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Virginia Thomas

Assistant Professor,

Virginia (Gina) Thomas is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Wilmington College. Gina researches emotional development throughout the lifespan with a particular focus on identity and personality. Her current research investigates the role of solitude in identity development and emotional well-being. How do social media and digital devices affect the capacity to be alone? How do introversion and extraversion affect solitude experiences? What are the skills necessary to utilize solitude constructively? In a second line of research, Gina explores the identity work that occurs during developmental transitions, especially the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Her work has examined emerging adults’ social class identity and religious identity. Other areas of scholarship and interest include feminist theory, depth psychology, and mindfulness. She specializes in mixed methods research, with an emphasis on conducting in-depth interviews and analyzing the narratives using a variety of qualitative methods. Gina regularly presents her research at conferences and publishes in top peer-reviewed journals in her field. She is also a blogger for Psychology Today, writing about the latest research on solitude and reflections on the art of being alone. Read it here.

Visit my blog, “Solitude in a Social World,” on Psychology Today.


Courses Taught at Wilmington

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Personality Psychology
  • Psychology of Women
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Depth & Transpersonal Psychology
  • Capstone in Psychology


  • Ph.D., 2017, Developmental Psychology with an Emphasis in Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • M.A., 2009, Depth Psychology, Sonoma State University
  • Certificate, 2003, Holistic Health Care, Western Michigan University
  • B.S., 2000, Psychology, University of Evansville

Selected Publications

Thomas, V. (under review). The functions of solitude in emerging adulthood.

Thomas, V., Balzer Carr, B., Azmitia, M., & Whittaker, S. (under review). Alone and on-line: Understanding the relationships between social media, solitude, and psychological adjustment.

Thomas, V., & Azmitia, M. (2019). Motivation matters: Development and validation of the Motivation for Solitude Scale – Short Form (MSS-SF). Journal of Adolescence, 70 (1), 33-42.

Thomas, V. (2017). How to be alone: An investigation of solitude skills. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (Accession No. 10287880). Published Open Source:

Thomas, V. & Azmitia, M. (2016). Tapping into the app: Updating the Experience Sampling Method for the 21st century. Emerging Adulthood, 4 (1), 60-67.

Thomas, V., Azmitia, M., & Whittaker, S. (2016). Unplugged: Exploring the costs and benefits of constant connection. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 540-548.

Azmitia, M. & Thomas, V. (2015). Intersectionality and the development of self and identity. In R. Scott & S. Kosslyn (Eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1-9, Wiley & Sons.

Thomas, V. & Azmitia, M. (2014). Does class matter? Examining the centrality of social class identity for emerging adults. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 14 (3), 195-213.

Jenkins, T. & Thomas, V. (2009). From radicalism to mainstream evangelicalism: Exploring the effects of doctrinal upheaval on second-generation members in the Worldwide Church of God. Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 3 (2), 113-140.