The Youth Development in Context Lab seeks to better understand the ways that community, school, peer, and family settings combine to shape child and adolescent development. With a special focus on cultural contexts of development, our research covers topics such as the effects of discrimination on socioemotional development, interethnic group social preferences, bicultural identity development, and school attitudes and outcomes among diverse groups of immigrant youth in the US. In addition to the studies housed at Suffolk, our research team maintains strong collaborations with researchers across the country and in Puerto Rico.
Amy Marks, Ph.D
To learn more about Dr. Amy Marks and her work, please visit her faculty page.
Current Graduate Students
My name is Shamiria Lindsey and I am a sixth year student in Suffolk University’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. I was born and raised in central Alabama, but have traveled all over the United States and to several other countries during my six-year enlistment in the military. I returned to Alabama to complete my B.A. in psychology at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Between receiving my B.A. and being accepted into graduate school, I was also afforded the opportunity to teach a research methods laboratory for two semesters at UAH.
Research & Clinical Interests
I have a primary research interest in issues concerning culture, race and other matters of diversity. My master’s thesis, “A Retrospective Look at Risk Factors Surrounding Repeat Pregnancy,” focused on the predictors associated with repeat pregnancy in adolescents living in underserved communities and viable means of lowering the rate of unwanted teenage pregnancies. I am currently working on my doctoral dissertation that explores the effects of loving-kindness meditation and mindfulness meditation on the perpetuation of racial biases.
My clinical interests also focus on diversity issues, as well as severe and chronic mental illnesses, in underserved populations. I am currently working with children, adolescents, and adults as a therapist at Charles River Community Health and as a clinical interviewer in the Center for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Research (CDASR) at McLean Hospital.
Lindsey, S.V., & Mancusso, M.C. (2013). A Retrospective Look at Risk Factors Surrounding Repeat Pregnancy. Individual Presentation at Boston College Diversity Challenge, Boston, MA.
Baldwin, C.L., Hodges, B.R., Lindsey, S.V., & Torres, A. (2013). Skin tone and social roles. Poster presentation at Southeastern Psychological Association Conference, Atlanta, GA.
Wright, B., Sledge, T., Lindsey, S.V., Mueller, M., Atkins, D., & Price, J. (2012). The Role of Points and Presentation Format in Younger and Older Adults’ Self-Regulated Learning. Poster presentation at the Cognitive Aging Conference, Atlanta, GA.
Meacham, S., Berry, J., Lindsey, S.V., Sledge, T., Barr, E., Atkins, D., Cash, J., English, B., Wright, B., & Price, J. (2012). Feedback and Self-regulated Learning during a Chinese Learning Task. Poster presentation at the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference, New Orleans, LA.
Wright, B., Lindsey, S.V., Sledge, T., Mueller, M., Atkins, D., & Price, J. (2012). The Role of Points and Presentation Format in Older Adults’ Self-Regulated Learning. Poster presentation at the UAB Geriatric Education Center’s Conference, Birmingham, AL.
I am a third-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at Suffolk University. Originally from Boston, I graduated from Northeastern University in 2015 with a B.S. in Psychology with a focus on gender and sexuality studies. My thesis was an extension of a previous doctoral student’s dissertation that utilized mixed methods to create a novel quantitative measure of female adolescent sexuality stress and support. Switching my focus of study to ethnic identity and immigration, my dissertation aims to provide resources to immigrant children and families of varying legal statuses to help navigate possible parental deportation. My clinical experiences include working as a case manager for a non-profit community center, a counselor and psychometrist in an elementary school, and a cognitive behavioral therapist administering modularized treatment in an outpatient anxiety clinic.
Research Interests:Child and adolescent development; immigration; ethnic identity; sexual identity; gender identity; positive youth development; resiliencePublications & Presentations:
Marks, A. K., McKenna, J. L., & Garcia Coll, C. (in press). National receiving contexts: A critical aspect of immigrant and refugee youth adaptation. European Psychologist.
