Melinda Gonzales-Backen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor & Department Graduate Program Director

Dr. Gonzales-Backen is accepting new graduate students for 2020-21.


Get to know Dr. Gonzales-Backen


My research focuses on the psychosocial well-being of Latino youth and families. Specifically, I’m interested in how cultural stressors (e.g., discrimination, acculturative stress, etc.), cultural strengths (e.g., ethnic identity, familial ethnic socialization, etc.), adolescent development, and family processes intersect to predict adolescent adjustment in the areas of self-esteem, depressive symptoms, and substance use.


  • B.S. Psychology, University of Arizona
  • M.S. Family and Human Development, Arizona State University
  • Ph.D. Family and Human Development, Arizona State University

Publications and Other Scholarly Activities

Gonzales-Backen, M. A., Bámaca-Colbert, M. Y., & Allen, K. (2016). Ethnic identity trajectories among Mexican-origin girls during early and middle adolescence: Predicting future psychosocial adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 52(5), 790.

Gonzales-Backen, M. A., Bámaca-Colbert, M. Y., Noah, A. J., & Rivera, P. M. (2017). Cultural profiles among Mexican-origin girls: Associations with psychosocial adjustment. Journal of Latina/o Psychology, 5(3), 157-172.

Bámaca-Colbert, M. Y., Gonzales-Backen, M., Henry, C. S., Kim, P. S.Y., Roblyer, M. Z., Plunkett, S. W. and Sands, T. (2017), Family Profiles of Cohesion and Parenting Practices and Latino Youth Adjustment. Family Process. doi:10.1111/famp.12314

Gonzales‐Backen, M. A. (2013). An application of ecological theory to ethnic identity formation among biethnic adolescents. Family Relations, 62(1), 92-108.

Gonzales-Backen, M. A., Dumka, L. E., Millsap, R. E., Yoo, H. C., Schwartz, S. J., Zamboanga, B. L., … & Brown, E. J. (2015). The role of social and personal identities in self-esteem among ethnic minority college students. Identity, 15(3), 202-220.


  • Award for Excellence in Online Course Design (2013, 2015), Office of Distance Learning, Florida State University
  • Award for Excellence in Online Instruction (2013), Office of Distance Learning, Florida State University
  • NIH/NIMHD Loan Repayment Program Scholar, 2014-2016
  • Martha E. Bernal Memorial Award (2011), Department of Psychology, Arizona State University



“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
― Fred Rogers



I’m married to my best friend, Chris. We have 3 lovely kids: Jarid, John, and Lucy. Jarid is an official grown up who sometimes hangs out with us (and our washing machine). John loves all things Cars and spends his days hanging out with a squirrel named Tuff. Lucy is a lady of few words but still has a loud voice. We enjoy road trips, going to the beach, and ice cream.



“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.”
– J.K. Rowling

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