My expertise is in the development of narrative identity. Trained in a socio-cultural, Vygotskian approach to culture, I examine storytelling as a socially and culturally mediated mechanism for identity development. Recently, I have been examining the concept of master narratives, culturally shared (or known) stories that serve as guides for personal storytelling. I am interested in how individuals negotiate their personal stories with these master narratives, particularly when the two do not align. This allows me to ask questions about the role of cultural affordances for and constraints on personal identity development, as well as the role of personal identity development in cultural change.
I am a consumer well-being researcher. My research interests lie primarily in two domains; food decision making and morality. In my first research stream, food decision making, I explore how external cues can impact consumer judgments and consumption behavior, with an emphasison understanding the underlying processes behind such effects. In my second research stream,morality, I develop insights on the role of internal cues (i.e., moral foundations theory) in consumer judgments. In both of these domains, my priority is to produce research to promote consumer well-being. Both food well-being and morality domains represent fruitful areas for future investigation. I look forward to continuing research in these areas, exploring new effects and uncovering the mechanisms behind such effects.
In the area of morality, my work can be classified under two categories: (im) moral behaviors in the marketplace and the impact of moral values on judgments and consumer behavior. One example of my work in the first category is a paper published at the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing where me and my co-authors examine how public policy can be leveraged to promote moral consumption in the marketplace. In a separate paper (published at Journal of Business Research), I investigate how variations in consumers’ moral concerns interact with a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR)/sustainability record. I have a recent project in the context of the subsistence marketplaces in Tanzania where my coauthors and I have evaluated the knowledge of the Maasai youth of the impact of climate change in the subsistence marketplaces, and we created a sustainability education framework for these communities (invited revision at theJournal of Public Policy and Marketing). As part of another international project, my coauthor and I are currently working on the impact of lay beliefs on medicine consumption habits of Sri-Lankan vulnerable population (ongoing).
I’m a medical anthropologist at Western Washington University and use collaborative mixed-methods research to examine the intersections of identity, health and other social issues. My research draws from public health and anthropology to (1) test health interventions for Latinos living with chronic disease, (2) examines gender-based disciplinary trends in anthropology, and (3) documents risky fieldwork practices and mitigation strategies, all with a critical eye on policies and practices that impact underserved populations. See seanbruna.com.
The ultimate goal of my research is to improve access to psychosocial interventions for individuals at risk for eating and weight disorders and for those who have already developed these concerns. One primary area of research examines the effectiveness of an inclusive body image program called the EVERYbody Project that aims to reduce modifiable eating disorder risk factors among diverse individuals. The EVERYbody Project is an active, group-based program that critically examines socio-cultural pressures on appearance and critiques the diversity representation within cultural appearance ideals (e.g., a lack of representation of diverse races and ethnicities, sexual and gender identities, ages, and ability statuses).
Other aspects of my research program include interventions to reduce weight bias, or negative attitudes toward obese individuals, as well as evaluations of school-based nutrition and health programs.
My interests in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination have evolved to examine how cultural humility may be an important component in improving intercultural relationships. This interest has been part of previously funded CCCR collaborative projects with WCC (The Equity Project) and ongoing research examining how majority group members (e.g., Whites, men, heterosexuals) develop and/or display their allyship to marginalized groups.
I maintain a strong interest in the ways in which interpersonal confrontation can be an effective way to reduce bias and will be working with students on a project that examines how confronting the bias of older family members specifically may be effective.
My research examines the psychological impact of trauma and abuse perpetrated within close relationships. In my research and teaching, I seek to highlight the role of social and cultural contexts (family, community, society) in interpersonal violence perpetration and in promoting trauma healing, recovery, and advocacy. To learn more about the THRIVE Lab research team and access copies of lab publications, please visit the THRIVE Lab website.
