Psychology Faculty

Margarita Azmitia
  • Pronouns she, her, her, hers, herself
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Psychology Department
  • Phone
    831-459-3146, 831-459-5084
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Office Location
    • Social Sciences 2, 369 Social Sciences 2, Psychology Department
  • Office Hours (Spring 2024) In person Tues., 12- 1pm or by appointment; Social Sciences 2 Rm 369
  • Mail Stop Psychology Faculty Services
  • Mailing Address
    • Psychology Department SS2
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Child and Adolescent Development, Personal and Social Identities, Poverty, Ethnicity, Schools and Academic Achievement, Discrimination and Inequality, Multiculturalism, Families, Peer Groups and Friendships
  • Courses Psych 10: Introduction to Developmental Psychology, Psych 103: Adult Development and Aging, Psych 119M: Identity Development in Social and Cultural Contexts, Psych 247: Special Topics in Developmental Psychology, Psych 102 Adolescent Development, Psych 244 B Proseminar in Socioemotional Development

Summary of Expertise

How culture, peers, family, and schools provide a context for children's and adolescents' development. Special emphasis on how close relationships influence the educational pathways and identity development of ethnically and socioeconomically diverse populations.

Research Interests

Margarita Azmitia's principal areas of interest are the social and cultural contexts of development. She is pursuing three lines of research: the contribution of children's and adolescents' friendships and peer acceptance to cognition and self-esteem, the contribution of family and peers to minority students' academic achievement, adjustment, and identity development, and the role of collaboration in the development of scientific understanding.

Several of Professor Azmitia's projects have involved studying children's, adolescents', and young adults' collaborative problem solving, particularly as it occurs in the context of scientific tasks or reasoning. She has also carried out observational and interview studies of children and adolescents' interactions with friends and classmates at school to gain a better understanding of the everyday dynamics of these relationships and their relation to school engagement and self-esteem.

In the last few years, Professor Azmitia has been studying how early and late adolescents manage important life transitions, and in particular, the transition to adolescence and middle school and the transition into adulthood and college. This work is particularly focused on similarities and differences in how ethnic minority and majority and low-income and middle/upper income adolescents manage these transitions and how their families, friends, and schools either provide support or challenge their adjustment, goals, and identity negotiations. Concerning identity, her work examines how adolescents and young adults negotiate their ethnic, gender, and social class identities in the academic and personal contexts of their lives.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D., University of Minnesota
B.A., M.A., University of North Carolina at Greensboro

High school:  Guatemala, Guatemala

Bilingual Spanish English

Selected Publications

  • Syed, M., Azmitia, M., & Cooper, C. R. (in press). Identity and Academic Success among Under-represented Ethnic Minorities:An Interdisciplinary Review and Integration, Journal of Social Issues.
  • Azmitia, M. (2010). Families, peers, and Mexican-heritage adolescents' negotiation of school transitions. (pp. 217-242). In N. Cabrera, F. Villarruel, & H. E. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Latina and Latino children and mental health.,Vol 1., Development in Context. New York, NY: Praeger.
  • Azmitia, M., Syed, M., and Radmacher, K. (2008). On the intersection of personal and social identities: Introduction and evidence from a longitudinal study of emerging adults. In M. Azmitia, M. Syed, & K. Radmacher (Eds.), The intersections of personal and social identities: New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 120, 1-16. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.
  • Syed, M., & Azmitia, M. (2008). A narrative approach to ethnic identity in emerging adulthood: Bringing life to the identity status model. Developmental Psychology, 44(4), 1012-1027.
  • Azmitia, M., Ittel, A., Radmacher, K. A. Narratives of friendship and self in adolescence. In New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2005.
  • Azmitia, M. and Brown, J. R. Latino immigrant parents' beliefs about the “path of life” of their adolescent children. In Contreras, J., Neal-Barnett, A., & Kerns, K. (Eds.). Latino Children and Families in the United States: Current Research and Future Directions (pp. 77-101), 2002. Westport, CT: Praeger.
  • Azmitia, M. and Crowley, K. Reflections on the social context of scientific understanding. In Crowley, K.; Schunn, C. D.; and Okada, T. (Eds.), Designing for Science: Implications from Professional, Instructional and Everyday Science, Mawah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002.
  • Azmitia, M. and Cooper, C.R. Good or Bad? Peer influences on Latino and European American adolescents' pathways through school, Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 2001, 6, 45-71.
  • Azmitia, M.; Lippman, D.; and Ittel, A. On the relation of personal experience to early adolescents' reasoning about best friendship deterioration and dissolution, Social Development, 1999, 8, 275-291.
  • Azmitia, M., Kamprath, N., and Linnet, J. Intimacy and conflict: On the dynamics of boys' and girls' friendships during middle childhood and adolescence. In L. Meyer, M. Grenot-Scheyer, B. Harry., H. Park, and I. Schwartz (Eds.) Understanding the Social Lives of Children and Youth. Baltimore, MD: P.H.: Brookes Publishing Co., 1998.