Sarah Borowski


My research focuses on how close friendships contribute to adolescents’ development and well-being, psychophysiological reactivity within the context of friendship interactions, and the role of gender in adolescents’ peer experiences.

Much of my research considers adolescents’ experiences disclosing personal problems to close friends. When adolescents talk to friends about their problems, friends may respond in a variety of ways – for example, sometimes friends provide empathy and validation, whereas in other cases, friends might respond negatively and downplay the problem. In some cases, friends talk about their problems in ways that actually exacerbate the problem by talking about problems excessively and repetitively, focusing on negative emotions, and speculating about the causes and consequences (i.e., co-rumination). Studying disclosure behaviors is critical because the manner in which adolescents disclose to friends and how friends respond to them has implications for adolescents’ emotional adjustment (e.g., depressive symptoms) and social adjustment (e.g., relationship quality).

My recent work also considers adolescents’ physiological reactivity during interactions with close friends. Specifically, I collect heart rate, respiration, and skin conductance data with the goal of assessing adolescents’ physiological reactivity to supportive (or unsupportive) disclosure behaviors and the extent to which friends are interconnected in their physiological responses during their interactions together (i.e., coregulation).

In all my research, gender differences are an important consideration. Gender identity is related to the extent that adolescents engage in different friendship behaviors and their subjective experiences interacting with friends. My research also considers adolescents’ experiences in same-gender friendships versus other-gender peer relationships (e.g., friendships, romantic relationships).


Selected Publications

Borowski, S. K., & Rose, A. J. (2021). Boys’ and girls’ interactions with same-gender friends and other-gender friends: A focus on problem disclosures. Journal of Research on Adolescence.

Borowski, S. K., Groh, A. M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Van IJzendoorn, M. H., Fearon, R. M. P., Vaughn, B. E., & Roisman, G. I. (2021). The significance of early temperament for children’s social competence with peers: A meta-analytic review and comparison with early attachment. Psychological Bulletin, 147, 1125-1158

Borowski, S. K., & Zeman, J. (2018). Emotional competence relates to co-rumination: Implications for emotion socialization within adolescent friendships. Social Development, 27, 808-825.

Borowski, S. K., Spiekerman, A., & Rose, A. J. (2021). Gender differences in children and adolescents’ friendships. In B. Halpern-Felsher (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Health. Elsevier. 


Assistant Professor
Chandler-Ullmann room 123
(610) 758-4627
B.A., Elon University
M.A., College of William & Mary
Ph.D., University of Missouri