I am a social psychologist and the founder of the Institute of Diversity Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. For the past two decades, my research has focused on evidence-based solutions: How do we create learning and work environments that fulfill young people’s feeling of belonging, nurture self-confidence and connect their academic and professional pursuits to purpose and meaning? I’m particularly interested in the experiences of girls and women, students of color and working-class college students.
Maureen Perry-Jenkins is interviewed about her new book, “Work Matters: How Parents’ Jobs Shape Children’s Well-Being,” which proposes ways to reimagine low-wage work to sustain families and their childrens’ development. Perry-Jenkins says her research for the book tried to understand how, within a group of families that held low-wage jobs, some families thrive and some don’t.
UMass Amherst faculty and alumni recently published a study focused on the intersections of gender diversity and neurodiversity among youth. Scott Greenspan (PhD, School Psychology ’20), Samuel Carr (B.S. Psychology ’19), Ashley Woodman (faculty member in PBS), Amy Cannava, and Yena Li explored school and community-based protective factors that relate to psychological well-being and life satisfaction among 31 transgender and gender diverse autistic youths between the ages of 13 to 17.
This podcast is based on research they conducted together when Goldberg was Rudd Family Visiting Professor in 2021. The project involved a nationwide sample of K-12 teachers, and asked what they knew about adoption, how they use that knowledge, and what they wished they knew.
People diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD) can exhibit problem behaviors that result from impulsivity. PhD Student Elinor Waite and Associate Professor Katherine Dixon-Gordon of the Clinical Affective Science Lab (CASL) have theorized that during these impulsive moments, an individual may not have learned from the negative consequences of their past actions. The researchers wanted to find out if emotions affect learning in a way that makes processing potential consequences more difficult. Their study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, focused on people at-risk of engaging in suicidal behaviors, testing whether their emotional state could ultimately impede decision-making.
UMass Amherst researchers are implementing NIH-supported, family-centered program to aid immigrants in the U.S.
After years of working with Bhutanese community members in Western Massachusetts, a team led by a University of Massachusetts Amherst researcher has developed a peer-led, family-centered preventive intervention to reduce stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms and promote mental health among immigrants in the U.S.
Amid an unprecedented democratic decline in the U.S., a new report by Beyond Conflict, co-authored by UMass Amherst social psychologist Linda Tropp, analyzes America’s current social divides through the lens of social science to understand how threats – both real and perceived – shape our sense of identity, our feelings of belonging and our perceptions of status and power relations in society.
Working with the Theory of Planned Behavior
Professor Emeritus Icek Aizen delivered a keynote address and led a workshop "Working with the Theory of Planned Behavior" at the 7th International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology in Gothenburg, Sweden. The workshop was designed to familiarize participants with the reasoned action approach represented by the theory of planned behavior (TPB). The first segment of the workshop examined use of the theory to understand and predict behavior in various domains, while the second segment dealt with the TPB as a framework for behavior change interventions. Examples were drawn from research related to traffic and transport behavior.
Parenting and child development in low- and middle-income countries
An international research team including Kirby Deater-Deckard has published a new edited book, Parenting and child development in low- and middle-income countries, in which the team summarize findings from the UNICEF Multi-Indicator Cluster Surveys of ~160,000 3-5 year olds in nationally representative samples in 51 low- and middle-income countries. Some of the topics of chapters include child growth and health, caregiving behaviors and practices, violence exposure, and physical home and neighborhood environments.
Associations of suicide risk with emotional reactivity, dysregulation, and eating disorder treatment outcomes
Dominic Denning (Dom), a first-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology division, published a recent study in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. This study elucidates the salience of emotion regulation in understanding suicide risk and attempts in high-risk clinical populations. Importantly, this study demonstrates that pretreatment suicide risk and lifetime suicide attempts are not predictive of treatment outcomes in partially hospitalized patients with eating disorders when using dialectical behavior therapy.
From Threat to Challenge: Understanding the Impact of Historical Collective Trauma on Contemporary Intergroup Conflict
Professor Bernhard Leidner, along with PBS alumna Mengyao Li (lecturer, Queens University Belfast), former PBS colleague Jiyoung Park (assistant professor, UT Dallas), and long-standing collaborator Gilad Hirschberger (professor, Reichman University, Israel) have recently published a high-impact theory paper in Perspectives on Psychological Science. The paper provides a new comprehensive theory of collective trauma from a social neuroscience perspective. "In the context of intergroup conflict, in the present article, we propose a novel theoretical framework to understand the long-term impact of historical trauma on contemporary intergroup relations from both victim and perpetrator perspectives," the paper states.