Justin Vollet

Justin Vollet

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Psychology Program
MB Room 3122

Dr. Vollet serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. As a developmental psychologist, his research focuses on the social underpinnings of the development of students' academic engagement (with a primary focus on socialization through peer group interactions) and on the development of peer relations throughout childhood and adolescence (i.e., social aggression and peer victimization). Dr. Vollet currently teaches courses in research methods and lifespan psychology.


  • PhD in Applied Psychology, Portland State University 2017
  • MS in Psychology, Portland State University 2012
  • BS (magna cum laude) in Psychology, Portland State University 2008

Research Interests

Broadly, Dr. Vollet is interested in understanding how healthy development during childhood and adolescence is supported or undermined by the joint contributions of their social partners—most notably peers, teachers, and parents. His work is guided by an ecological systems perspective, which suggests that frequent social interactions that occur within nested and connected social structures are considered the “engine of development.”

Academic Engagement. Students spend a considerable amount of time interacting with each other in and outside of the classroom. One area of Dr. Vollet’s research focuses on understanding how children and adolescents’ peer groups influence their developing academic engagement (enjoyment of and active participation in the process of learning) and academic resilience or re-engagement. Some of his work in this area has explored how peer group influences on the development of students’ academic engagement (which can be positive or negative) can be either amplified or buffered depending upon the qualities of the interactions that young students experience with other (non-peer) social partners.

Peer Relations. Peers can be a great source of relational warmth and support. However, peers can also sometimes be ruthlessly cruel and vindictive. Dr. Vollet is interested in understanding factors underlying the development of peer relations behaviors (i.e., prosociality, social aggression, and peer victimization) and how these behaviors impact children and adolescents' psychosocial development. His work in this area has explored peer socialization of social aggression and longitudinal associations between adolescents’ experience of peers’ prosociality and their well-being.

Peers and Technology. In recent years, adolescents have increased their use of communications technologies for interacting with peers (e.g., text messaging and social networking websites). As such, contemporary adolescents can interact with each other when they are together and while they are physically apart. Dr. Vollet is interested in understanding the extent to which peers’ influence on adolescent development may be augmented by emerging communications technologies, which offer youth digital platforms that extend opportunities for youth-to-peer interaction. Because such technologies offer teenagers less restricted access to engage with their peers, it is possible that peers’ influence on multiple facets of youths’ development may be amplified in this new and emerging digital context.

Methods and Design used in Peer Research. Dr. Vollet's interest in peers as a social context for development has led him to explore the ways in which peers (i.e., friends, affiliates, and peer groups) may be identified empirically and represented graphically.

Recent Publications

Skinner, E. A., Kindermann, T. A., Vollet, J. W., & Rickert, N. P. (2023). Motivation in the wild: Capturing the complex social ecologies of academic motivation. In M. Bong, S. Kim, J. Reeve (Eds.), Motivation Science: Controversies and Insights. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Skinner, E., Kindermann, T., Vollet, J. W., & Rickert, N. P. (in press). The role of complex social ecologies in the development of academic motivation, Educational Psychology Review.

Vollet, J. W. (2022). Peer relations: Does social media make it worse? In M. Jones (Ed.) Peer Relationships in Classroom Management: Evidence and Interventions for Teaching. New York: Routledge.

Skinner, E. A., Rickert, N. P., Vollet, J. W., Kindermann, T. A. (2022). The complex social ecology of academic development: A bioecological framework and illustration examining the collective effects of parents, teachers, and peers on student engagement. Educational Psychologist, 57, 87–113.

Vollet, J. W., & Kindermann, T. A. (2020). Promoting persistence: Peer group influences on students’ re-engagement following academic problems and setbacks. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 44, 354–364.

Vollet, J. W., George, M. J., Burnell, K., & Underwood, M. K. (2020). Exploring text messaging as a platform for peer socialization of social aggression. Developmental Psychology, 56, 138–152.

Vollet, J. W., Kindermann, T. A., & Skinner, E. A. (2017). In peer matters, teachers matter: Peer group influences on students’ engagement depend on teacher involvement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109, 635–652.


  • PSYC 3304/3104 Experimental Psychology (Research Methods)
  • PSYC 3341 Child and Adolescent Psychology
  • PSYC 3344 Lifespan Psychology
  • PSYC 6341 Lifespan Development
Last Updated: 09/12/2022