McKenna, J. L., & Marks, A. K. (in press). Achievement. In M. H. Bornstein, M. E. Arterberry, K. L. Fingerman, & J. E. Lansford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
McKenna, J. L., & Marks, A. K. (in press). Eriksonian Theory. In M. H. Bornstein, M. E. Arterberry, K. L. Fingerman, & J. E. Lansford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
McKenna J. L., Bedard, K. K., & Marks, A. K. (2017, October). Sexual Minority Status as a Moderator of the Relationship Between Sexual Identity Label Use and Perceived Levels of Sexuality-Related Social Support Among Adolescent Girls. Poster presentation at the Society for the Study of Human Development. Biennial Meeting, Providence, RI. Poster.
McKenna J. L., Bedard, K. K., Pantalone, D. W., Fireman, G., & Marks, A. K. (2017, April). Mixed-methods development of the Female Adolescent Sexual Support in Context (FASSC) measure. Poster presentation at the Society of Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, Austin, TX. Poster.
Eidson R., McKenna J. L., & Coley J. (2013, March). Individual differences in young adults' essentialist responding about gender categories. Poster presentation at the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Biennial Meeting, Seattle, WA. Poster.
I am a fifth-year student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program at Suffolk University. I am originally from Long Island, New York but I have been living in the Boston area since 2007. I graduated from Boston College in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology with a clinical concentration, and after college I worked for two years as the lab manager for the Social Cognitive Development Lab at Harvard University. My training is in both developmental and clinical psychology and my research focuses on risk and resilience factors of underserved children and families in the Boston area. My Master’s project investigated the discrimination experiences of immigrant children from Cambodia, Portugal, and the Dominican Republic and my dissertation looks at resilience in children with trauma histories who have received in-home therapeutic services.
In addition to my research, my clinical work is with children and adolescents with a variety of emotional and behavioral difficulties. In the past I have worked as a clinician and assessor at the Boston Child Study Center, Child Assessment Unit (inpatient) at Cambridge Hospital, the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders – Child Program, Family Services of Greater Boston, and Angier Elementary School.
Child and adolescent development, child and family psychopathology, trauma, underserved youth, risk and resilience factors
Publications & Presentations:
Pieloch, K. A., Marks, A. K., & García Coll, C. (2016). A person-centered exploration of children of immigrants’ social experiences and their school-based well-being. Applied Developmental Science. doi: 10.1080/10888691.2016.1225500
Pieloch, K. A., McCullough, M. B., & Marks, A. K. (2016). Resilience of children with refugee statuses: A research review. Canadian Psychology/ Psychologie canadienne, 57(4), 330-339. doi:10.1037/cap0000073
Marks, A. K., & Pieloch, K. (2015). School contexts. In C. Suarez-Orozco, M. M. Abo-Zena, & A. K. Marks (Eds.), Transitions: The development of children of immigrants. New York: NYU Press.
Widen, S., Pochedly, J. Pieloch, K., & Russell, J. (2013). Introducing the sick face. Motivation and Emotion, 37(3), 550-557. doi: 10.1007/s11031-013-9353-6
References & Materials
On this page you will find a list of recent publications with links, whenever possible, to help you locate research content. Please feel free to contact Amy Marks (PI) for copies of articles, conference presentations, or any of the research materials/instruments used in our studies.
Suarez-Orozco, C., Abo-Zena, M., & Marks, A.K. (2015). Transitions: The Development of Immigrant Children. New York: NYU Press.
García Coll, C., & Marks, A. K. (2011). The Immigrant Paradox in Children and Adolescents: Is becoming American a developmental risk? Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
García Coll, C., & Marks, A. K. (2009). Immigrant stories: Ethnicity and academics in middle childhood. New York: Oxford University Press.
Recent Book Chapters:
Suarez-Orozco, C., Marks, A. K., & Abo-Zena, M. (2015). Unique and shared experiences of immigrant-origin children and youth. In C. Suarez-Orozco, M. Abo-Zena, & A. K. Marks (Eds.), Transitions: The Development of Children of Immigrants. (pp. 1-26) New York: NYU Press.
Suarez-Orozco, C., Abo-Zena, M., & Marks, A. K. (2015). Contexts of development: An ecological framework. In C. Suarez-Orozco, M. Abo-Zena, & A. K. Marks (Eds.), Transitions: The Development of Children of Immigrants. (pp. 27-31) New York: NYU Press.
