Research Lab

Research in my lab examines gender development, self-conscious affect (including the emotions of shame, guilt, embarrassment, hubristic pride, and authentic pride), identity development, and STEM attitudes and achievement. Much of this research examines how the internalization of stereotypes shape self-conscious affect about our achievement, our bodies, and our selves. Several lines of research comprise this work:

STEM Achievement, Attitudes, and Affect

Gender Differences/Similarities in STEM Achievement, Attitudes, and Affect.  How do our attitudes and affect about STEM relate to our learning, performance, and future course choices? How does personalizing STEM learning and coursework affect engagement and achievement?  What is the magnitude of gender, class, and racial/ethnic differences in STEM achievement, attitudes, and affect? What factors contribute to variability in these gaps? We use an intersectional approach to examine how these gaps in STEM achievement, attitudes, and affect may vary across nations, across ethnic groups, and across schools.  For example, gender equity and equality, as well as gender segregation, have been examined as moderators of gender gaps.  We have also explored how gender-segregated schooling might shape gender gaps in STEM in urban public schools serving students of color.  Current projects are focused on eliminating achievement gaps, particularly for first-generation college students and students of color, and in conducting meta-analyses of adaptive learning technologies in STEM courses.

Ethnic Socialization and Identity

Gender and Ethnic Variations in Ethnic Socialization and Ethnic Identity Development. Ethnic identity can be a psychosocial resource that buffers the negative effects of prejudice and discrimination.  Parents may contribute to the development of their children’s ethnic identity development via ethnic socialization practices.  Some of the work in our lab has explored how parents across different ethnic groups socialized their children differently and how socialization promotes ethnic identity development.  In addition, we are exploring how ethnic socialization might be gendered, such that sons and daughters are socialized differently.

The Development of Identity, Values, and Financial Well-Being.  This project is focused on adolescent and emerging adulthood processes related to the development of financial well-being.  We are interested in how emerging adults understand and integrate their experiences of social class, gender, and membership in ethnic groups to a coherent identity, and how attitudes and values about money contribute to the development of financial well-being.  How do parents socialize their children on financial literacy and values like materialism and frugality?  Is there really a “financial literacy crisis” as popular media have posited?  We are also exploring the construction and measurement of financial literacy and financial well-being.  The role of parents and media as socialization forces in that process is a major focus.

Stigma and Self-Conscious Emotions

Gender Differences in Self-Conscious Emotions. Although the emotions of shame, guilt, and embarrassment are stereotyped as feminine and the emotion of pride is stereotyped as masculine, it remains unclear to what extent these stereotypes reflect real gender differences in the experience of the “self-conscious” emotions. We are currently conducting a meta-analysis of the literature to estimate the magnitude of the gender differences in these emotions and to assess the development and context of such differences.

Felt and Enacted Stigma. Do patients who perceive their disease as related to past behavior experience and internalize stigma, blame themselves, and feel self-conscious emotions?  Does the experience of guilt and shame lead to feeling depressed or having poorer health outcomes?  Some of my graduate students have explored enacted stigma: Why do we stigmatize individuals with lung cancer, HIV, and other disease sometimes perceived as “self-induced?”  Together, we’ve developed a measure of disease-related enacted stigma.

Philadelphia Adolescent Life Study

Data collection for the Philadelphia Adolescent Life Study (PALS) was completed in 2012. This longitudinal study with Philadelphia high school students was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.  You can learn more about PALS from these publications…

  • Else-Quest, N. M.  (April 9, 2013).  Contextualizing the conversation on women and STEMHuffington Post.
  • Else-Quest, N. M., & *Peterca, O. (2015).  Academic attitudes and achievement in students of urban public single-sex and mixed-sex high schools.  American Educational Research Journal, 52, 693-718.
  • Else-Quest, N. M., & *Morse, E.  (2015).  Parental ethnic socialization and adolescent ethnic identity among four ethnic groups.  Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21, 54-64.
  • Else-Quest, N. M., *Mineo, C. C., & *Higgins A.  (2013).  Math and science attitudes and achievement at the intersection of gender and ethnicity.  Psychology of Women Quarterly, 37, 293-309.



If you are interested in joining my lab as an undergraduate or graduate student, please email me