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Hurd, Noelle

Noelle Hurd

Primary Appointment


Contact Information


Research Interests

Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development

Research Description

My overarching research interest is the promotion of healthy adolescent development among marginalized youth. Specifically, my work has focused on identifying opportunities to build on pre-existing strengths in youths? lives, such as supportive intergenerational relationships. Using a resilience framework, I have assessed the potential of nonparental adults to serve as resources to marginalized youth, and I have investigated the processes through which these relationships affect a variety of youth outcomes (e.g., psychological distress, health-risk behaviors, academic achievement). In addition to exploring the role of supportive relationships in contributing to youth development, I also have researched the role of broader contextual factors (e.g., neighborhood characteristics) in shaping youth outcomes. Currently, I am investigating the role of contextual factors in promoting or deterring the formation of intergenerational relationships and shaping the nature of interactions between marginalized youth and the adults in their communities. I also am further examining the mechanisms that drive the promotive effects of natural mentoring relationships and developing an intervention focused on enhancing positive intergenerational relationships between adolescents and the nonparental adults in their everyday lives. I run the Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development (PHAD) Lab at the University of Virginia. UNLEASH (Undergraduate Research) We study factors that contribute to the healthy development of disadvantaged adolescents. Foci of the lab include the promotion of mental health, the prevention of health?risk behaviors, and the encouragement of positive educational outcomes. In addition, we are interested in the development of skills that will help youth to be successful in life, such as leadership and interpersonal skills. One particular area of interest is the relationships that youth form with non?parental adults. Supportive adults in youths? lives may help them to navigate and overcome challenges they face and encourage adolescents? healthy development. Understanding how to promote these intergenerational relationships and the mechanisms through which these relationships may facilitate more positive youth outcomes are core areas of this lab?s research. Responsibilities for undergraduate researchers may include 1) conducting reviews of empirical articles, 2) survey administration both in the lab as well as in youths? homes or schools, and 3) data management. It is important that RAs feel comfortable working with diverse populations. RAs will work closely with graduate students. In addition, RAs will also have opportunities to develop their own projects and present findings at conferences. Contact: Aly Ladd,

Selected Publications

Hurd NM, Varner FA, Caldwell CH, Zimmerman MA, Does perceived racial discrimination predict changes in psychological distress and substance use over time? An examination among Black emerging adults., 2014; Developmental psychology. 50(7) 1910-8 PMID: 24730378 | PMCID: PMC4275545

Hurd NM, Stoddard SA, Bauermeister JA, Zimmerman MA, Natural mentors, mental health, and substance use: Exploring pathways via coping and purpose., 2014; The American journal of orthopsychiatry. 84(2) 190-200 PMID: 24826935 | PMCID: PMC4159080

Hurd NM, Zimmerman MA, An analysis of natural mentoring relationship profiles and associations with mentees' mental health: considering links via support from important others., 2013; American journal of community psychology. 53(1) 25-36 PMID: 24132713 | PMCID: PMC4308967

Hurd NM, Varner FA, Rowley SJ, Involved-vigilant parenting and socio-emotional well-being among black youth: the moderating influence of natural mentoring relationships., 2012; Journal of youth and adolescence. 42(10) 1583-95 PMID: 22990882 |

Hurd NM, Sellers RM, Cogburn CD, Butler-Barnes ST, Zimmerman MA, Racial identity and depressive symptoms among Black emerging adults: the moderating effects of neighborhood racial composition., 2012; Developmental psychology. 49(5) 938-50 PMID: 22709129 | PMCID: PMC3484216

Hurd NM, Stoddard SA, Zimmerman MA, Neighborhoods, social support, and african american adolescents' mental health outcomes: a multilevel path analysis., 2012; Child development. 84(3) 858-74 PMID: 23199188 | PMCID: PMC3595386