Dr. Kendra ThomasAssociate Professor of Psychology
Kendra Thomas, PhD., joined the faculty at Hope in 2022. She studies youth perceptions of justice and virtue development, particularly in contexts of high inequality. Originally from Brazil, Dr. Thomas moved to the United States to pursue higher education, earning her Ph.D. in educational psychology with a concentration in human development from Ball State University. She previously served as assistant professor of psychology at the University of Indianapolis. She continues her work in Brazil through partners at the University of São Paulo and the Federal University of Paraná, and has partnered with a South African non-profit since 2016 to assist in research and development.
Areas of Expertise
Her curiosity on justice beliefs has led her to publish on a variety of topics such as parenting practices, school climate, relationships with authorities and positive youth development. Her work has led her to understand justice as a form of capital that is not distributed equally. She is presently working on a project funded by the Templeton World Charity Foundation to improve peer relationships, character development and social responsibility in Brazilian schools. Dr. Thomas is a frequent speaker at virtual teacher-training events in Brazil on socio-emotional and moral development. She is committed to using academia for humanitarian efforts and to expand the understanding of positive human development in majority world contexts.
- Ph.D., educational psychology, Ball State University, 2015
- M.A., educational psychology, Ball State University, 2013
- B.A., psychology, Taylor University, 2012
- “Translational research on caregiver reading and playing behaviors: Evidence from an in vivo community-based intervention throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” with A. Mangino and S. Walker, Journal of Child and Family Studies, in press
- “Just environments foster character: A longitudinal assessment of school climate,” with J.B. Santo and J.M. Cunha, Journal of Moral Education, 2022 https://doi.org/10.1080/03057240.2022.2081138
- “The meaning of believing in a just world in dealing with COVID-19 pandemic times: Findings from Turkey, Germany, Australia, USA, Brazil, and Russia,” with G.K. Ucar, M. Donat, J. Bartholomaeus and S. Nartova-Bochaver, Current Psychology, 2022
- “Youth gun carrying and state-level household firearm ownership in 22 U.S. States,” with L. Chavez, A. Kivisto and S. Gray, Journal of Community Psychology, 2022
- “Changes in character strengths are driven by classroom relationships: A longitudinal study of elementary school children,” with J.M. Cunha and J.B. Santo, School Mental Health, 2022
- “A dark lens or a dark world? A case for Justice Capital,” International Journal of Psychology, 57(2), 2022
- “Socially responsible children: A link between school climate and aggression and victimization,” with J.M. Cunha, P. Sukhawathanakul, J. Santo and B. Leadbeater, International Journal of Behavioural Development, 2021
- “Socializing justice: The interface of just world beliefs and legal socialization,” with R. Theodoro and A.V. Komatsu, Journal of Social Issues, 77(2), 2021
- “What predicts pre-adolescent compliance with family rules? A longitudinal analysis of parental discipline, procedural justice, and legitimacy evaluations,” with H. Rodrigues, R.T. de Oliveira and A.A. Mangino, Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49(4), 2020
- “The just world gap, privilege and legal socialization: A study among Brazilian preadolescents,” with H. Rodrigues, Social Justice Research, 33(1), 2020
Outside the College
Dr. Thomas has two young kids, and her hobbies include playing hide-and-go-seek, picking socks up off the floor and reading picture books.
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