Notable Findings: Teens in the U.S. are subjected to ten times as many restrictions as mainstream adults and to roughly twice as many restrictions as active-duty U.S. Marines and incarcerated felons, which could explain why nearly half of them are diagnosable with at least one emotional, behavioral, or substance abuse disorder. Although most adults view teens as inherently incompetent and irresponsible, research suggests that 30 percent of teens are actually more competent than the median adult across a wide range of adult abilities.

Tests and Websites


Recent Publications


Epstein, R. Epstein, R. (2015, Summer). Everything you know about the teen brain is wrong. Brandeis Magazine.

Epstein, R. (2015, April).  The "teen brain" claim is fraudulent. Aeon.

Epstein, R. (2014, November 6). Basic knowledge, not age, matters in voting [Letter].  Los Angeles Times, p. A16.

Epstein, R. (2014, May 29). Preventing another Isla Vista [Letter].  Los Angeles Times, p. A12.

Epstein, R. (2015, April). Is there really something about the “teen brain” that causes so much turmoil during the teen years. Aeon.

Epstein, R. (2014, July 6). Anxiety in teens [Letter].  New York Times.

Epstein, R. (February 2013). Yet another stage of life? Scientific American Mind, pp. 18-19.

Epstein, R. (2012, October).  Brutal truths about the aging brain. Discover, 77, 48-50.

Epstein, R. (2012, December 20). Gun control and the Newtown tragedy [Letter].  Los Angeles Times.

Epstein, R. (2012, December 17). What if Adam Lanza was "normal"? An unthinkable idea that's not so crazyHuffington Post.

Epstein, R. (2010). Teen 2.0: Saving our children and families from the torment of adolescence. Sanger, CA: Quill Driver Books. (Updated and expanded version of The Case Against Adolescence, originally published in 2007)

Epstein, R. (2010, May 16). Nannying our teens: It’s getting out of hand [Letter published under the inappropriate title, “Let Teenagers be Teenagers”]. Los Angeles Times, p. A33.

Epstein, R. (2009, November/December). Risk-taking teens have more mature brains. Scientific American Mind, p. 12.

Epstein, R, & Ong, J. (2009, August 25). Are the brains of reckless teens more mature than those of their prudent peers? Scientific American.

Epstein, R. (2008, May 4). The age factor: What learning research tells us about candidates. The Hartford Courant.

Epstein, R. (2008, February 11). Who should get the vote?  [Letter].  New York Times, p. A20.  (Reprinted in: Barnet, S., & Bedau. [2010]. Current issues and enduring questions, 9th ed.  New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. )

Epstein, R. (April/May 2007). The myth of the teen brain. Scientific American Mind, pp. 57-63.

Recent Presentations

Epstein, R., & Dakaeva, K. (2021, April). How adult competence varies across the lifespan: A large-scale international internet study. Paper to be presented at the 101st annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association.

Epstein, R., Hwang, T., & Robertson, R.E.  (2015, April).  Extended Childhood Disorder (ECD): Additional support for a new diagnostic category.  Paper presented at the 95th annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Epstein, R., & Robertson, R.E.  (2014, April). How “adultness” varies across the life span: A large-scale Internet study.  Paper presented at the 94th annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Portland, Oregon.

Epstein, R.  (2013, March). The extraordinary abilities of teens. Keynote address given at the “Teen 2.0” conference, Lipscomb University, Nashville, TN.

Epstein, R., Kaminaka, K., McKinney, P., & Vu, K.  (2012, April). Extended childhood disorder: An exploratory study, revised and expanded. Paper presented at the 92nd annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

Epstein, R., & Kim, J.  (2012, April). Treating adults like children: Infantilization across the life span. Paper presented at the 92nd annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

Epstein, R. & McKinney, P.  (2012, April). A two-factor theory of youth dysfunction. Paper presented at the 92nd annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA.

Epstein, R., Kaminaka, K., & Vu, K.  (2011, November). Extended childhood disorder: An exploratory study. Paper presented at the 73rd annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, Orlando, FL.

Epstein, R.  (2011, November). On the power and danger of labels: Comments on the concept of emerging adulthood. Invited talk given at The Youth Cartel’s Conference of Emerging Adulthood, Atlanta, GA.

Epstein. R.  (2009, May). Initial validation of a comprehensive test of adult competence in a large-scale Internet study. Poster session presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA.

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