Zena Mello, Ph.D. (SFSU)

Assistant Professor of Psychology, San Francisco State University

Zena R. Mello is an Associate Professor of Psychology. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cognition and Development at the University of California, Berkeley, a Ph.D. and a M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Mello has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, and the American Educational Research Association. She has been honored with an Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Human Development Division of the American Educational Research Association, and she has served on the Executive Councils of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development and the Society for Research on Adolescence.



Dr. Mello is currently developing several mixed-methods longitudinal research projects that draw from the measure she pioneered–Adolescent and Adult Time Inventory (https://faculty.sfsu.edu/~zmello/content/time-perspective). These studies will examine relationships among time perspective and several important factors in the lives of racially/ethnically and economically diverse adolescents, including, political engagement, health, and discrimination.

Dr. Mello’s research examines psychological factors that facilitate the health and well-being of racial or ethnic minority and low-income adolescents. She uses interdisciplinary perspectives and mixed-methods approaches to investigate two areas. First, she contributes toward the theory and measurement of time perspective. This construct is defined as thoughts and attitudes towards the past, the present, and the future. She has generated an instrument that has been translated into numerous languages. Her work shows how time perspective predicts several developmental outcomes. Second, she examines topics specific to minority group membership including anticipated discrimination in educational and occupational attainment and stereotype threat. Ultimately, she will inform prevention and intervention programs to promote healthy development in diverse adolescents. Students are actively involved in Dr. Mello’s research. She works closely with undergraduate and graduate students to facilitate their professional and scholarly development. Students complete Honors and Master’s theses and are frequently co-authors on presentations and publications. Other activities with students include research assistance with data collection and analyses, as well as teaching assistant positions. Dr. Mello regularly teaches Adolescent Development at the undergraduate (Psy 430) and graduate (Psy 770) levels



  • Mello, Z. R., & Worrell, F. C. (2015). The past, the present, and the future: A conceptual model of time perspective in adolescence. In Stolarski M., van Beek W., & Fieulaine, N. (Eds), Time Perspective Theory: Review, Research and Application. Essays in Honor of Philip Zimbardo. Open PDF File
  • Mello, Z. R., Finan, L. J.*, & Worrell, F. C. (2013).  Introducing an instrument to assess time orientation and time relation in adolescents.  Journal of Adolescence, 36, 551-563. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2013.03.005 Open PDF File
  • Mello, Z. R., Bhadare, D.*, Fearn, E. J., Galaviz, M. M., Hartmann, E. S., & Worrell, F. C. (2009). The window, the river, and the novel: Examining adolescents’ conceptions of the past, the present, and the future. Adolescence, 44, 539-556. Open PDF File
  • Jaramillo, J., Mello, Z. R., & Worrell, F. C. (2015). Ethnic identity, stereotype threat, and perceived discrimination among Native American adolescents. Journal of Research on AdolescenceOpen PDF File
  • Worrell, F. C., Mello, Z. R., & Buhl, M. (2013). Introducing English and German versions of the Adolescent Time Attitude Scale (ATAS). Assessment, 20, 496-510. doi:10.1177/1073191110396202 Open PDF File
  • (for reference) https://faculty.sfsu.edu/~zmello/content/mello-literature