Dissertation of the Year Award


The Society for Community Research and Action grants an annual dissertation award to the best dissertation identified on a topic in the field of community psychology completed during the prior two years. The Dissertation Award was established in 1982.

Past Award Recipients

2018       Domique Thomas 

Dissertation Title: Black Scholars Matter: Development and validation of a campus racial climate measure for African-American college students

              Advisor: Dr. Winnie Chan, Georgia State University

2017       Jessica Shaw

              Advisor: Rebecca Campbell

Dissertation Title: Justifying injustice: How the Criminal Justice System Explains its Response to Sexual Assault

2016       Kate Dorozenko


Dissertation Title: The Identities and Social Roles of People with Intellectual Disabilities: Challenging Dominant Cultural Worldviews, Values and Mythologies

2015       Ashley Anglin


Dissertation Title: Collaborative Identification of Assets in South Rome, Georgia  Using the Community Capitals Framework: Exploring Influential Factors and Discovering Community Strengths

2014       Susan Eckerle Curwood

               Advisor: Robb Travers 

Dissertation Title: The 'Warrant of Common Sense':  Ideology and Poverty in Canada and the United States 

2013      Urmitapa Dutta 

            Advisor: Mark Aber

 Dissertation Title: The Long Way Home: A Critical Ethnography of Youth and Conflict in Northeast India

2012      Sarah Lowe, University of Massachusetts at Boston

             Advisor: Jean Rhodes

Dissertation Title: Trajectories of Psychological Distress Among Low-income Female Survivors of Hurricane Katrina

2011      Steven James Pierce, Michigan State University


Dissertation Title: Using Geostatic Models to Study Neighborhood Effects: An Alternative to Using Hierarchical Linear Models

2010      Jennifer Watling Neal, University of Illinois at Chicago

            Advisor: Karina Olga Reyes

Dissertation Title: Examining Relations in Relational Aggression: The Role of Peer Social Networks

2009      Darcy Freedman, Vanderbilt University

             Advisor: Paul Speer

 Dissertation Title: Politics of Food Access in Food Insecure Communities

2008      Sarah Chilenski, Pennsylvania State University

            Advisor: Mark Greenberg

Dissertation Title: Community Risks and Resources in Rural America: What matters?

2007      Branda Nowell, Michigan State University

            Advisor: Pennie Foster-Fishman

Dissertation Title: The Role of Social Capital in Interorganizational Alliances

2006      Adam Long, Vanderbilt University

            Advisor: William P. Smith, Douglas Perkins, Peggy Thoits

Dissertation Title: Residential Community Identification and Psychological Well-Being

2005      Marci R. Cully, University of Missouri-Kansas City

 Advisor: Joseph Hughey

Dissertation Title: Power and ‘Official’ Vehicles for Public Participation in a Local Hazardous Waste Setting: A Community Case Study

2004      No award given

2003      Margaret Davis, DePaul University

            Advisor: Leonard Jason

Dissertation Title: Sex Differences in Alcoholics and Addicts Recovering in Oxford House: Exploring Characteristics

Social Support, and Self-Efficacy.”              

2002      Nicole Allen, Michigan State University

             Advisor: Pennie Foster-Fishman

Dissertation Title: Coordinating Councils as a Vehicle for Achieving a Coordinated Community Response to Domestic Violence: An Examination of Context-Specific Correlates of Effectiveness

2001      Camille Preston, University of Virginia

             Advisor: Dick Reppucci

Dissertation Title: Policing domestic violence: The Influence of Community Resources on Provider Attitudes About Pro-arrest Policies

2000      Bret Kloos, University of Illinois, Urbana Champagne

            Advisor: Julian Rappaport

Dissertation Title: Cultivating Identity and Meaning Making in the Context of Residential Treatment Settings for Persons with Histories of Psychological Disorders

1999      Hirokazu Yoshikawa, New York University

            Advisor: Ed Seidman

Dissertation Title: Welfare Dynamics, Support Services, Mothers’ Earnings, and Child Development: Implications for Contemporary Welfare Reform

1998      Michael J. Solomon, University College London

            Advisor: Nancy Pistrang

Dissertation Title: What do Parents of Children with Disabilities and Special Needs Find Helpful about Mutual Support Groups?

