Associate Professor
G60D Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York

Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Human Development


I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development, and the director of the Purpose and Identity Processes Laboratory. I received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  I received a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology at Florida International University, and completed my postdoctoral studies at the Multicultural Research Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

I am also a co-director of PRYDE (the Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement). The aim of PRYDE is to link science and service in innovative ways by involving 4-H communities in basic and applied research to understand and improve youth experiences.

My program of research can be viewed as following two paths. The first path involves delineating whether a sense of self-direction – or purpose in life – serves as a psychological resource for those who cultivate it. Specifically, I have conducted a series of studies designed to test the utility of purpose as (a) an asset for positive youth development and (b) a source of protection in the face of stress and challenge. A second path examines how notions of race are incorporated into one’s sense of self (i.e., racial identification) and potentially shape perceptions of everyday encounters. Studies I have conducted in this area have primarily focused on the psychological adjustment of ethnic minorities and examine (a) how race-related experiences are related to adjustment and (b) whether racial identity can contour the impact of these experiences. I believe the importance of this work lies in the potential to identify sources of resilience capable of improving the well-being of vulnerable and often underexamined populations.

Purpose in Life


Sumner, R. Burrow, A. L., Hill, P. L. (in press). The development of purpose in life among adolescents who experience marginalization: Potential opportunies and obstacles. American Psychologist. 

Burd, K., & Burrow, A. L. (in press). Conceptualizing similarities and differences between purpose in life and self-affirmation. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.

Hill, P. L., Sin, N., Turiano, N, A., Burrow, A. L., & Almeida, D. (in press). Sense of purpose buffers against daily stress reactivity. Annals of Behavioral Medicine.


Ratner, K., & Burrow, A. L. (in press). Autistic features in the general population: Implications for sensing purpose in life. Journal of Positive Psychology






Burrow, A. L., & Rainone, N. (2017). How many likes did I get?: Purpose moderates links between positive social media feedback and self-esteem. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 69, 232-236.



Rosenfeld, D., & Burrow, A. L. (2017). Vegetarian on purpose: Understanding the motivations of plant-based dieters. Appetite, 116, 456-463. 

Hill, P. L., Turiano, N., Mroczek, D., & Burrow, A. L., (2016). The value of a purposeful life: Sense of purpose predicts greater income and net worth. Journal of Research in Personality, 65, 38-42.



Hill, P. L., Burrow, A. L., & Sumner, R. (in press). Purpose in life and parent-child attachment in emerging adulthood. Emerging Adulthood. 


Burrow, A. L., & Spreng, R. N. (2016). Waiting with purpose: A reliable but small association between purpose in life and impulsivity. Personality and Individual Differences, 90, 187-189.


Burrow, A. L., Hill, P. L., & Sumner, R. (2016). Leveling mountains: Purpose attenuates link between perceptions of effort and steepness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 94-103.


Burrow, A. L. (2015). Illuminating the pathways to civic purpose. Human Development, 58, 131-136.  


Stanley, M. L. & Burrow. A. L. (2015). The distance between selves: The influence of self-discrepancy on purpose in life. Self and Identity, 14, 441-452.


Burrow, A. L., Stanley, M., Sumner, R., & Hill, P. L. (2014). Purpose in life as a resource for increasing comfort with ethnic diversity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1507-1516.


Hill, P. A., Sumner, R. A., Burrow, A. L. (2014). Understanding the pathways to purpose: Examining personality and well-being correlates across adulthood. Journal of Positive Psychology, 9, 227-234.


Burrow, A. L., & Hill, P. L. (2013). Derailed by diversity?: Purpose buffers the relationship between ethnic composition on trains and passenger negative mood. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1610-1619.


Hill, P. L., Burrow, A. L., & Sumner, R. (2013). Addressing important questions in the field of adolescent purpose. Child Development Perspectives7, 232-236.


Burrow, A. L., & Hill, P. L. (2011). Purpose as a form of identity capital for positive youth adjustment.Developmental Psychology, 47, 1196-1206.




Race-related Experience and Identity


Jeon, H. J., Wang, Q., Burrow, A. L., & Ratner, K. (in press). Perspectives of future health in self and others: The moderating role of culture. Journal of Health Psychology

Ong, A. D., & Burrow, A. L. (2017). Microaggressions and daily experience: Depicting life as it is lived. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12, 173-175. 

Ong, A. D., Burrow, A. L., & Cerrada, C. (2016). Seeing the other in the self: The impact of Barack Obama and cultural socialization on perceptions of self-other overlap among African Americans. Social Cognition, 34, 589-603

Sumner, R., Stanley, M., & Burrow, A. L. (in press). Room for Debate (and Derogation): Negativity of Readers’ Comments on Black Authors’ Online Content. Psychology of Poular Media Culture.

Ong, A. D., Burrow, A. L., Fuller-Rowell, T. E., Ja. N., & Sue D. W. (2013). Racial microaggressions 

and daily well-being among Asian Americans. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60, 188-199.


Burrow, A. L., & Hill, P. L. (2012). Flying the unfriendly skies?: The role of forgiveness and race in 

the experience of racial microaggressions. Journal of Social Psychology, 152, 639-653. 


Gaylord-Harden, N., Burrow, A. L., & Cunningham, J. A. (2012). A cultural-asset framework for  

investigating successful adaptation to stress in African American youth. Child Development 

Perspectives, 6, 264-271.


Fuller-Rowell, T., Burrow, A. L., & Ong, A. D. (2011). Changes in racial identity among African 

American college students following the election of Barack Obama. Developmental Psychology, 

47, 1608-1618. 


Burrow, A. L., & Ong, A. D. (2010). The moderating role of racial identity in exposure and

reactivity to daily racial microaggressions. Self and Identity, 9, 383-402.


Torres, L., Driscoll, M. W. & Burrow A. L. (2010) Racial microaggressions and psychological

functioning among highly achieving African-Americans: A mixed-methods approach. Journal 

of Social and Clinical Psychology, 29, 1074-1099. 


Ong, A. D., Fuller-Rowell, T., Burrow, A. L. (2009). Racial discrimination, racial 

microaggressions, and the stress process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,

96, 1259-1271.

  • HD 6530 - Transitions to Adulthood
  • HD 1170 - Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood
  • HD 3510 - Racial and Ethnic Identity Development
  • HD 4510 - Seminar on Emerging Adulthood
  • B.A., psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Ph.D., developmental psychology, Florida International University.