Jordan Booker
Assistant Professor
213 McAlester Hall
Lab Information
McReynolds Hall - Social Development Labs are on the Second Floor
About the Lab

The Milestones Lab at Mizzou is a broadly interested in the major developmental milestones in emotion development, personality development, and identity development that are important for adolescents and young adults. We are also interested in the kinds of life milestones—the major transitions to new opportunities and relationships—that draw upon developmental skills and help people find their place in the world. Our research studies often focus on life storytelling from individuals or among families as sources of data, and data that we train our assistants to break down further to see how people are organizing and reasoning about life. These approaches to life storytelling call upon emotion skills, reflect personality, and help people develop and maintain identity. These skills are also related to well-being and mental health—major outcomes of focus for our team. 


Recent projects address:

  • the ways family storytelling about emotional topics provides a rich space for parental guidance and coaching for adolescents, and how these behaviors shape adolescent health and functioning 
  • the ways multiple domains of personality inform older adolescents' progress in identity development 
  • the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic-related shutdowns on emotion adjustment and identity progress for college adults
  • the importance of structure, motivation, and reasoning in young adults' life stories about personal events and stories about the family for broader well-being
  • the importance of social support and extracurricular involvement in high school and college functioning


Recent collaborations include:

  • explorations of parenting and communication styles among Black mothers' and older children's conversations about honesty
  • testing the ways high school student-centered programs on encouraging mental health and equipping students to combat bullying contribute to a healthier school environment and greater well-being for students
  • testing the importance of math-centered socialization between parents and early school-age children
  • considering the importance of life stories centered on experiences with parents and grandparents as predictors of college student well-being and functioning

2015 - Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2018 - Postdoctoral Training, Developmental Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Research Interests

Dr. Booker is not currently recruiting grad students

My research focuses on multiple areas of social development. My developmental focus is with adolescents and young adults. I am broadly interested in forms of emotional, personality, and identity development. Further, I tend to use autobiographical storytelling as a major method of data collection, representing both family stories and personal narratives as reflections of emotions, personality, and identity.  



PSYCH 2410 - Developmental Psychology

PSYCH 3880/BLSTU 3100 - African American Psychology

PSYCH 4960/7085 - Disability, Identity, and Autobiography


I completed my doctoral training in the Developmental Psychology program at Virginia Tech, working with Drs. Julie Dunsmore and Thomas Ollendick. Through projects and courses across training, I became more familiar with topics in emotion competence and parental emotion socialization against the backdrop of clinical treatment for children, particularly as parents engaged in storytelling about challenging events to guide and support children. In the latter stages of my doctoral training, I also built an interest in aspects of personality development and the importance of character in informing well-being and resilience. I began integrating these lines of research, beginning with my dissertation. 

Following doctoral training, I completed three years of postdoctoral training with Dr. Robyn Fivush at Emory University, focusing on the importance of autobiographical reminiscing and narrative identity--the importance of life stories. In pursuing this area of research, I also placed a greater focus on identity development and continued integrating research inquiries across emotional, personality, and identity development. Much of my work addresses the implications of these facets of development for health and psychosocial functioning. 

I continue to incorporate the major questions and methods that have driven my interest in developmental science as I continue to grow the Milestones Lab and benefit from enriching collaborative opportunities with students and colleagues at the University of Missouri and beyond. 

Selected Publications

* Indicates mentored student


Booker, J. A., *Ell, M., Fivush, R., Greenhoot, A. F., McLean, K. C., Wainryb, C., & Pasupathi, M. (2022). Early impacts of college, interrupted: Considering first-year students’ narratives about COVID and reports of adjustment during college shutdowns. Psychological Science. Advance online publication.

Booker, J. A., Brakke, K., & *Pierre, N. (2022). It’s time to make more goals so I can keep pushing: Hope, growth, and well-being among young Black women. Emerging Adulthood. Advance online publication.  

Booker, J. A., Fivush, R., & Graci, M. E. (2022). Narrative identity informs psychological adjustment: Considering three themes captured across five time points and two event valences. Journal of Personality. Advance online publication.

Booker, J. A., & *Perlin, J. P. (2022). Moving beyond redemptive magnitude: Examining redemptive forms and themes in young adults’ narratives of difficult life experiences. Identity. Advance online publication.

Booker, J. A., & Graci, M. E. (2022). Between-and within-person differences in communion given gender and personality. Personality and Individual Differences. Advance online publication.

Booker, J. A., Hernandez, E., *Talley, K. E., & Dunsmore, J. C. (2022). Connecting with others: Dispositional and situational relatedness during the college transition. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Advance online publication.

Booker, J. A., Brakke, K., Sales, J. M., & Fivush, R. (2022). Narrative identity across multiple autobiographical episodes: Considering means and variability with well-being. Self and Identity. Advance online publication.

*Wesley, R. & Booker, J. A. (2021). Social support and psychological adjustment among college adults. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 40(1), 69–95.

Booker, J. A., Ispa, J. M., Im, J., Maiya, S., Roos, J., & Carlo, G. (2021). African American mothers talk to their preadolescents about honesty and lying. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 27(3), 521-530.

Booker, J. A., *Wesley, R., & *Pierre, N. (2021). Agency, well-being, and identity development among Midwestern college adults. Journal of College Student Development, 62(4), 488-493. doi: 10.1353/csd.2021.0049

Booker, J. A., & *Johnson, K. (2021). Religious affiliation, identity development, and well-being among emerging adults. Emerging Adulthood, 272, 116-124.

Booker, J. A., & *Perlin, J. (2021). Using multiple character strengths to inform young adults’ self-compassion: The potential of hope and forgiveness. Journal of Positive Psychology, 16(3), 379-389.

Booker, J. A., *Capriola-Hall, N. N., Greene, R. W., & Ollendick, T. H. (2020). The parent-child relationship and post-treatment child outcomes across two treatments for oppositional defiant disorder. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 49, 405-419.

Booker, J. A., Fivush, R., Graci, M. E., Heitz, H., Hudak, L. A., Jovanovic, T., Rothbaum, B. O., & Stevens, J. (2020). Longitudinal changes in trauma narratives over the first year and associations with coping and mental health. Journal of Affective Disorders, 272, 116-124.

Booker, J. A., & Dunsmore, J. D. (2019). Testing direct and indirect ties of self-compassion with subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20, 1563-1585. doi: 10.1007/s10902-018-0011-2

Booker, J.A., Capriola-Hall, N. N., Greene, R. W., & Ollendick, T. H. (2018). The parent-relationship and post-treatment child outcomes across two treatments for oppositional defiant disorder. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology

Merrill, N., Booker, J. A., & Fivush, R. (2018). Frequency and function of intergenerational narratives told by young people. Manuscript in press at Topics in Cognitive Science

Fivush, R., Booker, J. A., & Graci, M. E. (2017). Ongoing narrative meaning-making within events and across the lifespan. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 37, 127-152.

Booker, J. A., & Dunsmore, J. C. (2016). Affective social competence in adolescence: Current findings and future directions.Social Development26, 3-20.