Skip to Content

Nicholas Allen

Nicholas Allen profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Additional Title: Ann Swindells Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-4075
  • Office: 479 Straub Hall
  • Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-3, Thursdays 4-5 & by appointment
  • Interests: Clinical, Adolescent Development and Mental Health, Mood Disorders, Developmental Social and Affective Neuroscience, Family Processes, Prevention Research
  • Website: Website

Research Interests and Publications

Throughout the lifespan there are certain developmental transitions that appear to be particularly important for determining a person’s mental health. The transition from childhood to adolescence is especially important, as many serious mental health problems, such as depression and substance abuse, emerge for the first time during or after this transition. In my research group, we use a developmental psychopathology approach to understand how children and adolescents are affected by the environments in which they grow up. We have especially focussed on how family interactions and other aspects of the child’s environment that have been shown to increase risk for mental health problems (e.g., stress, abuse, socio-economic disadvantage) influence the child or adolescent’s emotional functioning and the development of the biological systems that undergird these emotions. The aim of this work is to not only shed light on the underlying causes of mental health and ill-health during these stages of life, but also to inform innovative approaches to early intervention and prevention by utilising this knowledge to generate and test novel, developmentally-targeted clinical and public health interventions.

Dr. Allen will not be accepting new master's students for Fall 2017.

Selected publications

Selected Books:

Allen, N.B. & Sheeber, L.B. (2008). Adolescent emotional development and the emergence of depressive disorders. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Woods, S., Allen, N.B., & Pantelis, C. (2009). The neuropsychology of mental illness. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 

Selected Refereed Journal Articles:

Whittle, S., Lichter, R., Dennison, M., Vijayakumar, N., Schwartz, O., Byrne, M., Simmons, J.G., Yücel, M., Pantelis, C., McGorry, P.D., & Allen, N.B. (2014). Structural brain development and depression onset during adolescence: A longitudinal, prospective study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 171, 564-571.

Schwartz, O.S., Byrne, M.L., Simmons, J.G., Whittle, S., Dudgeon, P., Yap, M.B.H., Sheeber, L.B., & Allen, N.B. (2014). Parenting during early adolescence and adolescent onset Major Depression: A six-year prospective longitudinal study. Clinical Psychological Science, 2(3), 272-286.

Whittle, S., Dennison, M., Yücel, M., Lubman, D., Pantelis, C., Simmons, J.G. & Allen, N.B. (2013). Childhood maltreatment and psychopathology affect brain development during adolescence. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 52(9), 940-952.

Pfeifer, J. H., & Allen, N. B. (2012). Arrested development? Reconsidering dual-systems models of brain function in adolescence and disorders. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(6), 322–329.

Allen, N.B., Kuppens, P., & Sheeber, L. (2012). Heart rate responses to parental behavior in depressed adolescents. Biological Psychology, 90, 80-87.

Whittle, S., Yap, M.B.H., Sheeber, L., Dudgeon, P., Yücel, M., Pantelis, C., Simmons, J.G., & Allen, N.B. (2011). Hippocampal volume and sensitivity to maternal aggressive behavior: A prospective study of adolescent depressive symptoms. Development and Psychopathology, 23, 115-129.

Kuppens, P., Allen, N.B. & Sheeber, L. (2010). Emotional inertia and psychological maladjustment. Psychological Science, 21, 984-991.

Yap, M.B.H., Whittle, S., Yücel, M., Sheeber, L., Pantelis, C., Simmons, J., & Allen, N.B. (2008). Interaction of parenting experiences and brain structure in the prediction of depressive symptoms in adolescents. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65, 1377-1385.

Whittle, S., Yap, M.B.H., Yücel, M., Fornito, A., Barrett, A., Sheeber, L., & Allen, N.B. (2008). Prefrontal and amygdala volumes are related to adolescents’ affective behaviors during parent adolescent interactions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105(9), 3652-3657. 

Davey, C.D., Yücel, M. & Allen, N.B. (2008). The emergence of depression in adolescence: Development of the prefrontal cortex and the representation of reward. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 32, 1-19.

Allen, N.B., & Badcock, P.B.T. (2003). The social risk hypothesis of depressed mood: Evolutionary, psychosocial, and neurobiological perspectives. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 887-913.