Eric Layland is a Ph.D. candidate who started working in prevention research at the Center one year ago because he was interested in linking research to practical application in a way that will positively affect the life of adolescents and young adults. Eric studies the context that influences individual development and behavior at the micro and macro levels.
Eric’s areas of research interests include identity development, drugs and alcohol abuse, leisure, and mixed methods. Eric is especially interested in understanding how context affects identity development and how identity processes in emerging adults can be tied to drugs, alcohol, or other risky behaviors. In addition, he is exploring how a sexual minority identity may serve as a protective factor against substance use and other risky behavior.
During his time at the Center, Eric has worked on Exploring Leisure in Emerging Adulthood and several Heathwise South Africa projects, which investigate the impact of leisure activity on adolescent risky behavior. Recently, Eric won the Academy of Leisure Sciences Future Scholar of the Year Award, and the Africana Research Center Research Award.
Eric appreciates the diversity in expertise, programs, and methodology in the Prevention Research Center and feels it is an incredible resource for training and cross-collaboration, where individuals with seemingly unrelated interests and projects are able to connect ideas and synergize across disciplines.
Eric, a trained puppeteer, enjoys taking road trips, cooking butternut squash lasagna, and skiing or snowboarding in his free time.