Psychology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Diversity Research

The Process of Empowerment: A Model for use in Research and Practice

In this article, we propose a model of the process of empowerment. The notion of empowerment is compelling and much employed across many subfields inside and outside of psychology, but the lack of consistency in the ways prior literature has defined it is an obstacle to meaningful synthesis of findings and consistent application in practice. Our empowerment process model builds on prior work in taking the following steps: articulating empowerment as an iterative process, identifying core elements of that process, and defining the process in a way that is practically useful to both researchers and practitioners with terms that are easily communicated and applied. The components of the model are personally meaningful and power-oriented goals, self-efficacy, knowledge, competence, action, and impact. Individuals move through the process with respect to particular goals, doubling back repeatedly as experience promotes reflection. We make specific recommendations for research and practice and discuss applications to social justice.

Cattaneo, L. B., & Chapman, A. R. (2010). The process of empowerment: a model for use in research and practice. American Psychologist65(7), 646.

Risk Factors for Reabuse in Intimate Partner Violence a Cross-Disciplinary Critical Review

The identification of factors that contribute to reabuse in cases of intimate partner violence is a critical research aim in a variety of disciplines. Such information would have relevance in many contexts where systems or professionals struggle to intervene in such cases, especially in the context of limited resources. This article crosses disciplines to take stock of this body of literature and provide a road map for future research. We include literature in the areas of batterer treatment effectiveness, the effectiveness of criminal and civil court remedies, the evaluation of victim services, and the course of violent relationships over time absent any intervention. We describe the key dimensions along which these studies vary and detail the range of predictors examined by the studies, identifying the most consistent findings. Finally, we make recommendations concerning the methodology and content of future studies.

Cattaneo, L. B., & Goodman, L. A. (2005). Risk factors for reabuse in intimate partner violence a cross-disciplinary critical review. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse6(2), 141-175. 

Stigma and Demographic Correlates of Help‐Seeking Intentions in Returning Service Members

Many U.S. Iraq/Afghanistan-era veterans return from deployment with posttraumatic stress (PTS) symptoms, but few veterans seek psychological help. Research on barriers to care is growing, but the link between stigma and help-seeking is understudied. The present study examined anticipated enacted stigma from military and nonmilitary sources, self-stigma, PTS, perceived likelihood of deploying again, marital status, and history of mental health care engagement as correlates of help-seeking intentions from a mental health professional or medical doctor/advance practice registered nurse (MD/APRN) in a sample of 165 combat veterans. Using structural equation modeling, results demonstrated that self-stigma was negatively associated with help-seeking intentions from a mental health professional and MD/APRN with small-to-medium effect sizes. Being married was positively associated with help-seeking intentions from a mental health professional and MD/APRN with small effect sizes. History of previous mental health care engagement was positively associated with help-seeking intentions from a mental health professional with a medium effect size, but unrelated to help-seeking intentions from a MD/APRN. Anticipated enacted stigma from any source, PTS, and greater perceived likelihood of deploying again were unrelated to help-seeking intentions from a mental health professional and MD/APRN. Implications for interventions aimed at decreasing self-stigma and increasing intention to seek help are discussed.

Blais, R. K., & Renshaw, K. D. (2013). Stigma and demographic correlates of help‐seeking intentions in returning service members. Journal of Traumatic Stress26(1), 77-85. 

Gender Differences in the Associations of PTSD Symptom Clusters with Relationship Distress in US Vietnam Veterans and their Partners

Research has consistently linked symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with relationship distress in combat veterans and their partners. Studies of specific clusters of PTSD symptoms indicate that symptoms of emotional numbing/withdrawal (now referred to as negative alterations in cognition and mood) are more strongly linked with relationship distress than other symptom clusters. These findings, however, are based predominantly on samples of male veterans. Given the increasing numbers of female veterans, research on potential gender differences in these associations is needed. The present study examined gender differences in the multivariate associations of PTSD symptom clusters with relationship distress in 465 opposite-sex couples (375 with male veterans and 90 with female veterans) from the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study. Comparisons of nested path models revealed that emotional numbing/withdrawal symptoms were associated with relationship distress in both types of couples. The strength of this association, however, was stronger for female veterans (b = .46) and female partners (b = .28), compared to male veterans (b = .38) and male partners (b = .26). Results suggest that couples-based interventions (e.g., psychoeducation regarding emotional numbing symptoms as part of PTSD) are particularly important for both female partners of male veterans and female veterans themselves.

Renshaw, K. D., Campbell, S. B., Meis, L., & Erbes, C. (2014). Gender differences in the associations of PTSD symptom clusters with relationship distress in US Vietnam veterans and their partners. Journal of Traumatic Stress27(3), 283-290.

An Experimental Field Study of Interpersonal Discrimination toward Muslim Job Applicants

Integrating justification-suppression and stereotype content models of prejudice, this research examines religious discrimination in employment settings. In the first study, confederates dressed in either Muslim identified or nonreligious attire, who either did or did not provide stereotype-inconsistent information, applied for retail jobs. No differences emerged with regard to interview offers between job applicants dressed in traditional Muslim attire and those in the control condition. However, interactions were shorter and rated (by confederates, observers, and na¨ıve coders) as more interpersonally negative when applicants wore Muslim attire and did not provide stereotype-inconsistent information than when applicants wore nonreligious attire. Similarly, results from a second experimental study in which participants rated fictitious Muslim or non-Muslim job applicants suggest that reactions were most negative toward Muslim applicants who did not provide stereotype-inconsistent information. Together, these findings suggest that justification-suppression and stereotype content models are complementary, and that Muslims may face challenges to employment that reflect a lack of acceptance of this religious identity.

King, E. B., & Ahmad, A. S. (2010). An experimental field study of interpersonal discrimination toward Muslim job applicants. Personnel Psychology63(4), 881-906.

The Social and Economic Imperative of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Supportive Organizational Policies

The central premise of this article is that organizations have social and economic interests in building policies and practices that support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) workers. This argument is based on empirical evidence that (a) LGBT workers continue to face discrimination at work from which they are not protected under federal law, and (b) discrimination has negative consequences for individual’s mental and physical health, and on reasoning that (c) organizations share responsibility for the social good of the communities in which they operate. We offer practical suggestions for creating LGBT-supportive organizations and propose that industrial–organizational psychologists have an ethical obligation to support such efforts.

King, E. B., & Cortina, J. M. (2010). The social and economic imperative of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered supportive organizational policies. Industrial and Organizational Psychology3(1), 69-78.

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