Up-and-Coming Voices: Inclusivity in Psychological Science

Poster presentations offer student and early-career researchers an invaluable opportunity to connect with colleagues and present their work to the broader scientific community. With many such events still taking place online, including the 2021 APS Virtual Convention, this new Observer feature provides early-career psychological scientists who participated in the APS Virtual Poster Showcase with another platform to share their research. This edition of spotlights a selection of research related to inclusivity in the workplace, higher education, and the field of psychology. 

An Examination of How Patient Satisfaction Differs as a Function of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in an Acute Care Clinical Setting 

Isabel K. Benjamin, Craig Rodriguez-Seijas (Rhode Island Hospital),  
and Mark Zimmerman (Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University) 

What drew you to this research? 

Since learning about the minority stress theory for psychopathology, I have been questioning how it manifests within clinical settings. We know that sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals are at greater risk for, and experience elevated rates of, psychopathology. Yet there is still little information about the relationships between minority stress, psychopathology, and treatment experiences. As a senior in college, I visited an LGBTQ+ inpatient facility where SGM individuals had traveled enormous distances to seek treatment in an affirming environment. I wondered about other treatment facilities that were not specifically designed for this population and whether they were able to provide adequate care to a population with a history of experiencing stigma. At my current position as a research assistant at Rhode Island Hospital’s adult partial program, I interact with a lot of patients, many of whom are SGM individuals. I realized this would be the perfect place to explore whether our SGM patients were as satisfied with their treatment as their cisgender heterosexual counterparts. 

What did the research reveal that you didn’t already know? 

Our results indicated that overall, SGM patients were no less satisfied than cisgender heterosexual patients. Although there were some small but meaningful differences in satisfaction with various group therapies, the majority of our patients were “very” or “extremely” satisfied. We have worked hard in our program to ensure it is an affirming environment for SGM individuals, and it was encouraging to see that our efforts to provide competent care do not exclude a vulnerable population. Still, extant measures of treatment satisfaction are severely limited in many ways. For instance, they do not currently evaluate satisfaction as a function of identity or minority status. Therefore, we cannot say for certain how or if our SGM patients’ treatment experience was influenced by their SGM status. This highlights important changes needed in the treatment-satisfaction literature to ensure appropriate measurement and assessment.    

The Relationship Between Diversity Climate, Skills, and Peer Value and  Student Perceptions of Bias 

Courtney Nowetner, Jillian Morley, Kimberly Jaussi, Dina Layish, Tom Kelly, and Sara Reiter (State University of New York at Binghamton) 

What drew you to this research? 

We have a strong interest in finding ways to support equalizing the playing field for historically disadvantaged groups. Considering the social and political climate that has manifested over the past few years, the necessity of mobilizing our interest was made clearer than ever. When we saw that there was a chance for us to study a data set based on undergraduate business students’ perceptions of how diversity is taught and valued in the classroom, we felt it was an amazing opportunity. 

What did the research reveal that you didn’t already know? 

Going into this project, our goal was to conduct important research capable of making real change, and we’re confident that that’s what we’ve achieved. Our research has taught us that, although diversity training programs are important, it is also crucial to ensure that peer interactions are positive, as they promote student feelings of comfort. Investigations into diversity are far from complete, however, particularly in the context of education. We strongly encourage other researchers to examine the relationship between peer interactions and perception of diversity climate, and we will continue to do so in our own projects moving forward. 

Related content from this issue: 

Other Featured Research 

A Meta-Analysis of the Instructor Gender and Race Differences on Student Evaluation of Teaching 

Danqi Zhu, Heining Cham, and Joy Hariprasad  (Fordham University) 

Zhu and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of studies on how university instructors’ gender and race influence student evaluations of teaching. The researchers found that European American instructors received significantly higher scores than African American, Asian American, and Latinx American instructors, whereas instructor gender had only a trivial impact on scores. 

The Associations Between Gender-Based Stereotype Threat, Negative Affect, and Belonging Among PhD Students 

Louisa G. Soohoo, Peter M. Ruberton, Jackson O. Harper (The Pennsylvania State University), Geoffrey L. Cohen (Stanford University), Valerie Purdie Greenaway (Columbia University), Joshua M. Smyth, and  Jonathan E. Cook (The Pennsylvania State University) 

Soohoo and colleagues examined how gender-based stereotype threat influences the experiences of PhD students in STEM programs. The researchers found that fear of being negatively stereotyped was associated with increased negative affect and decreased feelings of belonging at significantly higher levels for women than men, pointing toward one potential explanation for women’s higher rates of attrition from doctoral education. 

The Effects of Gender, Discipline, and Scientist Advocacy on Perceptions of Credibility and Motivations 

Kathryn Arntsen, Kayln J. Clinkenbeard, Madeleine D. McGann, Rebekah Stone, and Mindy J. Erchull  (University of Mary Washington) 

Arntsen and colleagues examined how gender, seniority, and discipline influence the perceived credibility of psychological scientists who engage in advocacy on Twitter. The researchers found that among students, but not more established researchers, women were perceived as more motivated by personal gain than men. Public health scientists were perceived as more motivated by a desire to serve than psychological scientists.  

The Importance of Considering Intersectionality and Identity Management in Leadership Interviews 

Kalise Weeks (Virginia State University), Danielle King (Rice University), Ann Marie Ryan (Michigan State University), and Jennifer Wessel (University of Maryland) 

Weeks and colleagues examined how individuals’ identity-management strategies, along with their race and gender, influenced their participant-rated performance in leadership interviews. In line with role congruity theory, the researchers found that the success of communal and more self-directed agentic strategies differed across intersectional identities, suggesting that hiring managers should be trained to reduce potential biases in hiring and promotion decisions.

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The 2021 Call for Submissions is open! Learn about submitting a Research Poster or Flash Talk for the 2021 APS Virtual Convention here.

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