Recently, CCCR colleagues and I have developed a CCCR-funded program of research on cultural preferences for how people tell stories of traumatic events. In this interdisciplinary work, both theory-building and empirical, we have focused on the influence of redemptive story-telling and cultural stigma in shaping how trauma stories are told and whose voices and privileged or silenced in the process (Delker, Salton*, & McLean, in press; Delker, Salton*, McLean, & Syed, under review; McLean, Delker, Dunlop, Salton*, & Syed, under review; Salton*, Boggs*, Delker, & McLean, 2019). Our CCCR colleagues have provided valuable feedback and conversation on this continuing work.
In general, my research interests focus on multicultural competency in counseling/psychotherapy, intersections of identities, integrating critical theory into psychological science and practice, and community-based interventions/collaborations (e.g., workshops, trainings).
My research is focused on understanding identity development processes among marginalized populations, especially those who reflect multiple marginalized identities. With this knowledge I work towards developing interventions to increase the well-being of Latina/o/x, LGBTQ, and LGBTQ People of Color communities. For example, I have conducted studies exploring how the “coming out” process varies among gay White men and gay Latinos, and how this impacts these men’s well-being and mental health.
My primary goal in joining the CCCR is to develop exciting collaborative work with other members. As I build a cultural lens to my work, I look forward to learning new practices (e.g., methodological or statistical tools and approaches) and exploring new areas of research through collaborations.
In general, my research examines how individuals represent and evaluate others’ socio-moral behavior and why individuals engage in behaviors that benefit others (i.e., prosocial behaviors), with a particular emphasis on early development. Most recently, I have investigated whether and why positive emotions reward young children’s generous behavior. I am interested in further investigating how emotions may promote generosity from an early age as well as how the identity of a (potential) recipient could influence one’s emotional experience from giving (e.g., group membership of recipient, familiarly of recipient).
Diana Gruman, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
In my career as a school counselor educator, I strive to train culturally-competent professionals to use evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence to improve the lives of school children in Pre-School—12th grade systems. My research is focused on identifying and promoting interventions to address mental health issues and promote wellness, social-emotional learning and career/academic development across diverse populations.
A recent set of projects based in Mongolia is allowing me to apply and adapt my expertise in American schools to a new context. I just returned from Mongolia where I am working with researchers and students at WWU and National University of Mongolia to adapt and validate school climate and bullying measures to study risk and protective factors related to academic coping, children’s hope and future orientation in secondary schools (7th-12th grade). Through this partnership, I will also be advising Mongolian educators and ministry officials about best practices in school-based mental health. I am excited to share ideas and collaborate with other CCCR members.
As faculty in the Community/Public Health program, my research is in sexual and reproductive health,specifically focusing on consent communication, sexual assault prevention, and abortion access and attitudes. Sexuality is culturally specific and interdisciplinary by nature so my previous work has spanned collaborations with colleagues in many different fields (e.g., psychology, human development, sociology). I am new to Western and looking forward to establishing new connections with the CCCR associates.
My research is primarily mixed methods—both open-ended and closed-ended surveys. I incorporated media into my last project by developing a video intervention on abortion restrictions in the state of Arkansas, measuring effectiveness with a randomized pre-test, post-test, follow-up design. Additionally, I have been involved in projects with large-scale field data collection, alcohol administration, and cognitive interviewing. These different methodologies allow teams to study different aspects of sexuality, and I hope to use these skills with teams at Western.
I look forward to further developing my research in collaboration with CCCR associates and extending my work to further incorporate qualitative methods and cross-cultural data.
My research examines the causes, consequences, and developmental trajectory of cultural attitudes, stereotypes, and beliefs about social groups. One of my current lines of research investigates the impact of counter-stereotypical exemplars on children’s explicit and implicit race and gender bias. In another line of research, I am examining children’s social group status attributions, and the role of culture and experience in shaping these beliefs.
Much of my research focuses on examining measurement invariance, or the degree to which the psychometric properties of measures can vary across cultures, countries, and participant demographics. Specifically, I use reliability generalization meta-analysis to examine the degree to which commonly used instruments produce varying degrees of error across groups.
