About the Social Psychology Program
The social psychology program at Kent State University is an active and vibrant group of faculty and students who use social psychological theory and state-of-the-art research methods to understand real-world issues, especially those with implications for physical and mental health. Each faculty member has a distinctive research program, but they share a common interest in understanding how people’s personality and social environments shape their adjustment to stress and influence their mental and physical health. The research labs in the social program have particular strengths in topics such as interpersonal relationships, health behavior, and well-being.
NEWS: Our social psychology program was recently ranked as one of the top social psychology programs in terms of research impact (Nosek et al., Sept 2010, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin).
Research Training in Social Psychology
The social psychology program is designed to train students in conducting and communicating high-quality psychological research. As a graduate student in the social psychology program, you will have the opportunity to collaborate closely with one or more faculty members in ongoing research projects, from conception to publication. In the first year, students begin a research project under the supervision of one of the faculty. Often, this first year research project broadens into the topic of a masters’ thesis. As students progress through the graduate program, they are encouraged to pursue additional collaborative and independent research projects, culminating in a dissertation project that reflects the students’ unique interests and expertise.
In their first two years, graduate students take a number of graduate courses and seminars that cover current research in social and health psychology, research methods, and advanced statistical methods. Graduate students learn how to use observational, survey, and experimental methods to conduct research in both the field and laboratory. Many students in the social program also elect to gain additional training by pursuing minors in health and/or quantitative psychology.
Faculty and students in the social program also meet once a month for the “social brownbag”. In the brownbag, students and faculty present research ideas, learn about current research trends, review journal articles, and discuss issues relevant to professional and career development.
Graduate Courses in Social Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Psychosocial Aspects of Health Psychology
- Social Psychological Perspectives on Well-Being
- Gender and Social Class
- Psychobiological Aspects of Health Psychology
Dr. Judith Gere (starting Fall 2013) - Well-being; How individuals manage the pursuit of personally meaningful goals in the context of close relationships; Factors that influence the quality of close relationships, such as equality between partners, and reward and threat perceptions.
Dr. Maryhope Howland (starting Fall 2013) - Close relationships, focusing specifically on social support processes, empathic accuracy, and health.
Dr. Mary Ann Stephens - Coping, social support and psychological adjustment in response to chronic stress.
Dr. John Updegraff - Health communication and health behavior; social cognition and health.
Dr. Manfred van Dulmen - How experiences in interpersonal relationships increases risk for psychopathology; modeling longitudinal and dyadic data.
Faculty with Related Interests
- Dr. Karin Coifman (Adult Psychopathology) studies emotion processing and emotion regulatory strategies in the development and persistence of psychopathology in acutely stressed populations.
- Dr. Joel Hughes (Clinical Health) studies how psychosocial factors such as hostility and depression increase cardiovascular risk.
- Dr. Kathryn Kerns (Developmental) - Children's attachments to parents and the implications of attachment for children's peer relationships and emotional development.
Recent Social Ph.D.'s
Our social program has been particularly successful in placing our graduates in postdoctoral training programs and professorships.
Here’s what some of our recent grads are doing now.
- Susanne Biehle, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, DePauw University
- Nate Deichert, Ph.D., Faculty, Mount Olive College
- Erin Fekete, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Miami
- Kristel Gallagher, Ph.D. - Assistant Professor, Keystone College
- Cynthia Khan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California at Santa Barbara
- Jason Seacat, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Western New England College
- Stacey Williams, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, East Tennessee State University
- Sharon Claffey, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Georgia
- Tina Norton, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Clarkson College
- Melanie Tabak, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, William Penn University