Psychology students, faculty, present research to the APA

On Aug. 3 to 6, students from Wilkes University traveled to Washington, D.C. to present research to the APA, a common abbreviation for the American Psychological Association at the association’s convention.

Associate professor of psychology Jennifer Thomas and assistant professor of psychology Ellen Newell led the project. The project focused on the factors that inspire activism in things that reduce prejudice and discrimination, as well as the effects of said behavior.

Four students were involved in the project, including: Lydia Martin, a 2017 Wilkes Graduate of North Bernice, Maine; Samantha Gnall of Columbia, New Jersey, a senior psychology major with neuroscience and women’s and gender Studies minors; Caitlin Barat, a senior psychology and Criminology dual-major, of Hanover Township; as well as Laura Kessler, a junior psychology major with minors in art, Spanish, and women’s and gender studies, from Watsontown, Pennsylvania.

The team surveyed more than 500 people, asking questions on the participant’s mental and physical health, views on sexism, discrimination, if they identify as a feminist, as well as if they would take steps to confront and reduce sexism.

Two presentations steamed from this research. The first discussed the effects of whether identifying as a feminist sparked desire to take activism.

The second presentation demonstrated that stress levels when taking actions to reduce sexism and discrimination for women are higher for feminist identifying women than non-feminist women.

The research concluded that while feminist identification helps people to take activist actions, it also makes the process more stressful.

The research will continue through the 2017-2018 school year. The group plans on studying whether, and if so, how, feminist identification helps to provide coping mechanism for women faced with sexism.