A second area of research focuses on modeling adaptation to stress in diverse populations. My work in this area has included examining the applicability of the social buffering model in same-sex couples and, more recently, statistically modeling reactions to natural disasters in Fiji and the Philippines.
I also study adaptive processes in romantic relationships: factors contributing to successful relationships, and the ways in which our relationships make us better people. Specifically, my research in this area focuses on conceptualizing romantic love and integrating the concept of “flow” into the self-expansion model.
I am an applied cognitive psychologist studying attention and memory. Culture and identity are important factors influencing autobiographical memory. I am currently conducting a research project with Kate McLean on early memories related to ethnic identity. We are looking for differences in the age and content of these memories. I have conducted other research on the self and memory.
I have conducted a wide variety of research concerning attention, consciousness, and memory. My lab’s previous research has focused on topics such as the creation of false childhood memories and on cell phone use causing inattentional blindness.
I’m interested in studying early childhood development (ECD) and education (ECE) in different cultural contexts as well as the role of play in children’s learning. My dissertation was a collaborative cross-cultural study which was designed to investigate Chinse and US preschool children’s cooperative problem solving during play in their every classroom contexts. In that study, I also interviewed teachers using the video-stimulated recall approach in order to understand their beliefs, pedagogies, and decision makings. I expect to contribute my knowledge and skills regarding global perspectives on ECD and ECE, play, and cross-cultural research methodology to the CCCR.
I have been working with my mentor, Dr. Mary Jane More at the University of Tennessee regarding Head Start teachers’ culturally responsive home visiting since 2013, and now we are in the stage of revising the manuscript. Teacher professional development is one of my research interests, and I want to continue working with pre- and in-service teachers.
Men’s Resiliency Program Coordinator – Counseling Center
I am new to WWU and am looking for opportunities to collaborate with others conducting research. I bring a Native lens to the conversation and find it meaningful to explore how systems of power, privilege, and oppression impact our society.
My broad research interests include the intersections of academics and athletics in Native communities. Specifically, I have researched the use of Native imagery in sports and my upcoming dissertation will look at the colonization of lacrosse and the experiences of Native lacrosse players in NCAA Division I lacrosse. As the coordinator of the Men’s Resiliency Program at WWU, I plan to explore concepts of resilience and masculinity in higher education.
Kendall Lawley, MS
Staff, Department of Psychology
I joined the Center for Cross-Cultural Research as an experimental psychology graduate student in 2017. In that time, I have participated in multiple collaborative CCCR research projects that are directly related to my values and goals as a researcher.
Broadly speaking, I am interested in exploring the ways in which identification with, and access to, one’s broader socio-cultural community can influence physical and behavioral health outcomes for historically and culturally marginalized individuals (e.g. LGBTQ individuals). I am particularly interested in the ways in which other identity characteristics (e.g. race and ethnicity, religious affiliation, gender identity, body size) may influence this relationship. Because physical health is an important component of my scholarly interests and so little health-related research examines the role of culture, I intend to continue to pursue personal and collaborative research projects through the CCCR for the duration of my time at Western in order to help provide a physical health perspective, as well as insure my research remains cultural in nature.
I am interested in exploring the cultural contexts within which interpersonal and psychological systems operate, and in examining how these factors shape each other over time. I am most interested in exploring how cultural or sub-cultural variations affect stress, coping, and health. My students and I recently described a dynamic biopsychosocial approach to understanding these relationships. Students Kendall Lawley and Zach Willett, together with Dr. Christie Scollon and I have recently published a paper that explores cultural variation in social support provision. We have a related project examining culture and social support receipt. I am also supervising graduate student Kendall Lawley’s thesis on LGBTQ identity and health.
My research on stress, coping, and health has included investigations of physiological and emotional responses to naturally occurring stressful events, including those marked by concern for social evaluation. Other areas of interest include social support, mindfulness meditation, and the implications of early life environment for adult health. Finally, I am also interested in innovative methodological and statistical techniques, such as experience sampling methods and multilevel modeling.
