Jessica Murray received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at The Graduate Center, CUNY in 2020. Her dissertation, Self-Determination in Transportation: the Route to Social Inclusion for People with Disabilities explores the role of basic psychological needs in transportation environments. Findings from a series of mixed-methods studies show that disabled participants were more likely to experience obstacles that impact autonomy, relatedness, and competence than nondisabled participants. Greater difficulty with obstacles was associated with worse short-term moods while traveling. A measure of needs fulfillment for the three basic psychological needs was positively associated with long-term well-being and mediated the relationship between transportation barriers and well-being.
Dr. Murray earned a BFA in Design from the University of Texas at Austin in 2003 and worked as a graphic designer in a variety of media in Dallas, TX, and in New York City, her home since 2008. She managed a small creative team at an online marketing company in New York, simultaneously discovering interests in interpersonal work relationships and the intersection of work and personal life, with a special interest in commuting and transportation.
While completing her MA at The Graduate Center, her interests changed to reflect her growing awareness of obstacles that impact independent mobility for people with disabilities. She completed an MA in Liberal Studies, on the Psychology of Work and Family track in 2014. Her thesis was titled Work-Life Experiences for People with Mobility Disabilities Living in New York City, which examined structural and environmental issues affecting the daily lives of wheelchair users.