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Community Psychology: Past and Present. Marybeth Shinn Vanderbilt University Presentation at National Institute on Teaching of Psychology (NITOP), January, 2012. Audiences. Teachers who want to incorporate a class session on community psychology into their courses

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community psychology past and present

Community Psychology: Past and Present

Marybeth Shinn

Vanderbilt University

Presentation at National Institute on Teaching of Psychology (NITOP), January, 2012

  • Teachers who want to incorporate a class session on community psychology into their courses
  • Advisors of students who want to make a difference, and aren’t sure how to prepare themselves
  • Overview of community psychology
    • Origins
    • Current themes
  • For teachers
    • Community psychology in relationship to your fields
    • Current research examples
  • For advisors
    • Overview of graduate training
    • Council of Education Programs powerpoint oneducational options and careers
  • Clinical psychology: focus on welfare, but not just one individual at a time
  • Public health: focus on prevention, populations
  • Social psychology (Lewin): action research; reversing the fundamental attribution error
  • Developmental psychology (Bronfenbrenner): levels of context from microsystem to macrosystem
initial themes
Initial Themes
  • Contexts of human welfare
  • Synergy of research and action
  • Social justice
additional current themes
Additional Current Themes
  • Positive change, health, and empowerment at individual and systemic levels
  • Collaborative relationships with communities, groups, organizations in directing change
  • Multidisciplinary approach
teaching community psychology
Teaching community psychology
  • Introductory exercise (for any class)
  • Research exemplars relevant to
    • Social psychology
    • Developmental psychology
    • Clinical/abnormal psychology
    • Materials in packet include teaching resources and a lecture outline by Jean Hill (particularly suitable for intro or health psychology)
    • Resources for service learning courses are at:
introductory teaching exercise origins of homelessness
Introductory Teaching Exercise: Origins of Homelessness

Why do some people become homeless?

Why do so many people become homeless?

  • Alcohol, drugs
  • Mental illness
  • Job loss
  • Underwater on mortgage
  • Laziness
  • Bad luck
  • Poverty, inequality
  • Recession
  • Foreclosure crisis
  • Unemployment rates
social psychology achievement gap
Social psychology: Achievement Gap
  • Social Psychologists study stereotype threat, implicit theories of intelligence, etc.
  • Community psychologist Kenneth Maton in collaboration with university president Freeman Hrabowski closed the gap in STEM disciplines at UMBC
    • African American students have GPAs comparable to Caucasian and Asian students
    • A third of African American graduates are in STEM majors
    • University is major contributor of African American students to science Ph.D. programs
umbc meyerhoff program maton
UMBC Meyerhoff Program (Maton)

Transformation of Culture

Theory of Empowering Settings

  • Financial Aid
  • Summer bridge program
  • Study groups
  • Program values
  • Program community
  • Personal advising, counseling
  • Tutoring
  • Multiple research experiences
  • Faculty, administrative, family involvement
  • Mentors
  • Community service
  • Group-based belief system
  • Core activities
  • Relational environment
  • Opportunity role structure
  • Leadership
  • Setting maintenance and change
developmental psychology positive youth development
Developmental Psychology: Positive Youth Development
  • Developmental psychologists study settings that foster positive youth development
  • In his book, Immigrants raising citizens, community psychologist Hirokazu Yoshikawa followed a birth cohort of 380 infants of African American, Chinese, Dominican, and Mexican families through age 3:
    • Surveys of parents
    • Direct assessment of children
    • Ethnographic interviews with a subset of families
immigrants raising citizens yoshikawa
Immigrants Raising Citizens (Yoshikawa)
  • Children of undocumented parents showed delayed:
    • Early language development
    • Motor development
    • Perceptual skills
  • Mediators
    • 24 months: Economic hardship, parental distress
    • 36 months: Parental work conditions, low use of center-based child care
abnormal clinical functional impairment
Abnormal/Clinical: Functional Impairment
  • Clinical psychologists study functional impairment and how to overcome it.
  • Community psychologist Sam Tsemberis created a Housing First program for individuals with serious mental illnesses and long histories of homelessness:
    • Individuals on the street are given apartments with private landlords, without preconditions
    • Wrap-around services are available but under tenant control
pathways housing first tsemberis
Pathways Housing First (Tsemberis)
  • In randomized trial (Tsemberis, Gulcur, Shinn, others) comparing housing first to the “staircase model” housing first participants:
    • Had 99 fewer days homeless in first year
    • Did not differ in substance abuse
      • Data were consistent with control programs sorting rather than changing people
    • Cost less, due to lower levels of hospitalization
    • Got housed faster and stayed indoors longer
summary for teaching
Summary for Teaching
  • Community psychologists use research and theory to empower individuals and create positive social change
  • Community psychologists focus on social contexts, including policy contexts, that promote (or inhibit) positive outcomes for individuals
  • Many more resources at
advising students education programs at http www scra27 org education
Advising Students: Education Programs at
  • 44 Ph.D. Programs
    • 17 Community Psychology
    • 15 Clinical/Community Psychology
    • 12 Interdisciplinary programs
  • 27 Masters programs
    • 19 Community Psychology
    • 3 Community-counseling/clinical
    • 5 Interdisciplinary/prevention
advising students
Advising Students
  • website has many more resources, including:
    • article by Sharon Hakim, which is in your meeting materials
    • Power point by Council of Education Programs (also shown at NITOP meeting)
  • See also the Community Tool Box:
    • Marvelous free resource with over 7,000 pages of practical guidance in creating community change
  • For age structure of homelessness (citation for calculation, no graph):
    • Shinn, M. (2010). Homelessness, poverty, and social exclusion in the United States and Europe. European Journal of Homelessness, 4, 19-44.
  • For Maton empowerment and UMBC story
    • Maton, K. I. (2008). Empowering community settings: Agents of individual development, community betterment, and positive social change. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 4-21.
    • Maton, K. L., Hrabowski, F.A., Özdemir, M., & Wimms, H. (2008). Enhancing representation, retention, and achievement of minority students in higher education: A social transformation theory of change. In M. Shinn & H. Yoshikawa (Eds.). Toward positive youth development: Transforming schools and community programs (pp. 115-132). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • For Yoshikawa study of immigrant groups:
    • Yoshikawa, H. (2012) Immigrants raising citizens: Undocumented parents and their young children. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • For Housing First study results
    • Gulcur, L., Stefancic, A., Shinn, M., Tsemberis, S., & Fischer, S.N. (2003). Housing, hospitalization and cost outcomes for homeless individuals with psychiatric disabilities participating in Continuum of Care and Housing First programmes. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 13,171-186.
    • Tsemberis, S., Gulcur, L. & Nakae, M. (2004). Housing first, consumer choice, and harm reduction for homeless individuals with a dual diagnosis. American Journal of Public Health, 94 (4), 651-656.
    • Tsemberis, S., Moran, L.L., Shinn, M., Asmussen, S. M., & Shern, D. L. (2003). Consumer preference programs for homeless individuals with psychiatric disabilities: A drop-in center and a supported housing program. American Journal of Community Psychology, 32, 305-317.