My primary program of research as a social psychologist focuses on issues of social identity and how identity threat can affect psychological, biological, and behavioral outcomes. I am interested in developing a theoretical framework that explains why members of marginalized social groups often experience negative outcomes that cascade across discipline boundaries. My research supports the idea that social identity threat can undermine psychological needs. When people continuously question whether they fit in or doubt their control over the environment, they experience stress. Over time, I theorize, this psycho-social stress and the corresponding coping reactions can affect mental and physical health and other outcomes that reciprocally reinforce each other and contribute to intergroup disparities. My research program is focused on testing these ideas. I have an additional interest in the social psychology of technology.
My research is informed by social psychological theory and by my pre-academic career. I graduated college with a degree in humanities and went on to direct a social service program for homeless youth. I later pursued a masters in counseling psychology. After graduating, I conducted research at the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University on "systems of care" for youth with severe emotional and behavioral disorders. I received my Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Oregon and am currently an associate research scientist at Columbia University in New York.
My research has been funded by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Spencer foundation, and the Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.