Marks, A. K., & Pieloch, K. (2015). The school contexts of U.S. immigrant children and adolescents. In C. Suarez-Orozco, M. Abo-Zena, & A. K. Marks (Eds.), Transitions: The Development of Children of Immigrants. (pp. 47-60) New York: NYU Press.
Marks, A. K., Seaboyer, L., & Garcia Coll, C. (2015). The academic achievement of U.S. immigrant children and adolescents. In C. Suarez-Orozco, M. Abo-Zena, & A. K. Marks (Eds.), Transitions: The Development of Children of Immigrants. (pp. 259-275) New York: NYU Press.
Marks, A. K., Ejesi, K., McCullough, M., & Garcia Coll, C. (2015). The development and implications of racism and discrimination. In M. Lamb, C. Garcia Coll, & R. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology, Seventh Edition, Volume Three: Socioemotional Processes. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
*Marks, A. K., Godoy, C.M., & Garcia Coll, C. (2013). An ecological approach to understanding immigrant child and adolescent developmental competencies. In L. Gershoff, R. Mistry, & D. Crosby (Eds.), The Contexts of Child Development. (pp. 75-89) New York: Oxford University Press.
* Note this book was awarded the 2013 Social Policy Award for Best Edited Book by the Society for Research in Adolescence.
García Coll, C., Patton, F., Marks, A. K., Dimitrova, R., Yang, H., Suarez-Aviles, G., & Batchelor, A. (2012). Understanding the immigrant paradox in youth: Developmental and contextual considerations. In A. Masten (Ed.), Realizing the Potential of Immigrant Youth. (pp. 159-180). Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press.
Marks, A. K., Patton, F., & Coyne, L.C. (2011). Acculturation-related conflict across generations in immigrant families. In R. Moreno & S. S. Chuang (Eds.), Immigrant Children: Change, adaptation and cultural transformation. (pp. 255-270). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications:
Pieloch, K. A., Marks, A. K., & Garcia Coll, C. (In press). A person-centered exploration of children of immigrants’ social experiences and their school-based well-being. Applied Developmental Science. DOI: 10.1080/10888691.2016.1225500
Pieloch, K. A., McCullough, M. B., & Marks, A. K. (2016). Resilience of children with refugee statuses: A research review. Canadian Psychology. 57(4).
Conn, B. M., & Marks, A. K. (2015 Online 1st publication). An ecological approach to understanding adolescent prescription drug misuse. Journal of Adolescent Research.
Guarini, T. E., Marks, A. K., Patton, F., & Garcia Coll, C. (2015). Number of sexual partners, pregnancy, and the immigrant paradox: Explaining the first generation advantage for Latina adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence. 25(1), 14-19. DOI: 10.1111/jora.12096
Conn, B. M., & Marks, A. K. (2014). Ethnic/racial group differences in peer and parent influence on adolescent prescription drug misuse. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics.35(4), 257-265. DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000058.
Marks, A. K., Ejesi, K., & Garcia Coll, C. (2014). The U.S. immigrant paradox in childhood and adolescence. Child Development Perspectives, 8(2), 59-64. DOI: 10.1111/cdep.12071
McCullough, M., & Marks, A. K. (2014). The immigrant paradox and adolescent obesity: Examining health behaviors as potential mediators. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 35(2), 138-143. DOI: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000027.
Marks, A. K., & Abo-Zena, M. (2013). What we might have missed: Lessons from diverse methodologies in the study of immigrant families. Research in Human Development, 10(4), 285-288. DOI: 10.1080/15427609.2013.846040
Conn, B. M., Marks, A. K., & Coyne, L. (2013). A three-generation study of Chinese immigrant extended family child care-giving experiences in the preschool years. Research in Human Development, 10(4), 308-331. DOI: 10.1080/15427609.2013.846047
Ablow, J. C., Marks, A. K., Feldman, S. S., & Huffman, L. C. (2013). Associations between first-time expectant women’s representations of attachment and their physiological reactivity to infant cry. Child Development, 84(4), 1373-1391. DOI: 10.1111/cdev.12135
Current Research Projects
Adolescent Sexual Identity Development and Resiliency Factors among Sexual Minority Youth
The formation of a sexual identity is a prominent and important component of adolescent development. An adolescent’s emotional well-being, romantic relationships, and sense of self-worth have all been tied to the process of developing a positive identity as a sexual person. For adolescents who are questioning their sexuality or who self-identify as a sexual minority, this self-exploration process can be complex and challenging. In fact, questioning and/or queer youth are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience isolation from peers, rejection by family members, and judgement and disapproval from society as a whole. Because identifying risks for this population is crucial for the creation and dissemination of mental health services, psychological research has taken on a deficit-focused approach to understanding sexual minority youth. Consequently, not much attention has been given to qualitative experiences that may shed light on resiliency factors that would promote positive outcomes for an otherwise marginalized population.