I spent the 2016-2017 academic year teaching at Yale-NUS College, a small and highly diverse liberal arts school in Singapore. I was fascinated to learn the ways in which the culture in Singapore is different from the US. I conducted quantitative and qualitative research at Yale-NUS to explore how cultural diversity has affected student learning experiences, and presented these results to the CCCR. Here at WWU, I am supervising graduate student Kayla Christiani on her thesis research examining the effects of participating in race dialogue groups.
I am excited that my position at WWU allows me to pursue my eclectic interests across social, cognitive, and personality psychology. I’ve worked on projects about bias pertaining to race, sexual orientation, body size, and gender identity.
Jennifer McCabe, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
‘s Website Coming Soon
My program of research broadly pertains to maternal-child health. In the United States, maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rates are among the highest of any industrialized nation, despite high per capita spending on health care and public health efforts. These devastating outcomes are notably higher among racial and ethnic minorities. One goal of my research is to address these health disparities among women and their children, and I hope to continue developing my multicultural perspective toward research, teaching, and clinical work through my collaborations within the CCCR.
During postdoctoral fellowship, I received specialty training in couples and family health. More specifically, I study pregnancy and postpartum mental health and its consequences for parenting and child development. The goal of my research is to develop and test interventions designed to decrease maternal distress during pregnancy, improve mother-infant interactions, and promote child social-emotional development.
I am excited about the opportunity to build collaborative and generative relationships with other members of the CCCR. I bring a methodological approach grounded in interdisciplinary qualitative research and a cultural lens informed by sociology and social psychology. I look forward to continuing to building on my existing knowledge and skills while also contributing from my own work to the collective group as a whole.
In general, I am interested in how organizations – and “people changing” organizations in particular – shape life course trajectories, cultural constructions of identity, and processes of social mobility, especially among marginalized populations. My current project explores how first-generation students across the United States navigate social mobility during college and how students and their families make sense of the process of “becoming socially mobile” – a multifaceted and deeply intensive transformative process that many students and their families do not anticipate as it does not fit within generalized cultural narratives about college going and social mobility.
My research explores the cognitive processes underlying children’s acquisition of cultural knowledge and how those processes change throughout development. I address this question from multiple angles, including how children utilize statistical reasoning to learn cultural conventions, how they distinguish behavioral regularities (what is) from social norms (what ought to be), and their perceptions of people who violate norms.
Climate change is threatening the existence of cultures and communities around the globe. My colleagues in Mongolia, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand, the Philippines, Western’s CCCR (Dr. Jim Graham) and I are examining factors associated with climate change risk perceptions, behavioral adaptation, and indigenous knowledge. I am a delegate for the Kingdom of Tonga to the United Nations Climate Change conferences in Poland and Chile.
Natural disasters are catastrophic stressors that threaten life, property, and community functioning. For more than 20 years, my colleagues in Thailand, Indonesia, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the United States, and I have been examining the relationships among stress, social support, posttraumatic growth, and cultural variables. In the wake of the Indian Ocean Tsunami in Thailand, I established the International Tsunami Museum to assist survivors with recovery and preparedness.
My colleagues in Mongolia, Western’s CCCR (Dr. Diana Gruman), and I are conducting projects examining bullying, cyberbullying, and school climate.
Dr. Walt Lonner, Dr. Dale Dinnel, Dr. Sue Hayes, and I (all members of Western’s CCCR) created and edited the Online Readings in Psychology and Culture series.
At the appointment of the Washington State Supreme Court, I serve on the Washington State Bar Association Disciplinary Board. For more than 10 years, I have served as a reviewer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.
I have been investigating cross-cultural differences and similarities in emotions and well-being for most of my 14-year career. Questions my research has sought to address are: Is the measurement of subjective well-being the same across cultures (Scollon, Diener, Oishi, & Biswas-Diener, 2004; Scollon & Tov, 2012)? What measures are likely to yield greater cross-cultural differences (Scollon, Koh, & Au, 2011; Tov & Scollon, 2011)? Why are some cultures happier than others (Wirtz & Scollon, 2012)? What are the origins of cultural differences in the valuation of happiness?
