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Diverse Scholarship

Our faculty are actively involved in research, which includes publishing, writing grants, presenting at national and international conferences, and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students. Their scholarship is diverse both in theory and in method — a mark of distinction and strength both within and across our three programs in clinical psychology, developmental psychology, and social psychology.

Research in Clinical Psychology

Our faculty in clinical psychology hold positions at the National Center on Adoption and Permanency and the American Psychological Association Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education, among others. Their work is funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Our faculty are members of numerous editorial boards; Dr. Esteban Cardemil is currently editor of the Journal of Latinx Psychology.

Masculinities and Mental Health (Michael Addis)

This group, led by Dr. Addis, examines intersections between the social construction and social learning of masculinities and the mental health of people of all genders.  Current studies focus on depression, sexual scripts, emotional silence and invisibility, fathering in the African context, and the development of critical awareness of masculinity.

Mental Health, Culture, and Community Research Program (Esteban Cardemil)

In the United States, well-documented mental health care disparities disproportionately affect individuals from low-income and cultural minority backgrounds. Our lab’s mission, carried out by faculty, as well as graduate and undergraduate students, is to help reduce these scientific and service utilization gaps through a combination of basic and applied research that focuses on urban, cultural minority children, adults, and families. The research conducted by lab members covers a range of areas relevant to mental health care disparities, including developmental psychopathology, treatment-seeking services research, and intervention development. In all areas, a central focus is the elucidation of the role of cultural variables and processes. We’re currently active in these areas: Understanding Treatment-Seeking Behavior, Sociocultural Influences on Psychological Processes, Examining the Role of Culture in Psychotherapy, and Depression Prevention.

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Center for Couples and Family Research at Clark University (James Cordova)

The Center for Couples and Family Research at Clark University is a team clinical research effort consisting of faculty, doctoral, and undergraduate students. Our goal is to produce cutting-edge research on intimate relationships and on the development of focused interventions to promote relationship and marital health.

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Research on Diverse Families and Sexualities (Abbie Goldberg)

For 15 years, Professor Abbie Goldberg has been conducting a longitudinal study of adoptive families headed by female, male, and heterosexual couples, which focuses in part on parents’ and children’s experiences in the school setting. Dr. Goldberg is also conducting research on the higher educational experiences of trans and gender-nonconforming individuals. Dr. Goldberg recently completed a longitudinal study of postpartum well-being in women with diverse sexual histories.

Motivation and Development Lab (Wendy Grolnick)

This lab, directed by Wendy Grolnick, studies children’s motivation and adjustment and the environments that facilitate or impede them. A focus of the work is predictors and effects of parents’ provision of autonomy support, structure, and involvement, which, from a self-determination theory perspective, are crucial to children’s movement toward greater self-regulation and competence.  Current projects focus on the “how” of parent involvement, parenting and children’s anxiety disorders, and parenting and children’s chronic pain.  The team is conducting a preventive parenting intervention (the Parent Check-In) to promote motivationally facilitative parenting.

Child and Family Research Group (Amy Heberle)

Our lab is interested in studying the influence of social structures such as class and racial structures on young children’s mental health and development. We are interested in how children think about their and others’ social identities, how they understand the function of these identities within social structures, and how others (parents, teachers, and peers) socialize children with respect to their identities. All of these questions are motivated by an interest in the downstream impacts of identity beliefs and socialization on children’s emotional and social functioning. Recent work in the lab has focused on critical consciousness as a protective factor for children who are socially marginalized. Other recent work examines anti-racist and anti-classist parental socialization of young children with racial and/or class privilege.

Emotion Regulation Research Lab (Kathleen Palm Reed)

Kathleen Palm Reed directs this research group of graduate and undergraduate students in examining the role of emotion regulation (e.g. distress tolerance, psychological flexibility) in psychopathology and substance use disorders. Some of the lab’s ongoing and future projects include research on reducing stigma related to substance use disorders, and developing prevention programming for sexual assault and interpersonal violence among sexual and gender minorities.

Research in Developmental Psychology

A pioneer in the study of human development, Clark’s program focuses on the development of psychological processes in societal and cultural contexts. With faculty expertise across the lifespan, faculty unite in studying the links between intra-individual and inter-individual change over time. How do interactions between individuals, ecological contexts, and cultural patterning result in new ways of being in the world? Currently, faculty examine areas such as bilingualism, pretend play, racial experiences, narrative, and malleable factors influencing learning and subsequent academic achievement in schooling and college populations.

Research in Child Development Across Context (Ana Marcelo)

Our research examines the influence of risk and protective factors on child development across diverse ecological contexts with particular emphases on culture and adversity. Our first line of research examines children’s pretend play, creativity, and emotional expressiveness as related to their socioemotional and academic adjustment in different contexts (e.g., school, peers, home). Our second line of research focuses on children’s experiences related to their ethnicity, race, and culture. We are interested in examining ethnic-racial identity in early childhood and its influence on children’s encounters with bias and discrimination and if and how these experiences may vary across different contexts. We use different methods, such as behavior observation, quantitative measures, and qualitative interviews, and examine across different informants, such as teachers, caregivers, and children.

