Subscribe: American Psychologist - Vol 65, Iss 1
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The American Psychologist is the official journal of the American Psychological Association. As such, the journal contains archival documents and articles covering current issues in psychology, the science and practice of psychology, and psychology's cont

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Copyright: Copyright 2016 American Psychological Association

Psychological and biological responses to race-based social stress as pathways to disparities in educational outcomes.


We present the race-based disparities in stress and sleep in context model (RDSSC), which argues that racial/ethnic disparities in educational achievement and attainment are partially explained by the effects of race-based stressors, such as stereotype threat and perceived discrimination, on psychological and biological responses to stress, which, in turn, impact cognitive functioning and academic performance. Whereas the roles of psychological coping responses, such as devaluation and disidentification, have been theorized in previous work, the present model integrates the roles of biological stress responses, such as changes in stress hormones and sleep hours and quality, to this rich literature. We situate our model of the impact of race-based stress in the broader contexts of other stressors [e.g., stressors associated with socioeconomic status (SES)], developmental histories of stress, and individual and group differences in access to resources, opportunity and employment structures. Considering both psychological and biological responses to race-based stressors, in social contexts, will yield a more comprehensive understanding of the emergence of academic disparities between Whites and racial/ethnic minorities. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Incorporating intersectionality into psychology: An opportunity to promote social justice and equity.


Intersectionality is receiving increasing attention in many fields, including psychology. This theory or framework has its roots in the work of Black feminist scholar-activists, and it focuses on interlocking systems of oppression and the need to work toward structural-level changes to promote social justice and equity. Thus, the current interest in intersectionality in psychology presents an opportunity to draw psychologists’ attention more to structural-level issues and to make social justice and equity more central agendas to the field. The large, ever-growing bodies of research demonstrating the wide-ranging adverse consequences of structural- and interpersonal-level oppression, inequality, and stigma for the health and well-being of many diverse groups of people support that these issues are central to the field of psychology. We as individual psychologists and the field as a whole can work to fully incorporate the insights of intersectionality and therefore contribute to making social justice and equity more central across the varied subfields and realms of our work. Specific ways that we can do this are to (a) engage and collaborate with communities, (b) address and critique societal structures, (c) work together/build coalitions, (d) attend to resistance in addition to resilience, and (e) teach social justice curricula. There are important examples both within and outside of psychology that can guide us in achieving these goals. These suggestions are meant to foster conversation and consideration by psychologists across all subfields and areas of focus. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Leaving behind our preparadigmatic past: Professional psychology as a unified clinical science.


The behavioral and neurosciences have made remarkable progress recently in advancing the scientific understanding of human psychology. Though research in many areas is still in its early stages, knowledge of many psychological processes is now firmly grounded in experimental tests of falsifiable theories and supports a unified, paradigmatic understanding of human psychology that is thoroughly consistent with the rest of the natural sciences. This new body of knowledge poses critical questions for professional psychology, which still often relies on the traditional theoretical orientations and other preparadigmatic practices for guiding important aspects of clinical education and practice. This article argues that professional psychology needs to systematically transition to theoretical frameworks and a curriculum that are based on an integrated scientific understanding of human psychology. Doing so would be of historic importance for the field and would result in major changes to professional psychology education and practice. It would also allow the field to emerge as a true clinical science. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Collecting psychosocial “vital signs” in electronic health records: Why now? What are they? What’s new for psychology?


Social, psychological, and behavioral factors are recognized as key contributors to health, but they are rarely measured in a systematic way in health care settings. Electronic health records (EHRs) can be used in these settings to routinely collect a standardized set of social, psychological, and behavioral determinants of health. The expanded use of EHRs provides opportunities to improve individual and population health, and offers new ways for the psychological community to engage in health promotion and disease prevention efforts. This article addresses 3 issues. First, it discusses what led to current efforts to include measures of psychosocial and behavioral determinants of health in EHRs. Second, it presents recommendations of an Institute of Medicine committee regarding inclusion in EHRS of a panel of measures that meet a priori criteria. Third, it identifies new opportunities and challenges these recommendations present for psychologists in practice and research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Underreliance on mechanistic models: Comment on Ferguson (2015).


Ferguson (see record 2015-39598-004) proposed that our overreliance on mechanistic models is responsible for the public’s negative view of psychology. On the contrary, I claim that our explanations do not actually explain because they lack mechanism information and that is why the public has a negative view of psychology. Some of the mechanism information required to move from interpretations to explanations can be found in parallel distributed processing connectionist neural network models of psychology and behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Free will, mechanism, and the nature of being human: Reply to Tryon (2016).


This article responds to comments by Tryon (see record 2016-41532-005) regarding the nature of mechanism and free will in psychological science. It is agreed that psychological science has problems with the presentation of mechanistic theories that are simplistic and based on weak data. However, it is argued that a systematic effort to study free will is a worthwhile enterprise. Current data provide evidence both for and against the existence of free will. Sophisticated analysis may provide routes to reconcile determinism with free will in newer and more ecologically valid theory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Helen (Lena) Stavridou Astin (1932–2015).


This article memorializes Helen (Lena) Stavridou Astin, who died at her home October 27, 2015 after a long illness. As only the second woman to earn a doctorate in psychology at the University of Maryland, Lena opened the door for other women. Her 1969 classic book, The Woman Doctorate in America, was the first to provide data to counteract the belief that highly educated women drop out of the labor force to concentrate on family. Within the American Psychological Association, Lena was the first chair of what became the Committee on Women in Psychology and the second president of the Division on the Psychology of Women (Division 35). She also served on several American Psychological Association governance boards. During her early years, she worked at the National Academy of Science, the Bureau of Social Science Research, and University Research Associates. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

Richard Lee Gorsuch (1937–2016).


This article memorializes Richard L. Gorsuch, who passed away at age 78 on February 14, 2016. His interests and work ranged from multivariate analysis to the psychology of religion. Gorsuch penned one of the most readable volumes on the topic of measurement and factor analysis. He also developed multivariate factor programs under the title UniMult. Professionally, he was recognized as an outstanding scholar, being a fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He penned 20 to 30 volumes and over 130 professional articles. He was coauthor of The Psychology of Religion: An Empirical Approach (1985), the foremost text in the area. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)

James L. Outtz (1947–2016).


This article memorializes James L. Outtz, who passed away March 26, 2016. For more than 40 years, Outtz was a leading researcher, practitioner, and consultant in the areas of hiring and promotion, employment discrimination, selection-test design and implementation, and legal issues pertaining to employment. He worked tirelessly to enhance opportunities for workforce diversity through greater inclusion of minorities and women. Another important focus was on strategies to minimize adverse impact through alternative approaches to selection. His work significantly influenced best practices in equal employment opportunity, and he was a highly sought-after legal-compliance consultant and testifying expert, advisor to courts, and participant on consent decrees with experts and lawyers from all sides of an issue. His efforts involved some of the most prominent corporations in America and most visible public-sector jurisdictions. In his final 2 years, he became president-elect of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)(image)