Zena Mello, PhD

Zena Mello


Assistant Professor
Ph.D.: The Pennsylvania State University, 2005
Area: Developmental Psychology; Adolescence
Office: Columbine Hall 4033
Phone: (719) 255-4145
Email: zmello@uccs.edu
Professional Webpage

Professor Zena R. Mello is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cognition and Development at the University of California, Berkeley, a Ph.D. and a M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Mello has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, and the American Educational Research Association. She has been honored with an Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Human Development Division of the American Educational Research Association, and she has served on the Executive Councils of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development and the Society for Research on Adolescence.

Dr. Mello's research focuses on factors that promote academic and physical well-being in racial/ethnic minority and low-socioeconomic status (SES) adolescents. She examines cognitive-motivational constructs that may underlie decision-making including (a) time perspective, a concept that comprises thoughts and attitudes toward the past, the present, and the future and (b) perceptions of barriers to school and work given demographic group membership. She employs qualitative and quantitative methodologies to address the following research questions:  How do adolescents' perspectives on time promote healthy decisions and behaviors toward school and work?  How may time perspective be measured reliably and validly? How are adolescents in Chile, Germany, Nigeria, and the United States similar or different from one another in time perspective? How do adolescents' perceptions of barriers to school and work due to SES, racial/ethnic, and gender contribute toward academic outcomes?


Research Areas:

Developmental psychology and adolescence.


Representative Publications:

Mello, Z. R., Mallett, R. K., Andretta, J. R., & Worrell, F. C. (in press). Stereotype threat and school belonging in adolescents from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds. Journal of At-Risk Issues.

Worrell, F. C., Mello, Z. R., & Buhl, M. (in press). Introducing the English and German versions of an Adolescent Time Attitude Scale. Assessment.

Mello, Z. R., Bhadare, D. K., Fearn, E. J., Galaviz, M., Hartmann, E. S., & Worrell, F. C. (2009). The window, the river, and the novel: Examining adolescents' conceptualizations of time perspective as the past, the present, and the future. Adolescence, 44, 539-556.

Mello, Z. R., Worrell, F. C, & Andretta, J. R. (2009). Variation in how frequently adolescents think about the past, the present, and the future in relation to academic achievement. Research on Child and Adolescent Development, 2, 173-183.

Mello, Z. R. (2009). Racial/ethnic group and socioeconomic status variation in educational and occupational expectations from adolescence to adulthood. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30, 494-504.

Mello, Z. R. (2008). Gender variation in developmental trajectories of educational and occupational expectations and attainment from adolescence to adulthood. Developmental Psychology44, 1069-1080.

Worrell, F. C., & Mello, Z. R. (2007). Reliability and validity of Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory scores in academically talented adolescents.  Educational and Psychological Measurement, 67, 487-504.

Mello, Z. R., & Swanson, D. P. (2007). Gender differences in African American adolescents' personal, educational, and occupational expectations and perceptions of neighborhood quality.  Journal of Black Psychology33, 150-168.

Mello, Z. R., & Worrell, F. C. (2006). Time perspective, age, gender, and academic achievement in academically talented adolescents. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 29, 271-289.