A current project utilizes qualitative interviews to inform a novel measure of female adolescent sexual identity development. This measure will yield important information regarding the qualities and contexts of adolescent experiences, which may allow researchers to analyze how different experiences are related to healthy and poor aspects of psychological functioning and social development.
Ethnic Identity Development in Childhood, Adolescence & Emerging Adulthood
Developing a positive sense of one’s self is one of the fundamental psychological tasks of the developing child. For ethnic and/or racial multicultural or minority youth, developing health ethnic/racial identities (how you experience and understand yourself as a member of a particular ethnic or racial group) is of central importance to the child’s health. This course of research aims to contribute to both process and content research on ethnic identity development from childhood through emerging adulthood. We have a particular interest in bicultural and multicultural youth, as well as conducting mixed methods work in this area. Our studies have combined experimental, implicit, psychophysiological, longitudinal, and qualitative approaches to this important topic.
From our studies, supported in part by the National Science Foundation, we are learning more about emerging ethnic identity in middle childhood, how bicultural adolescents and young adults form their ethnic/racial identities in the school context, and how other important psychological processes like attachment, overall identity development, and psychological flexibility inform healthy ethnic identities during emerging adulthood.
The Immigrant Paradox in Childhood & Adolescence
Would you find it surprising to learn that some of the most high-achieving and healthiest members of the U.S.’s childhood population are also its newest members? The immigrant paradox is a population-level phenomenon in which newly-immigrated children and adolescents – who typically have fewer family economic resources than children born in the U.S. – tend to have better health or academic success than their wealthier, more highly acculturated (or native born) peers. This pattern has been coined a “paradox” because researchers usually observe that poverty leads to poor health, and because many decades ago scholars used to believe that fully acculturating to the U.S. (i.e., becoming “more American”, speaking English without an accent, etc.), meant that families and children should be healthier and more successful. Mounting research evidence starting predominantly during the 1980’s is challenging these traditional notions, and showing that many different groups of newly-immigrated children and adolescents are thriving. In our own research we find that newcomer immigrant youth are oftentimes doing better in school, having fewer pregnancies, and experience fewer delinquency problems than their U.S. born peers from similar ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
In the spring of 2007 we began a course of research funded in part by the W.T. Grant Foundation and the Jacobs Foundation, which seeks to understand the contextual factors underlying the immigrant paradox in health, behavior and educational/occupational outcomes. Results from this collaborative study have led to numerous presentations and publications, including a recently released co-edited volume from APA Press entitled The Immigrant Paradox in Children and Adolescents: Is becoming American a developmental risk? We are also currently working on a meta-analysis of the paradox related to risk behaviors in adolescence.
The Impact of Discrimination on Well-Being
Did you know that adolescents who feel discriminated against are more likely to be obese, start smoking at a young age, and experience a multitude of behavioral and mental health problems? From depression to low self-esteem to the general mistrust of others, experiencing discrimination can have a profound impact on children’s well-being. As such, another central series of studies in our group focuses on the impact of discrimination for children and adolescent’s development. Although many researchers have long noted the harmful effects of discrimination for adult health and happiness, researchers are only recently beginning to understand the various impacts discrimination has on the developing child. Our work in this area started with a recent systematic review of the literature – part of an upcoming Handbook of Child Psychology published by Wiley – and is continuing with several new studies in progress as a result.
Interested in joining the lab?
Dr. Marks is not accepting new doctoral students into her lab at this time. If you are an undergraduate seeking a volunteer or independent research experience (Psych 510), please email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.