In the Social Issues and Relations Laboratory we study what might be considered large-scale social issues, such as stigma, violence, and health (particularly women's health). Given psychology's traditional focus on the individual, we investigate how these relative large issues are represented in individuals and their psychosocial functioning.
Researchers and students involved and affiliated with SIRL study a range of individual topics, but all have in common a focus on (1) intimate partner violence and trauma; (2) stigma and identity. Other commonalities include a focus on understanding psychosocial processes involved with both violence and stigma. In particular, whereas the study of intimate partner violence requires the employment of a variety of theoretical perspectives (personal relationships, social psychology, health psychology) to explain violent events and victim psychosocial responses, the investigation of stigma and identity necessitates the application of stigma and identity theories themselves to a variety of social identities and health-related conditions (e.g., sexual assault; infertility; mental health problems). Further, SIRL members appreciate the possible sociocultural influences on the occurrence of social issues and how issues impact individuals psychosocial lives. Therefore, much of our work is centered around the inclusion of gender, social class, race, and immigration as variables that might intersect with any given phenomenon of interest.
Some examples of specific topics which fall under these above general tendencies include: perceived stigma and social support seeking, gender differences in patterns of partner violence and mental health sequelae; perceived stigma of seeking psychological help for children's behavioral problems; barriers to screening for psychosocial concerns such as intimate partner violence in primary care, perceived stigma associated with sexual assault, attitudes toward sexual orientation, and perceived stigma of women's infertility.
Research in the laboratory is largely survey based, but there is some experimental and community-based work going on as well. Please visit our "Current Projects" page to find more details on specific studies being undertaken, and our "People" page to learn about faculty, graduate and undergraduate students involved with SIRL. Also, students receiving extra credit for their courses can sign up for research participation by visiting "SONA Studies".
Thank you for visiting! If you are interested in more information about SIRL please contact us by email.