Tara Stoppa

Tara Stoppa

Department Chair, Psychology

McInnis 224

Dr. Tara Stoppa joined Eastern University in 2009 and is an Associate Professor and Co-Chair of the Psychology Department. Dr. Stoppa teaches courses that focus on human development, personality, and family issues. Dr. Stoppa’s research interests relate to the study of identity formation during adolescence and emerging adulthood, focusing upon the processes underscoring identity development and the emergence of an adult sense of self and self-in-relation to society. In addition, this work also entails a consideration of both individual and social-level factors (including the contexts of family, peers, community, and institutions) that may either serve to promote or constrain adaptive development in this area. Dr. Stoppa eagerly invites students who are interested in learning more about the research process to consider becoming involved with her on-going program of research in these areas.


Ph.D., Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
M.S., Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
M.S., Clinical Psychology, Millersville University
B.A., Psychology/English, Moravian College

Selected Publications

Stoppa, T. M. (2016). “Becoming more a part of who I am:” Experiences of spiritual identity formation among emerging adults at secular universities. Religion & Education, 43, 1-26. doi:10.1080/15507394.2016.1235409.

Stoppa, T.M. (2015). A Christian integrative perspective on nurturing civic development among emerging adult students. Christian Higher Education: An International Journal of Research, Theory and Practice, 14, 142-157. doi: 10.1080/15363759.2015.1030958

Stoppa, T. M., Espinosa-Hernandez, G., & Gillen, M. (2014). The roles of religiousness and spirituality in the sexual lives of heterosexual emerging adults. In C. Barry and M. Abo-Zena (Eds.) Emerging adults’ religiousness and spirituality: Meaning-making in an age of transition (pp. 186-203). New York: Oxford University Press.

Stoppa, T.M., Wray-Lake, L., Syvertsen, A. K., & Flanagan. C. A. (2011). Defining a moment in history: Parental communication with adolescents about September 11th, 2001. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 1691-1704. doi:10.1007/s10964-011-9676-0

Flanagan, C. A., Stoppa, T. M., Syvertsen. A. K., & Stout, M. (2010). Schools and social trust. In L.  Sherrod, J. Torney-Purta, & C. A. Flanagan (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Civic Engagement in Youth. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Stoppa, T. M., & Lefkowitz, E. S. (2010). Longitudinal changes in religiosity among emerging adult college students. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 20, 23-38. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2009.00630.x

Lefkowitz, E. S. & Stoppa, T. M. (2006). Positive sexual communication and socialization in the parent-adolescent context. In L. Diamond (Ed.), New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 112, Rethinking positive adolescent female development (pp. 39-56). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Adolescent and emerging adult development, psychology of religion/spirituality, family issues