Research Interests


Dr. Mehta’s research is guided by two complimentary theoretical perspectives: (1) a lifespan theoretical perspective, which contends that development occurs across the lifespan within a larger socio-historical context, and (2) a social-constructivist model of gender development that contends that gender-typed characteristics are best understood as created and maintained by the transaction of the individual and the immediate context (Deaux & Major, 1987). Dr. Mehta has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative methodology.

Broadly defined, Dr. Mehta’s research interests are related to how sex (biological characteristics of a person related to reproduction), gender (culturally socialized characteristics believed to be appropriate for males and females; Unger, 1979), and related social processes (e.g., gender segregation), influence adolescents’ and young adults’ beliefs and behaviors. Based on these interests, Dr. Mehta investigates the correlates and consequences of sex segregation (the tendency to spend time with same-sex peers; Mehta & Strough, 2009; Mehta & Strough, 2010),  in adolescence (Mehta & Strough, 2010) and emerging adulthood (Mehta & Dementieva, 2017; Mehta, Hojjat, Smith & Ayotte, 2017). Dr. Mehta has also investigated the influence of gender roles socialized in same-sex peer groups on sexual activity (Mehta, Sunner, Head, Crosby & Shrier, 2011; Sunner, Walls, Mehta, Blood & Shrier, 2012) and substance use (Mehta, Alfonso, Delaney, & Ayotte, 2014). Dr. Mehta is currently pursuing research investigating the contextual specificity of gendered behaviors (Mehta, 2015; Mehta & Dementieva, 2017).

Specialties: Gender, Friendships/ Peer Groups, Lifespan Sex Segregation, Adolescence, Gender an Education, Adolescent Risk, ANOVA, MANOVA, Regression, Structural Equation Modeling, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis