Texas Tech University

Sara L. Dodd, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Director for Center of Adolescent Resiliency
Human Development and Family Sciences

Email: sara.dodd@ttu.edu

Phone: (806) 834-2291

Office: HS 308

Currently accepting graduate students for Fall 2022

Sara L. Dodd, Ph.D.

Research Focus

My research interests include leadership theory and development, adolescent health and wellness, and consumer/behavioral economics.

My research focus is transdisciplinary, reflecting my interests and beliefs about the complexity of human behavior, particularly with regard to adolescents and health.  As the Director of the Center for Adolescent Resiliency, I work collaboratively with scientists and practitioners from many academic disciplines (e.g. communication, human development, counseling, education, human nutrition, family & consumer science, health).  Our work looks at contexts and individual factors from socioecological and developmental perspectives, always seeking to understand how and why individuals can be equipped, motivated, and supported to adopt behaviors that promote and sustain health across multiple domains of life.   I also prefer to work collaboratively in order to identify and enlist expertise, experience, and methodology to best answer diverse research questions and test new models.  As a result, most of my research projects through CAR utilize mixed methods and multiple analytical approaches.

During the past eight years, I have worked closely with a variety of community partners to honor Texas Tech University's strategic commitment to engaged scholarship.  Currently we have several research, education, and outreach/service projects in collaboration with United Supermarkets (United Future Leaders), Covenant Health Systems (the BodyMind Initiative), the Talkington Foundation, Lubbock Christian University Department of Nursing, Texas 4-H, and multiple school districts across the South Plains.  I firmly believe that community-based research and engagement is necessary to the growth of Texas Tech University and to the overall well-being of young people and their families in west Texas. 

Areas of Expertise

  • Youth development and youth leadership
  • Leadership theory and development
  • Comprehensive wellness; health behavior
  • Food/dietary competence; consumer behavior
  • Mixed methods and research design
  • Neuroimaging studies

Selected Publications

Long, J. D., Dodd, S. L., Doumit, R., Boswell, C., O'Boyle, M., & Rogers, T. (Under review). Neural mechanisms and behavioral dimensions of dietary choice revealed by fMRI: An integrative research review. 

Kostina-Ritchey. E., Tang, X., Trammell, E., & Dodd, S. L. (Under review). Resiliency factors in family communication: A pilot study of female middle school student perspectives relating to trust, support, and comfort.

Follmer-Reece, H., Kostina-Ritchey, E., & Dodd, S. L. (Under review). An exploration of youth volunteering via self-reported service logs: Frequency, type, context, and timing.

Velez-Gomez, P., Kostina-Ritchey, E., Dodd, S. L., & Little, T. D. (Under review).  Examining the Validity of the Basic Needs Satisfaction in General Scale: A study with an Early Adolescent Sample.   

Kostina-Ritchey, E., Velez-Gomez, P., & Dodd, S. L.  (2017). Student assets and commitment to learning in an afterschool leadership development program: Looking beyond the myths. Middle Grades Research Journal, 11(2), to be published July/August 2017.

Sherman, K., Gonzales, G., Dodd, S. L., & Kostina-Ritchey, E. (2017). United Future Leaders Ambassadors: How do we engage young leaders in community service? The Journal of Leadership Education, 16(3), available online. DOI: 1012806/V16/I3/A2.

Dodd, S., Follmer-Reece, H., & Ritchey, E. R. (2015).  Food Challenge: Cultivating Food Competence among Adolescents. Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5(4), 71-84.  

Kostina-Ritchey, E., Follmer-Reece, H., Dodd, S. L., Sherman, K. & Gonzales, G. (2015).  United Future Leaders: A Case of the Use of Technology in Youth Programming and Hidden Curriculum.  In S. Blair, P. Claster & S. Claster (Eds.), Sociologocial Studies of Children and Youth (pp. 439-461).  Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing. 

Dodd, S., Follmer-Reece, H., Kostina-Ritchey, E., & Reyna, R. (2015). Food Challenge: Serving Up 4-H to Non-Traditional Audiences. Journal of Extension, 53(4), Article 4IAW4.  Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/2015august/iw5.php

Long, J. D., Dodd, S., & Boswell, C. (2015). Technology application for dietary control: participants' viewpoints. Journal of clinical nursing, 24(5-6), 869-871.


Center for Adolescent Resiliency