In the Social Issues and Relations Laboratory we study primarily stigma and health (especially health disparities). We approach the study of what might be considered large-scale social issues through a social psychological lens. Given psychology's traditional focus on the individual, we investigate how these relative large issues are represented in individuals' lives and their psychosocial functioning.
Researchers affiliated with SIRL study a range of individual topics, but all have in common a focus on (1) stigma and identity; (2) psychosocial processes; (3) health (broadly defined). Those involved in the lab typically apply stigma and identity theories to a variety of social identities and health-related conditions (e.g., sexual minorities; infertility; mental health; men with HIV). 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 on the inclusion of gender, social class, sexual orientation, and race as variables that might intersect with any given phenomenon of interest.
Some examples of topics examined by lab members include: sexual and gender minority stigma and health disparities, perceived stigma and social support seeking, the influence of stigma perceptions on mental health service seeking and adherence; stigma associated with intimate partner violence and screening in primary care, perceived stigma associated with sexual assault, attitudes toward sexual orientation, and stigma of women's infertility.
SIRL researchers employ a range of methods to examine stigma, psychosocial processes, and health. Our work in the laboratory has involved large-scale surveys, online surveys, experimental designs, community-based work and most recently qualitative and mixed methods techniques.
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.
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