Social Cognition & Intergroup Processes (SCIP) Laboratory

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Academic Fit and Psychological Well-being

Another line of research in the SCIP Lab investigates the individual difference and situational level factors that influence how underrepresented groups (e.g., women and racial minorities) deal with academic stressors. With one project, we are investigating the effects of sense of fit and belonging on African American medical students’ psychological well-being and self-esteem. Our work suggests that individual differences are important. For example, when everyday discrimination is high, Black medical students who are high (compared to low) in racial identity centrality experience poorer psychological well-being and self-esteem (Hardeman, Perry, Phelan, Przedworski, Burgess, & van Ryn, 2016), and this process is explained through lower feelings of acceptance in medical school (Perry, Hardeman, Burke, Cunningham, Burgess, & van Ryn, 2016). Additionally, data from a larger medical student population shows that, over time, racially discriminatory environments are psychologically taxing for medical students of all races, and that Black students within these environments become less interested in working with predominately minority populations (Hardeman, Przedworski, Burke, Burgess, PerryPhelan, Dovidio, & van Ryn, 2016).  Currently in the SCIP Lab we are collaborating with a team of researchers on an NIH-funded grant to investigate the individual difference and environmental factors that impact medical students’ sense of academic fit and well-being.