1997      Rebecca Campbell, Michigan State University

            Advisor: William Davidson

 Dissertation Title: The Community Response to Rape: An Ecological Conception of Victims’ Experiences

1996      Danielle Papineau, Universite de Montreal, Canada

            Advisor: Margaret Kiely

Dissertation Title: Citizen Empowerment Through Economic Development in a Multiethnic Neighborhood

1995      Gabriel P. Kuperminc, University of Virginia

            Advisor: Joseph Allen

Dissertation Title: Social Orientation, Social Competence and the Prevention of Adolescent Problem Behavior

1994      Susan Yeich, Michigan State University

            Advisor: Ralph Levine

Dissertation Title: Empowerment and Structural Change: The Creation of a Homeless Persons Union

             Caroline Kroeker, Claremont Graduate School

             Advisor: Alan Wicker

Dissertation Title: Empowerment Programs for the Severely Disadvantaged: Lessons From a Process Evaluation of a Nicarguan Agricultural Cooperative

1993      Krys Kaniasty, University of Louisville

             Advisors: James Driscoll & Fran Norris

Dissertation Title: Social Support as a Mediator of Stress Following a Natural Disaster: A Test of Social Support Deterioration Model Using Measures of Kin Support, Nonkin Support, and Social Embeddedness

              Paul Speer, University of Missouri, Kansas City

              Advisor: Joseph Hughey

Dissertation Title: Empowerment in Pressure Group Community Organizations: Internal Processes

1992      Jerome Short, Arizona State University

             Advisor: Irwin Sandler

Dissertation Title: An Evaluation of a Preventative Intervention for Children of Problem Drinkers

             Terrie Sterling, Georgia State University

              Advisor: James Emshoff

 Dissertation Title: Modeling Community Mobilization for Social Change: Preventing Youth Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse

 1991     Douglas Perkins, New York University

            Advisor: Marybeth Shinn

Dissertation Title: The Social and Physical Environment of Residential Blocks, Crime, and Citizens’ Participation in Block Associations

            Dennis Culhane, Boston College

            Advisor: Ramsey Liem

 Dissertation Title: On Becoming Homeless: The Structural and Experiential Dynamics of Residential Instability.”

1990      William K. Hallman, University of South Carolina

             Advisor: Abe Wandersman

Dissertation Title: Coping with an Environmental Stressor: Perception of Risk, Attribution of Responsibility and Psychological Distress in a Community Living Near a Hazardous Waste Facility        

1989      John E. Prestby, University of South Carolina

            Advisor: Abe Wandersman

Dissertation Title: Leaders and Leadership in Grassroots Voluntary Organizations: An Examination of Personal Resources, Participation Benefits/costs, and Incentive/cost management

1988      No award given

1987      Joseph P. Allen, Yale University

            Advisor: Seymour B. Sarason

Dissertation Title: Adolescent Behavior Problems and Differing Patterns of Social Adaptation: The Role of Social

Contingency Beliefs 

1986      Richard Gist, University of Missouri, Kansas City

            Advisor: Joseph Hughey

Dissertation Title: An Analysis and Social Learning Examination of Recent Trends in Adolescent Suicide Rates

1985      Richard C. Birkel, University of Virginia

            Advisor: Robert Emery

 Dissertation Title: Sources of Caregiver Strain on Long-term Home-care

1984      Kenneth Bachrach, Arizona State University

            Advisor: Alex Zautra

Dissertation Title: Coping with a Community Stressor: A Proposed Hazardous Waste Disposal Facility

1983      Donald Davis, Michigan State University

            Advisor: William Davidson

Dissertation Title: Innovation, Adaptation, and Organizational Change-Program Evaluation in Gerontology- G. Johnson

1982      Charles H. Kieffer, University of Michigan

            Advisor: Richard Price

Dissertation Title: The Emergence of Empowerment: The Development of Participatory Competence Among Individuals in Citizen Organizations