Joan Ostrove's research concerns the connections between individual psychology
and social structure. She is particularly interested in the ways in which our positions
in the social structure (specifically with respect to gender and social class, and also
with respect to disability), and at particular historical moments, shape our individual
psychological experiences. 

She has pursued these interests in the domains of women's midlife personality
development, socioeconomic status and health, social class and the college experience,
and relationships between people with disabilities and non-disabled people. 

Currently, she is working on projects related to how social class background shapes
people's experiences at college, on how processes of comparing ourselves to other
people across the social hierarchy might be related to our physical health, and on how
people build alliances across differences related to social identity, especially in the
areas of disability and race. 

Ostrove has been teaching at Macalester since 1999. 

EDUCATION: B.A., Williams College, 1987; M.A., University of Michigan, 1991; Ph.D.,
University of Michigan, 1996 

Journal Articles


Fostering academic self-concept: Advisor support and sense of belonging among international and domestic graduate students (with N. Curtin and A. J. Stewart), American Educational Research Journal (2013)


Self-reflection as scholarly praxis: Researcher identity in Disability Studies (with Jennifer Rinaldi), Disabilities Studies Quarterly (2013)


Social class and belonging: Implications for graduate students’ career aspirations (with A. J. Stewart and N. Curtin), Journal of Higher Education (2011)

Contributions to Books


Building resilience in adolescence: The influences of individual, family, school, and community perspectives and practices (with Linda Risser Lytle, Gina Oliva, and Cindi Cassady), Resilience in deaf children : adaptation through emerging adulthood (2011)

Identifying allies: Explorations of Deaf-hearing relationships (with G. Oliva), Deaf and disability studies: Interdisciplinary perspectives (2010)

Continuing Commitment to Social Change: Portraits of Activism Throughout Adulthood, Women's Untold Stories: Breaking Silence, Talking Back, Voicing Complexity (1999)

Socioeconomic Status and Health: What We Know and What We Don't (with Nancy E. Adler), Socioeconomic Status and Health in Industrial Nations: Social, Psychological, and Biological Pathways (1999)


Measuring socioeconomic status and social class in psychological research, Continuing Education Workshop presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (2010)



Social class and belonging: Implications for college adjustment, Faculty Publications (2007)

This study addressed the extent to which social class position structures a sense of belonging...