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Research Initiatives

Current Projects

Burke School Community Intervention: Teaching advocates to aid and mentor underperforming youths of color



  • The Burke School is a high school in Dorchester
  • One goal of this project is to improve MCAS test scores of youths of color
  • ISPRC leads a group of mentors to advocate for the students' academic and practical needs

 Racial Identity Theory

  • Revision and norming of Black Racial Identity and White Racial Identity Scales.
  • Development of People of Color Racial Identity Scale
  • Racial Identity group interactions
  • Strategies for assessing Racial Identity
  • If interested in using any of Dr. Helms' racial identity scales, please download an order form today!

Examining Race-Related Stress Experiences Among Elderly African American Women

  • Approximately 2.5 million members of the general population are elderly African Americans age 65 years or older.
  • This group has a disproportionate number of chronic health and health-related problems, as well as mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety, relative to the White elderly poulation.
  • ISPRC conducted a study using archival data from the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys: National Study of American Life to examine the relationship between racial discrimination experiences, psychological distress, and racial identity statuses in a sample of elder African American women.

Multicultural Competency in Counseling: Implementing a Training Program within a Social Justice Orientation

  • Considering the salience of race and culture in the training goals of both the field of counseling psychology and the Boston College Lynch School of Education, the research team evaluated the quality of inclusion of race and culture in the experiences of first-year students in the Masters program in Counseling Psychology and their doctoral supervisors.
  • Data collection consisted of qualitative and quantitative measures, which were administered during the first and second semesters of the academic year.  Data analysis is in progress.

Asian Americans' Experiences of Racism

  • The purpose of this study was to compare both daily life experiences and generalized experiences of racism between groups of Chinese American and Filipino American college students based on racial identity profiles.
  • Analyses depict differences in experiences based on group membership, which supports the importance of exploring cultural and ethnic differences among socially constructed racial groups.

Racism and Ethnoviolence as Trauma: Enhancing Professional and Research Training

  • Trauma is generally defined in terms of survivors' common reactions to objectively defined and easily recognizable cataclysmic events. However, missing from current conceptualiztions of trauma and related sumptoms is consideration of the extent to which microaggressions and violence against a person because of the person's ascribed race or presumed cultural origins may serve as either aggratating correlates of commonly recognized traumatic events or sole catalysts for traumatic symptoms.
  • Very little conceptual or empirical literature addresses racial and cultural traumas as potential explanations for existing racial and ethnic cultural mental health disparities.

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