Andrew Abeyta, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. He is a social psychologist who studies basic psychological needs in an attempt to understand how these needs motivate people to do the things they do, believe the things they believe, think the way they think, and how these needs impact people’s ability to lead healthy and productive psychological lives.
Specifically, Dr. Abeyta’s research is focused on how people satisfy the need for meaning in life (defined as the desire to feel that one’s existence is important, purposeful, and coherent), for example through religion, supernatural beliefs, culture, and achievement. Moreover, his research is interested in the implications of the need for meaning in life for psychological well-being and psychological resilience. Additionally, Dr. Abeyta’s research is interested in the need for social belonging, as well as psychological factors, like the experience of nostalgia, that promote social belonging and inspire efforts to connect with others. Moreover, Dr. Abeyta researches the implications of loneliness and lack of social belonging. In particular, as a first-generation college student himself, Dr. Abeyta is interested in how to promote belonging and engagement among first-generation and diverse students, who may feel they do not belong in college or feel that they are not “college material”.