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Rodica Damian, Ph.D.

Rodica Damian

Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair 
Social, Personality, & Health Psychology
Director, Personality Development and Success Lab
Ph.D., University of California, Davis

Heyne Building, Room 103B
ridamian [at] uh [dot] edu
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Dr. Damian is accepting new graduate students for Fall 2020. 

Biographical Summary

Dr. Rodica Damian is an Associate Professor and Associate Department Chair of Social Psychology at the University of Houston. She obtained her PhD in Social-Personality psychology in 2013 from the University of California, Davis.

In addition to her academic appointment in Psychology, Rodica Damian is the director of the Personality Development and Success Lab. She also serves on the Professional Development Committee of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), and as Consulting Editor for  Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. She is a member of several professional organizations, including the European Association of Personality Psychology (EAPP), the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), the Association for Research in Personality (ARP), and the Association for Psychological Science (APS).

In 2017, she was recognized as Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). 

Research Interests

My  research program is dedicated to understanding the precursors of career success and well-being, as well as the underlying developmental mechanisms. I have an integrative approach, looking at individual differences, life experiences, and social contexts, and I employ diverse methodologies and statistical techniques. Broad research questions include:

  • Which personality and social factors contribute to career success, creativity, and well-being across the lifespan?
  • How do diversifying experiences impact people's personalities and life success?
  • How can people overcome adversity (e.g., dangerous jobs, natural disasters, trauma) and thrive in their careers and personal lives?
  • Which factors promote a healthy development across the lifespan?

For a more detailed list of research questions and current projects, click here.

Prospective Graduate Students

I am currently looking for highly motivated graduate students to join my team. See more details here.

Are you curious which factors promote success, creativity, and happiness? How life experiences and social contexts shape our personalities and change us over time? Why some people thrive against all odds, while others are crushed by the weight of their misfortune? And how we can benefit from diversity in today’s globalizing world?

If you want to join my lab in this exciting scientific quest, then apply for admission to the Social Psychology program at the University of Houston. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Selected Publications

Damian, R. I., Spengler, M., Sutu, A., & Roberts, B. W. (2018). Sixteen going on sixty-six: A longitudinal study of personality stability and change across 50 years.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Advance online publication.

Göllner, R., Damian, R. I., Nagengast, B., Roberts, B. W., & Trautwein, U. (2018). It’s not only who you are but who you are with: High school composition and individuals’ attainment over the life course.  Psychological Science, online first publication. doi:10.1177/0956797618794454.

Goclowska, M, Damian, R. I., & Mor, S. (2018). The Diversifying Experience-Creativity Model: Taking a broader conceptual view of the multiculturalism-creativity link.  Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 49, 303-322.

Spengler, M., Damian, R. I., & Roberts, B. W. (2018). How you behave in school predicts life success above and beyond family background, broad traits, and cognitive ability?  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 114, 620-636.

Damian, R. I., Spengler, M., & Roberts, B. W. (2017). Whose job will be taken over by a computer? The role of personality in predicting job computerizability over the lifespan.  European Journal of Personality, 31, 291–310.

Damian, R. I., & Roberts, B. W. (2015). Settling the debate on birth order and personality.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(46), 14119-14120.

Damian, R. I., & Roberts, B. W. (2015). The associations of birth order with personality and intelligence in a representative sample of U.S. high school students.  Journal of Research in Personality,  58, 96-105.  [Won the Best Paper Award for 2015]

Damian, R. I., & Simonton, D. K. (2015). Psychopathology, adversity, and creativity: Diversifying experiences in the development of eminent African Americans. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 108, 623-636.

Damian, R. I., Su, R., Shanahan, M., Trautwein, U., Roberts, B. (2015). Can personality traits and intelligence compensate for background disadvantage? Predicting status attainment in adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109, 473-89.


Professor Damian teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in personality psychology, and scientific methods and practices.