The spring 2017 edition of the Journal of Intercultural Disciplines featured the article written by RSU Professor Kevin Woller, former RSU faculty member Johnny Mark Kirk and RSU alumni Cori Bryson (’15 Community Counseling), Cathleen Burkhead (’15 Social Sciences-Psychology) and Catherine Eimer (’16 Community Counseling). The article, “Understanding Reactance as a Function of Ethnicity,” was based upon original research done for their presentation at the 2015 meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association while Bryson, Burkhead and Eimer were students.
The recent article hypothesizes that individuals with a greater percentage of Native American heritage will have higher levels of psychological reactance, which is a response to threats to perceived freedoms. For example, an individual might engage in prohibited activities in order to taunt the authority prohibiting it. Among Native Americans, this tendency may be higher due to the lost freedoms brought about by their treatment following the European settlement of North America and subsequent actions by the federal government.
Their article notes that psychological reactance theory has existed for almost 50 years, but there have only been two studies on ethnicity in relation to psychological reactance, including a 2007 study by Woller in the American Journal of Psychology. The 2015 research further explored whether psychological reactance may be a function of minority experience specifically with regard to Native Americans.
At RSU, students are often involved in original research and have the opportunity to present at conferences and publish in academic journals, Woller said. Many of RSU’s degree programs require seniors to complete capstone projects during their senior year that can compete with graduate-level research at larger universities.
The Journal of Intercultural Disciplines is the official journal of the National Association of African-American Studies and Affiliates, which provides resources for scholars seeking information and support for research related to the African and African American, Hispanic, Latino and Chicano, Native American and Asian experience.
RSU’s Department of Psychology and Sociology offers bachelor’s degrees in community counseling; social science with options in environmental studies, psychology or sociology; and elementary education (in partnership with Cameron University), alongside associate degrees in elementary education and social science with options in psychology or sociology. For more information, visit www.rsu.edu/psychology-sociology or call 918-343-7683.