Jean E. Rhodes
Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rhodes has given many interviews about her work with mentoring programs to media outlets such as NPR, FOX News, the Boston Globe, and The Christian Science Monitor, among others.