I am also currently collaborating with CCCR associates on two projects. With Dr. Barbara Lehman, one project examines cultural differences in social support and well-being. With Dr. Kate McLean, another project examines cultural differences in identity narratives. Both of these projects compare data from WWWU undergraduates with data from Singapore Management University undergraduates.
More generally, my experience of living in Asia for the past 9 years has helped sharpen my observations of cultural influences on human behavior, which I hope will provide a rich source of ideas and inspiration for future cross-cultural research.
Aaron Smith, PhD, Advisory Board (2018 – 2020)
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology
My research interests, broadly, revolve around the development of mental health interventions intended to facilitate greater wellness among Veterans of the Armed Forces. This also includes development of the first set of established standards or competencies for counselors in working with Veterans in a clinical mental health capacity. My current research focus relates to how perceptions of meaning-in-life affect Posttraumatic Growth (PTG) outcomes among Veteran survivors of trauma. I am also interested in exploring how mental health professionals might assist in facilitating greater PTG-outcomes in military populations engaged in counseling.
A goal that I hope to bring with me to the CCCR include collaborating with interdisciplinary professionals and students to begin examining how trauma may differentially affect mental wellness among Veterans of the Armed Forces relative to their civilian peers. I also hope to examine how the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies may be used to both enhance mental health work with Veteran-populations and advocate for greater social-inclusion upon transitioning out of the military and when returning home from deployment.
Anne Tietjen, PhD
Instructor, Department of Psychology (retired)
Past work includes research on developmental issues in Sweden and Papua New Guinea. She recently spent there months in Bhutan, working as a clinical psychologist at the National Referral Hospital and teaching at the Medical Sciences University. She is especially interested in Buddhist philosophy and practices related to psychotherapy in Buddhist cultures.
Joseph E. Trimble, PhD
Distinguished University Professor, Department of Psychology
Ethical and responsible conduct of research; mental health correlates and the experiences of indigenous populations; diversity and leadership; multicultural psychology; social network analysis; cross-cultural psychology; stress and coping among indigenous populations.
I am an organizational psychologist and my research interests center around two interrelated streams – 1) positive psychological approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and 2) socio-cultural factors affecting well-being in a variety of national and regional contexts. In the first, I focus on tapping into the values, strengths, resources, and energy of motivated dominant group allies to understand how they can meaningfully contribute to fostering equity, inclusiveness, and belonging. This has led to new projects with CCCR students such as the role of emotions in allyship enactment (with Rachael Waldrop, manuscript under review), role of cultural humility in allyship (with Natalia Saavedra), giving and receiving relational support as allies (with Kayla Christiani). In my second stream of research, I explore how socio-cultural factors within broader societal contexts shape and impact the well-being of underrepresented/marginalized groups (e.g., women, immigrants, expatriates, indigenous populations). More importantly, I explore how culturally-relevant individual strengths as well as environmental resources and assets can be harnessed to foster their well-being. Recently, this work has led to a variety of collaborative projects with scholars in Congo, Dubai, Fiji, and China. Findings from the Congo project will be submitted for publication in the proposed volume on Cross-cultural Research Methods (edited by CCCR Director, Kate McLean, Oxford University Press).
Outside of the CCCR, my research has led to a few different projects that have been recently published or are currently under review. My work in diversity, equity and inclusion has led to a review paper on taking a positive psychological perspective to reinvigorating gender research in management (doi:10.1111/ijmr.12206). The paper will also be accompanied by a video and teaching guide for educators interested in using this as a resource in their classrooms. This paper recently received an award from the International Positive Psychology Association (2019). In another project with a WWU colleague (Samit Bordoloi, Woodring College of Education), I am investigating how men can serve as allies in male-dominated disciplines of academia (one paper under review, and one in progress). As part of an international project, I am examining how cultural beliefs of fear and fragility of happiness affects well-being in Dubai (under review). Along with my collaborators, I am also examining positive psychological approaches to evaluating social justice interventions through a case study of a half-way house for previously incarcerated women (under review). Finally, I am excited to soon join as a new Editor of the International Journal of Wellbeing.
