Culture; Social Class; Cultural Existential Psychology; Debt; Environmental Psychology; Contamination; Psychology of Time
I am a third year PhD student in the Social Psychology program working with Dr. Daniel Sullivan. I am interested in how culture, social class, and systemic inequality influence the ways that individuals cope with suffering and threat. In one line of research, I study the psychological ramifications of living through chronic environmental contamination. We have been engaged in a community-based research project with community members in Tucson's southside who have lived through water contamination and continue to experience its impacts. Relatedly, we have conducted systematic and narrative reviews of the existing literature on the mental health effects of chronic contamination in order to better understand and systemize this research in the future. In another line of research, I study how people cope with economic stressors like debt. A unifying theme in my work is that of temporality: the psychological understanding and social organization of time. By studying how culture and various forms of disadvantage influence temporalities, we can better understand why people cope with threatening situations in more short-sighted or more future-oriented ways.
Schmitt, H.J., Keefer, L., Sullivan, D., Stewart, S. & Young, I. (Under Review). Stress reponses to debt vary as a function of social class. Journal of Social and Political Psychology.
Sullivan, D., Palitsky, R., & Schmitt, H.J. (In press). The spatialization and temporalization of environmental suffering. Narrative Inquiry.
Palitsky, R., Sullivan, D., Young, I., Schmitt, H.J. (in press). Religion, community, and the construction of identity. In C. Routledge & K. Vail (Eds.), The science of religion, spirituality, and existentialism. Elsevier.