All Majors & Minors

Vanessa Volpe

Vanessa V. Volpe, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Ursinus College.  She received her B.S. in Applied Psychology from New York University (with her first two years spent in the Ursinus-like Liberal Studies Program) and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with a Quantitative Psychology Concentration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research is largely focused on the mental and physical health impacts of race/ethnicity-related experiences of people of color as they develop across the lifespan - including examination of social, biological, and developmental processes that impact health disparities. She also examines resistance to and protection against other forms of marginalization more broadly (e.g., sexism, heterosexism). She maintains consulting and collaborative appointments with schools, communities, and organizations which seek to enhance the holistic well-being of youth of color, including conducting research on the potential of arts instruction and programming in educational settings. Besides her research, Vanessa is also passionate about teaching, mentoring, and statistical approaches for intensive longitudinal data.


Assistant Professor of Psychology




B.S., New York University

M.A., Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Lifespan Development

Health Psychology: Psychological Experience of Illness

Health Psychology: Health Beliefs, Behavior, and Behavior Change

Advanced Research Methods in Health Psychology

Seminar: Minority Health and Health Disparities

Research Interests

Parenting and culture

Stress physiology

Risk and resilience

Minority health and health disparities

Social experiences

Arts programming and education

Recent Work

Recent Refereed Work:

Volpe, V.V., Lee, D., Hoggard, L., & Rahal, D.* (in press). Racial discrimination and acute physiological responses among Black young adults: The role of racial identity. Journal of Adolescent Health.

Volpe, V.V., Rahal, D.*, Holmes, M.*, & Zelaya Rivera, S.* (in press). Is hard work and high effort always healthy for Black college students? John Henryism in the face of racial discrimination. Emerging Adulthood.

Volpe, V.V., Holochwost, S., Cole, V., & Propper, C. (in press). Early growth in expressive communication and behavior problems: Differential relations by ethnicity. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Holochwost, S. J., Volpe, V. V., Iruka, I.U., & Mills-Koonce, W. R. (2018; epub ahead of print). Maternal warmth, intrusiveness, and executive functions in early childhood: Tracing developmental processes among African American children. Early Child Development and Care. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2018.1461096

Holochwost, S. J., Volpe, V.V., Gueron-Sela, N., Propper, C.B., & Mills-Koonce, W.R. (2018; epub ahead of print). Sociodemographic risk, parenting, and inhibitory control in early childhood: The role of respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12889

Katsiaficas, D., Volpe, V.V., Raza, S., & Garcia, Y. (2017; epub ahead of print). The role of campus support, undocumented identity, and DACA on civic engagement for Latinx undocumented undergraduates. Child Development. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12933

Holochwost, S. J., Propper, C. B., Wolf, D.P., Willoughby, M.T., Fisher, K. R., Kolacz, J., Volpe, V. V., & Jaffee, S.R. (2017). Music education, academic achievement, & executive functions. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11, 147-166.

Shanahan, L., Schorpp, K., Volpe, V.V., Linthicum, K., & Freeman, J.A. (2016). Developmental timing of suicide attempts and cardiovascular risk during young adulthood. Health Psychology, 35, 1135-1143.

Freeman, J., Bauldry, S., Volpe, V.V., Shanahan, M., & Shanahan, L. (2016). Sex differences in associations between subjective social status and C-reactive protein in young adults. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78, 542-551.

Holochwost, S. J., Gariepy, J. L., Propper, C. B., Gardner-Neblett, N., Volpe, V. V., Neblett, E., & Mills-Koonce, W. R. (2016). Sociodemographic risk, parenting, and executive functions in early

childhood: The role of ethnicity. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 36, 537-439.

Seaton, E. K., Upton, R.D., Gilbert, A.N., & Volpe, V.V. (2013). A moderated mediation model: Racial discrimination, coping strategies and racial identity among Black adolescents. Child Development, 85, 882-890. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12122

Sirin, S.R., Katsiaficas, D., & Volpe, V. V. (2010). Identity mapping: Methodological implications for studying hyphenated selves. International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (ISSBD) Bulletin, 2 (58), 22-26.

Recent Conference Presentations:

Volpe, V.V. (4/27/2018). Rethinking health disparities through a critical health psychology service-learning lens. Workshop presented at Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development’s annual conference. Philadelphia, PA.

Volpe, V.V. (2018). Approaches to promote new understandings of experiences of marginalization for diverse adolescents and emerging adults. Chair of paper symposium at the Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Conference. Minneapolis, MN.

Beacham, A.*, Olafunmiloye, O.*, & Volpe, V.V. (2018). The limits of cognitive flexibility as a coping mechanism for racial discrimination. Oral presentation at the annual University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health’s Minority Health Conference. Chicago, IL.

Olafunmiloye, O.,* & Volpe, V.V. (2018). Examining how social barriers shape physical barriers to healthcare within the Black community. Poster presentation at the American Psychosomatic Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting. Louisville, KY.

Jones, B.,* & Volpe, V.V. (2018). The lived experiences of Black students on predominantly White campuses: The role of special interest housing. Poster presentation at the 2018 Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Conference. Minneapolis, MN.

Volpe, V.V. (invited co-facilitator of breakout session, 11/14/2017). What are safe spaces anyway? 4th Annual Young, Gifted, and @ Risk Symposium sponsored by the Steve Fund. University of Pennsylvania.

Farrell, E.,* Novak, C.,* & Volpe, V.V. (2017). The impact of spiritual coping and private regard on heart rate during recovery from racial stress. Poster presentation at the 2017 American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention. Washington, D.C.

Volpe, V.V., & Novak, C.* (2017). Joint influences of identity and active coping on RSA during racial discrimination stress for Black young adults. Poster presentation at the 2017 American Psychosomatic Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting. Sevilla, Spain.

Volpe, V.V., Rahal, D.,* & Holochwost, S. (2017). Stress and coping revisited: The racial discrimination to health process for Black adolescents and respiratory sinus arrhythmia. Poster presentation at the 2017 Society for Research in Child Development’s Biennial Meeting. Austin, TX.

Volpe, V.V., Kurtz-Costes, B., & Rowley, S. (2017). A longitudinal examination of African American adolescents’ friendships, racial socialization and parents’ racial attitudes. Poster presentation at the 2017 Society for Research in Child Development’s Biennial Meeting. Austin, TX.