April 2018 Spotlight, Angela Chow, Ph.D.

This month, we are delighted to introduce Dr. Angela Chow (chowa@indiana.edu) as our member in spotlight.  Dr. Chow is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Dr. Chow’s research interests primarily lie in understanding human development across transitions and across the lifespan.

Angela CHOW

1) We asked scholars to describe one of the following: a) what drew you to do work on Asians, Asian American children and youth, or another topic that is important to you now? b) who was an important mentor to you in this work, or an influential particular study in the field or in a related field? c) any particular advice or tips to someone starting out in the field who is doing work in your area?

My best friend in high school was a high achiever who was genuinely interested in schoolwork and had high educational aspiration. I was always curious about why she was so motivated. This curiosity led me to focus on motivation for learning in my PhD study. My interest in this area has continued to grow and expand throughout my postdoctoral years. Currently, my research primarily focuses on motivational and behavioral development and the roles of these processes in both immediate and long-term outcomes across domains (such as health, well-being, education, and career). I have been very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with some leading scholars in the area of developmental psychology, including Professor Jacque Eccles from the University of California, Irvine, Professor Nancy Galambos from the University of Alberta, and Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro from the University of Helsinki.


2) A short paragraph describing a particular recent finding, current study, or recent publication and what makes you excited about it. Feel free to describe its importance from any one or more of these lenses: a) research contribution; b) our knowledge about Asian or Asian American populations; c) our knowledge about other [understudied?] populations; d) practice or policy relevance.

I am very excited about a recent article published in International Journal of Behavioral Development, titled “Work values during the transition to adulthood and mid-life satisfaction: Cascading effects across 25 years”, which I coauthored with Professors Nancy Galambos and Harvey Krahn. This 25-year longitudinal study of a sample of Canadian high school seniors (N = 373) examined pathways from work values at age 18 to mid-life (age 43) career satisfaction and life satisfaction. Using path analyses, we found that intrinsic work values at age 18 had positive indirect effects on both mid-life career satisfaction and life satisfaction through associations with intrinsic work values at age 25 and then at age 32, and intrinsic work rewards at age 43. Also, parents’ education had positive indirect effects on both career satisfaction and life satisfaction at age 43, operating through postsecondary education by age 25 and intrinsic work rewards at age 43. These findings had two important implications. First, adolescents‘ work values, especially intrinsic work values, matter for important mid-life outcomes. Second, postsecondary education plays a vital cross-generational role in shaping mid-life satisfaction.

3) If you have any thoughts about your experiences with the Asian Caucus, that would be great!  These can be just for the Caucus leadership to know, and/or a message to the Caucus community. 

I am grateful that the SRCD Asian Caucus has played a prominent role in promoting, fostering, and facilitating research on Asian children and career development of Asian researchers. It is a friendly, resourceful, and supportive network which offers a lot of ways for us to get to know each other and to share our work.

4) Any upcoming talks or presentations we should know about?

Recently, I have further broadened my research program on behavioral development and connected it to health-related issues. More specifically, I am working on a project which examines the effects of debts and financial concern on the development of college students. In recent years, debt among U.S. college students has been a worrying concern. The mean education debt of graduating seniors has risen from $17,000 in 2008 to $28,400 in 2013 and up to 98% of students graduated with debt. The struggle to pay for education and the anxiety of having enormous amounts of debt often leave students feeling burned out. However, research on the impact of financial-related distress on students’ functioning is sparse, partially due to a lack of appropriate instruments. Collaborating with Professor Katariina Salmela-Aro, we have developed a scale for measuring financial burnout. Based on the data collected from 1133 undergraduate students from a Midwestern university in the U.S., we found that higher levels of financial burnout were associated with a higher risk for depression, and lower school motivation, school engagement, and life satisfaction. We are planning to present this study in 2018 Annual Meeting of American Public Health Association.

5) A preferred weblink


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