Jean E. Rhodes

Frank L. Boyden Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Mentoring, University of Massachusetts Boston

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About Jean

Rhodes has focused on two distinct, but interrelated, programs of research, investigating (a) risk and protective factors in young women’s responses to trauma and natural disaster formal and (b) the role of mentors and mentoring programs in the lives of adolescents and young adults. Updates and information about her research projects are available at www.rhodeslab.org. With colleagues Mary Waters and Elizabeth Fussell, she runs The Risk Project (www.riskproject.org), a longitudinal study of low-income parents who lived in New Orleans at the time of Hurricane Katrina.


In the News

Jean E. Rhodes quoted on research about mentor availability by Levi van Dam, "The Untapped Potential of “Natural Mentoring”" Scientific American, September 26, 2019.
Jean E. Rhodes quoted on possible effects of natural mentorship by Levi van Dam, "The Untapped Potential of "Natural Mentoring"" Scientific American, September 26, 2019.
"You've Heard of Post-Traumatic Stress, but What about Post-Traumatic Growth?," Jean E. Rhodes, Scientific American, September 24, 2018.
Guest to discuss the mental health impacts of natural disasters on NPR, Jean E. Rhodes, September 15, 2017.
Guest to discuss developing the app with her son on WCVB Boston, Jean E. Rhodes, September 16, 2016.
Jean E. Rhodes quoted on the benefits of mentoring children through after-school programs by Tim Shea, "Youth Development Conference Highlights After-School Programs" Charlottesville Tomorrow, October 19, 2014.
Jean E. Rhodes's research on youth mentoring and race discussed by Vanessa E. Jones, "The Gap," The Boston Globe, March 5, 2008.
"Finding the Right Mentors," Jean E. Rhodes, New York Times, April 2, 2001.
Interview on youth mentoring with Janice Fryer Jean E. Rhodes, The Commonwealth Journal Podcast, April 2011.


"From Treatment to Empowerment: New Approaches to Youth Mentoring" (with Sarah E.O. Schwartz). American Journal of Community Psychology 58, no. 1 (2016): 150-157.

Proposes  a new framework that expands the scope of mentoring  interventions to include approaches that build on and cultivate informal supports and empower youth to identify and reach out to networks of potential supportive adults, thus increasing the reach of youth mentoring.

"I'm Having A Little Struggle with This, Can You Help Me Out?: Examining Impacts and Processes of a Social Capital Intervention for First-Generation College Students" (with Sarah E.O. Schwartz, Stella S. Kanchewa, Grace Gowdy, Abigail M. Stark, John Paul Horn, McKenna Parnes, and Renée Spencer). American Journal of Community Psychology (forthcoming).

Investigates a novel intervention that focuses on the development of skills and attitudes to empower first-generation college students to cultivate social capital and on-campus connections during the transition to college. Indicates that students who participated in the intervention demonstrated improved attitudes and behaviors around seeking support in college, closer relationships with instructors, and higher GPAs at the end of their first year in college. Suggests the potential benefits of a relatively scalable approach to supporting the needs of first-generation college students.

"Association of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms with Migraine and Headache After A Natural Disaster" (with Mariana C. Arcaya, Sarah R. Lowe, Asad L. Asad, S.V. Subramanian, and Mary C. Waters). Health Psychology 36, no. 5 (2017): 411-418.

Tests whether PTSD symptoms following a natural disaster are associated with higher odds of reporting frequent headaches/migraines post-disaster. Concludes that PTSD symptoms were associated with higher odds of experiencing frequent headaches or migraines.

"How Economic Disadvantage Affects the Availability and Nature of Mentoring Relationships During the Transition to Adulthood" (with E.B. Raposa, L. Erickson, and M. Hagler). American Journal of Community Psychology (forthcoming).
"The Contribution of Pre- and Post-Disaster Social Support to Short- and Long-Term Mental health after Hurricane Katrina: A Longitudinal Study of Low-Income Survivors" (with Christian S. Chan, Sarah R. Lowe, and Elyssa Weber). Social Science & Medicine 138 (2015): 38-43.

Examines the impact of pre- and post-disaster social support on longer-term of mental health —both psychological distress and posttraumatic stress. Confirms the social causation processes of social support. Suggests that posttraumatic stress might not stem directly from the lack of social support.

"Trends in Volunteer Mentoring in the United States: Analysis of a Decade of Census Survey Data" (with Elizabeth B. Raposa and Nathan Dietz). American Journal of Community Psychology 1 (2017): 1-12.

Suggests that mentoring rates have remained relatively stable over the past decade, but that the population of mentors has changed somewhat in terms of age, ethnicity, educational background, and region of the United States.