Higher Education Research Group (Nancy Budwig)

Our research group examines learning and development in both formal and informal learning contexts, with a focus on ways engagement in communities of practice contributes to the gradual construction of meaning systems. Prior work of the group studied the role of language in the construction of culturally relevant meaning systems as well as how different cultural meaning systems impacted successful entry into school. More recently, focus has shifted to examining ways that higher education also can make better use of socio-cultural approaches to learning and development. We study college student and faculty perspectives on designing environments to foster better learning and well-being, and the implementation of curricula that aim to prepare students to successfully transition into college, as well as successfully transition into the world of work and civic life. We also create tools to evaluate and improve learning and development on college campuses.

Learning, Language, and Cognition Lab (Alena Esposito)

Our research group examines cognitive development, particularly in school-aged children in school contexts. We examine the malleable factors influencing learning and subsequent academic achievement, especially for minority race and language students as well as those growing up in poverty. A context of focus is bilingual education. Within these contexts, we examine how children organize semantic knowledge and build a knowledge base both within and across lessons with the long-term goal of informing educational policy and practice. This investigation entails examining the encoding and manipulation of semantic memory as well as conceptual representation across languages. The work is inherently interdisciplinary and we work with others in the departments of education and language and culture. We use a variety of methods, including experimental behavioral studies, observation, and eye-tracking. Our work takes place in the laboratory, in the community, and in collaborating classrooms.

Narrative Practices in Identity Research (Michael Bamberg)

Our research group focuses on theoretical issues central to identity research such as agency, difference, and change. We approach them from a qualitative (narrative) perspective, and we apply them to empirical phenomena such as adolescent and post-adolescent identity formation, close friendship, transition into work (for college students and refugees), fatherhood (including incarcerated fathers), and elderly women’s encore careers. Our investigations explore how these phenomena are understood from the perspective of those who experience and live through them. Current projects include a Handbook on Identity, as well as volumes in Bamberg’s book series, Studies in Narrative. Students are invited to join the editing process to gain professional experience.

Developmental Forum

The developmental forum meets regularly during the academic year to examine theory and research in developmental psychology. All members of the developmental program (including all developmental graduate students and faculty in residence) and others (graduate students, faculty, and visitors from other programs and institutions) gather to discuss current theoretical and methodological issues, share updates on ongoing and upcoming projects, present and receive feedback on future talks, grant proposals, and manuscripts. The goal of the developmental forum is to collectively learn from one another and provide a support network to help strengthen the work of all members of the Clark community interested in developmental inquiry.

Research in Social Psychology

The principal educational settings of the program are the Psychology Department’s research groups, forums, and lab meetings. These are groups of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students drawn together by common theoretical concerns and research interests. Groups are initiated both by faculty and graduate students. All graduate students and faculty from the program meet weekly at our Social Forum, for which students receive course credit. Other coursework is minimal and includes elective courses within and beyond the Psychology Department, with the aim of providing a strong theoretical and methodological foundation for the students’ program of research.

Research in Intergroup Conflict and Cooperation (Johanna Vollhardt)

This group consists of undergraduate and graduate students working on research related to intergroup conflict and cooperation. We meet weekly to discuss ongoing projects and relevant literature. Topics include prosocial behavior and solidarity between members of different groups, how people respond to group-based violence and victimization, and psychological processes during and in the aftermath of genocide. Researchers in this group use various methods, ranging from experiments and surveys to content analyses of interviews and archival materials, including oral testimonies.

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Ideology and Intergroup Violence Lab (Andrew Stewart)

The Ideology and Intergroup Violence Lab at Clark University investigates the ideological foundations of violence at multiple levels of analysis (e.g., the individual and society), while also identifying ways to reduce violence and discrimination through protest, collective action, and social psychological interventions. We explore the complex dynamics of ideology and violence across a variety of intergroup relations, including gender, race, nationality, and sexual orientation.

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Intersectionality, Stigma, and Health Lab (Nicole Overstreet)

The Intersectionality, Stigma, and Health Lab examines the connection between stigma and health on an individual, interpersonal, and structural level. We focus on stigmatized attributes that are visible, such as race and gender, and those that are concealable, such as mental illness, sexual minority status, and HIV/AIDS. Through an intersectionality framework, we explore how intersections of race, class, gender, and sexual oppression can be used to address important issues in psychology.

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Social Forum

This is a forum on research and theory in social psychology, in which members (all social graduate students and faculty, joined by several graduate students from other programs) discuss theoretical and methodological issues, plan new research, share updates on ongoing projects, and receive feedback on manuscripts in preparation for publication.

Faculty Research Stories

Goldberg examines open adoption in the digital age

Research highlights dynamics, benefits, and boundary challenges

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Psychologist: American teens taking fewer risks

Researcher finds teens 'Getting Better All the Time'

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Research aimed at eradicating disparities

Prof. Overstreet receives award to fund study of marginalized groups

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Cardemil named to Latina/o Psychology journal post

Professor Cardemil to serve in post for Journal of Latina/o Psychology

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Groundbreaking book examines LGBTQ divorce

Facts, advice for unique challenges faced by same-sex couples

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Parents, listen to your teens

Clark psychologists' study reveals insights on communication

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Contact Information

Frances L. Hiatt School of Psychology

Office Location
  • Jonas Clark Hall, 3rd floor
    950 Main Street
    Worcester MA 01610
  • 1-508-793-7274
  • 1-508-793-7265 Fax