Research Wrap Up of 2022

November and December were busy months for the Danielsen’s research team! Below are some highlights to round out a very productive 2022. Danielsen-connected authors’ names are bolded in the summaries and citations below.

Publications Coming Soon

Director of Community-Based Education, Usha Tummala-Narra, and her collaborators recently studied the experiences of sexual violence among women of Mexican Heritage in the US. It has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology.

Citation: Tummala-Narra, P., Gonzalez, L.D., & Nguyen, M.N. (in press). Experience of sexual violence among women of Mexican heritage raised in the U.S. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology

Abstract: Sexual violence against women is a significant public health crisis that is understudied among Mexican American communities. Yet, there has been little attention directed to sociocultural factors that shape conceptualizations of and responses to sexual violence among Mexican American women. Guided by an integrative contextual framework (García Coll & Marks, 2012), this qualitative study aimed to expand knowledge of how second generation Mexican American women conceptualize, experience, and respond to sexual violence. Semi-structured interviews focused on conceptualizations of sexual violence, socialization concerning gender, sex, and sexual violence, experiences and impact of sexual violence, coping, and help-seeking were conducted with sixteen women between 20 and 38 years of age (M = 27.13). The interview data, analyzed using qualitative conventional content analysis (Hsieh & Shannon, 2005), revealed four broad domains: 1) implicit and explicit messages about sexuality and sexual violence, 2) psychological consequences of sexual violence, 3) barriers to disclosing violence and seeking help, and 4) sources of resilience and healing. Findings indicated that conceptualizations of sexual violence and coping were influenced by complex interactions among several sociocultural contexts, including families, religious and ethnic communities, and the mainstream U.S. context.  

Research Fellow, Kristen Hydinger, led a coauthored article on the relationship between virtues and commitments to diversity and social justice among seminary faculty. It has been accepted for publication in Pastoral Psychology. Funding for this research came from a John Templeton Foundation grant on virtue and flourishing in psychotherapy.

Citation: Hydinger, K.R., Sandage, S.J., Wu, X., Stein, L., & Wang, D.C. (in press). Compassion and humility as predictors of diversity and justice commitments among seminary faculty. Pastoral Psychology.  

Abstract: In 2017, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) sponsored the Preparing for 2040 Initiative to help theological schools and seminaries respond to the growing diversity in faith communities. Seminary faculty play a crucial role in shaping and training future religious and spiritual leaders who in turn act as pastoral helping professionals in their communities. Therefore, it is germane to understand the diversity and justice commitments and goals of the educators that shape and influence pastoral leaders in local communities. Little has been studied, however, about the diversity and justice commitments of these pastoral leaders’ instructors. To address this gap, we tested a model of relational spirituality and mature alterity previously used in prior studies with seminary students. Faculty and staff (N=303) from seminaries accredited by the ATS across the US and Canada were invited to participate. Participants completed measures of dispositional humility and compassion, social justice commitment, commitment to intercultural competence, respect for religious diversity, purpose beyond the self, and spiritual impression management. Results based on a series of hierarchical regression models showed both humility and compassion were significantly positively related to (a) social justice commitment, (b) commitment to intercultural competence, and (c) purpose beyond the self over and above the effect of spiritual impression management. Compassion was also positively related to respect for religious diversity. Implications are discussed for future research, faculty development, and theological education in these areas.   


Publications in Print

Academic Researcher & Staff Therapist, Laura Captari, led a co-authored chapter in the newly published Handbook of Positive Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. Their chapter focuses on the integration of diversity and justice concerns in dialogue with empirical research and clinical considerations. The entire handbook is open access with many interesting chapters across diverse traditions and constructs. You can access the book here:  Funding for this research came from a John Templeton Foundation grant on virtue and flourishing in psychotherapy.

Citation: Captari, L.E., Sandage, S.J., Vandiver, R.A., Jankowski, P.J., & Hook, J.N. (2022). Integrating positive psychology, religion/spirituality, and a virtue focus in culturally responsive mental healthcare. In E.B. Davis, E.L. Worthington, Jr., & S.A. Schnitker (Eds.), Handbook of positive psychology, religion, and spirituality (pp. 413-427). Cham, Switzerland: Springer Press.  

