Virginia Thomas
Office
McCardell Bicentennial Hall 280
Tel
(802) 443-3039
Email
vthomas@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2022: Tuesdays 11:00am - 12:00pm, Wednesdays 2:30pm - 4:00pm, Fridays 11:30am - 12:30pm

Virginia Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Middlebury College. She joined the psychology department in Fall of 2020. Dr. Thomas earned her PhD in Developmental Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (with an emphasis in Feminist Studies), an MA in Depth Psychology at Sonoma State University, and a BS in Psychology from University of Evansville.

As a developmental psychologist, Dr. Thomas studies social and emotional development throughout the lifespan, with two ongoing lines of research. First, she examines the role of solitude in identity development and psychological well-being. This research identifies key differences in loneliness and solitude, explores how solitary engagement with social media and digital devices affects well-being, and investigates the skills necessary to use solitude constructively. In a second line of research, Dr. Thomas explores the identity work that occurs during developmental transitions, especially the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Previous work has examined emerging adults’ social class identity and religious identities, and she is currently examining the identity work that occurs during “sojourn” - when people work, travel, or study abroad. Dr. Thomas specializes in mixed methods research, with an emphasis on conducting interviews and analyzing narratives using a variety of qualitative methods.  

Publications

Azmitia, M., Garcia Peraza, P. D., Thomas, V., Ajay, A. A., & Syed, M. (in press). The promises and challenges of using intersectionality in developmental science. APA Handbook of Adolescent and Young Adult Development. 

Thomas, V. (2021). Solitude skills and the private self. Qualitative Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/qup0000218 

Thomas, V., Balzer Carr, B., Azmitia, M., & Whittaker, S. (2021). Alone and online: Understanding the relationships between social media, solitude, and psychological adjustment. Psychology of Popular Media, 10(2), 201–211. https://doi.org/10.1037/ppm0000287 

Thomas, V., & Azmitia, M. (2019). Motivation matters: development and validation of the motivation for solitude scale–short form (MSS-SF). Journal of Adolescence, 70, 33-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2018.11.004

Thomas, V. & Azmitia, M. (2016). Tapping into the app: Updating the Experience Sampling Method for the 21st century. Emerging Adulthood, 4 (1), 60-67. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167696815618489

Thomas, V., Azmitia, M., & Whittaker, S. (2016). Unplugged: Exploring the costs and benefits of constant connection. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 540-548. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.078

Azmitia, M. & Thomas, V. (2015). Intersectionality and the development of self and identity. In R. Scott & S. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1-9, Wiley & Sons. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118900772.etrds0193

Thomas, V. & Azmitia, M. (2014). Does class matter? Examining the centrality of social class identity for emerging adults. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 14 (3), 195-213. https://doi.org/10.1080/15283488.2014.921171