As a new Assistant Professor at Western Washington University, I am particularly interested in connecting with the CCCR network of associates and students to learn from and engage with others in addressing complex social and social psychology questions. My research uses a social psychological lens to investigate how our relationships with others inform our attitudes and behaviors. Most often, I use this lens to look at the causes and impacts of environmental issues. I have been involved in numerous interdisciplinary collaborations and published with over 30 different researchers from fields like sociology, anthropology, philosophy, criminology, chemistry, medical science, biology, social work, and communications among others. I find that interdisciplinary research is essential to addressing complex social problems. In addition, as a transgender man, much of my work has also revolved around bringing diverse perspectives into the field. Because of this, most recently, I served as a Coordinator for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Rutgers-Camden along with teaching and doing research.
My work is guided by a central question: How do our relationships with others inform our attitudes and behaviors? Substantively, I study issues concerning the environment, science and technology, human-animal relationships, and gender and sexuality. I am currently working on a project with National Geographic Society affiliated photographers evaluating how photographic elements influence empathy and affect conservation behaviors. In addition, I am also working with a colleague on a grant funded project to assess how off-grid housing can be used to reduce climate change impacts in rural communities in South America. Beyond these projects, my published research has explored the sustainability practices of college students, public support for plant-based diets, individual perceptions of environmental risk, the social drivers of climate-induced migration, support for new energy technologies (like hydraulic fracturing), the political influence of greenhouse gas emissions, the place of women in conservation networks, and the importance of imagery in promoting pro-environmentalism. I also conduct research on a variety of questions within transgender studies. I am currently working on several papers exploring how individuals form opinions about transgender rights and how values and an understanding of science informs these perspectives. Much of my research has involved working in interdisciplinary teams.
2nd Year in Experimental MS program.
My research interests include how culture impacts the way we socialize. My thesis examines how culture and the ability to make new relationships impacts social anxiety. I am currently focusing on the cultural differences between the U.S. and Japan in levels of social anxiety and how it is expressed. I am also extremely interested in measurement equivalence when comparing cross-culturally.
2019 Graduate of the Experimental MS program.
I am interested in how culture and social groups help people shape their identities. More specifically, I am interested in how culture and social groups play a role in how people make sense of who they are over time.
Undergraduate, WWU, Psychology Department
My research interests include trauma, specifically how it affects early childhood development and LGBTQ issues.
3rd Year in the Experimental MS program
My research interests primarily include improving race-relations in a higher education setting. The Center for Cross Cultural Research has been a pedagogical avenue that has allowed me to explore different topics, approaches and lenses to examining culture with competence and empirically. My research aspirations directly align with the center because of the emphasis on the interaction between psychological processes and culture. Improving race-relations includes aiming to understand psychological mechanisms that may contribute to positive or negative interracial interactions.
1st Year in the Experimental MS program.
I am interested in researching culture, stress, social support and health. I want to further understand the connection between stress and health and how culture and social support may play roles in this relationship.
2nd Year in Experimental MS Program
As a woman of color, I’ve been keenly aware of the way race and gender intersect in academic settings my whole life and those experiences have helped shape my current research interests. I am focused on student of color sense of belonging on predominantly White college campuses and the various experiences that can either be detrimental or beneficial for students of color. Specifically, I plan to explore the role that White allies play in creating more welcoming campus environments
3rd Year in the Experimental MS program
My research interests include various factors that influence positive interracial interactions. I am particularly interested in emotional motivations as well as representations of the self in relation to personal, internalized values. As I am being trained formally in experimental methods, I am excited to be a part of the CCCR and take advantage of the variety of perspectives and methodological tools that are offered.