Abstract: Although both positive psychology and religious/spiritual traditions share a common focus on human strengths and holistic development, in mental healthcare, there has been little systematic integration of these fields. In this chapter, we overview key terms and synthesize meta-analytic evidence for spiritually integrated interventions (SIIs), positive psychology interventions (PPIs), and virtue-based interventions (VBIs). Through the lens of virtue ethics, we propose that growth in virtuousness fosters flourishing, which consists of more than the absence of psychological distress and includes greater well-being, meaning in life, relational maturity, and community contribution. We detail a research prospectus guided by virtue ethics to support the development of an integrated line of applied clinical research. In particular, we call for practice-based studies that attend to diversity and equity considerations and address reductionistic misapplications of virtue (which we call virtue bypass). Finally, we discuss innovative clinical and community applications, including the utility of a dialectical and contextual perspective, the need to consider both individual and communal flourishing, and the potential for communities as intervention sites.

Research Director, Steven J. Sandage, and School of Theology colleague, Hee An Choi, were invited to write one of several reply articles to a target essay on intellectual humility by philosopher Nathan Ballantyne for the Journal of Positive Psychology. They engage several diversity and justice considerations about research on intellectual humility and utilize the Relational Spirituality Model to frame some of the challenges of intellectual humility for religious leaders.

Citation: Sandage, S.J., & Choi, Hee An (2022). Intellectual humility in applied sociocultural contexts: A reply to Ballantyne. Journal of Positive Psychology.

Abstract: We offer a brief reply to Ballantyne’s (2021) overview of intellectual humility (IH) research with an appreciation for the definitional, conceptual, and methodological issues he has highlighted across numerous areas of work. We give particular interdisciplinary attention to sociocultural, systemic, and postcolonial perspectives on IH and raise questions about cultural differences and social power dynamics that might impact IH. Some emerging and future directions in IH research are considered in the applied context of religious leadership drawing on a relational spirituality model of humility and the dialectical processes of dwelling and seeking.  

The studies below were previously mentioned as forthcoming and are now in print.

  • Choe, E.J.Y., Jankowski, P.J., Sandage, S.J., Crabtree, S.A., & Captari, L.E. (2022). Cultural humility and well-being among psychotherapy clients: A longitudinal practice-based study. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. (Read a summary here.)
  • Hook, J.N., Hodge, A., Sandage, S.J., Davis, D.E., & Van Tongeren, D. (2022). Differentiation of self and cultural competence: A systemic review of the empirical literature. Practice Innovations. Advance online publication.  (Read a summary here).
  • Marmarosh, C.L., Sandage, S.J., Wade, N., Captari, L.E., & Crabtree, S.A. (2022). New horizons in group psychotherapy research and practice from Third Wave Positive Psychology: A practice-friendly review. Research in Psychotherapy: Psychopathology, Process and Outcome. (Read a summary here.)

Conference Presentations

Two DI researchers presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Denver this November. Research Fellow, Kristen Hydinger, presented in a session cosponsored by the Innovations in Chaplaincy Unit and Psychology and Religion Unit. Her presentation was titled “Religion is not a tool – From moral neutrality to moral responsibility” and drew on the Relational Spirituality Model to engage recent interdisciplinary discussions about the roles of spirituality and religion in spiritual care and mental health practice. It drew on work from the Templeton-funded virtue and flourishing in psychotherapy project and preliminary work on well-being promotion and burnout prevention for helping professionals that is funded by the Peale Foundation. STH MDiv student & DI student researcher, Xiaodi Wu, also presented some of her work on existential perspectives on migration in the Religions, Borders, and Immigration Unit’s seminar in a presentation titled “Healing Is Not Linear, Neither Are Migration Stories: Existential Considerations of Refugee and Asylum Experiences and Implications for Therapeutic Care”.

Public Discourses

Research Director, Steven J. Sandage, was interviewed by Elizabeth Eisenstadt Evans for her Christian Century article on the clergy mental health crisis, especially in the wake of COVID-19. You can read the article here. The work Dr. Sandage references in this article is funded by the Peale Foundation.