in grant writing process (e.g., review application, draft progress reports)
  • Participate in research advisory meetings, as well as stakeholder meetings
  • Transcribe interviews with stakeholders, study participants, and or other members of the research team to inform research practices.  
  • Analyze qualitative date from various sources (e.g., interviews, user comments)
  • Learn coding software (e.g., ATLAS, NVivo)
  • Participate in IRB protocols and documentation
  • Participate in study recruitment for adolescents, young adults and parents (or guardians)
  • Participate in research team meetings
  • Work alongside other research team members including graduate level students
  • Learn how to translate research into practice
  • Join local research events (e.g., NAMI, StandTogether)


Students must complete the following prerequisites before the start of PSY 1903:

  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100- Statistics
  • PSY 0035- Research Methods in Psychology

Additional Requirements:

Negative TB test, child abuse clearances, and any relevant paperwork required by CHP of UPMC.  In addition, someone who is enthusiastic and keen to work with adolescents experiencing mental health issues and social media.  Individual must be able to work independently and maintain confidentiality.  

Terms offered: fall, spring

Number of Students: 2

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