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 health and psychological well-being. Each faculty member has a distinctive research program, but they share a common interest in understanding how peopleâ€™s personality and social environments shape their adjustment to stress and influence their psychological 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 mastersâ€™ 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 studentsâ€™ 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 regularly for the â€œsocial brownbagâ€. 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
Dr. Judith Gere - Well-being; pursuit of goals (e.g., career goals, health goals, relationship goals) in the context of romantic relationships; research methods and analysis (e.g., structural equation modeling).
Dr. Maryhope Howland Rutherford- 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. Note: Dr. Stephens is Dean of Graduate Studies and is not accepting new graduate students.
Dr. John Updegraff - Health communication and health behavior; social cognition and health.
Dr. Manfred van Dulmen - Adolescent and young adult sexual/romantic relationships and experiences; methodology and measurement.
Faculty with Related Interests
Our social program has been particularly successful in placing our graduates in postdoctoral training programs and professorships.
Hereâ€™s what some of our recent grads are doing now.