Who We Are

The Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) - Community Psychology, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association - serves many different disciplines that focus on community research and action. Our members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals.

The Vision

The Society for Community Research and Action will have a strong, global impact on enhancing well-being and promoting social justice for all people by fostering collaboration where there is division and empowerment where there is oppression.

Mission Statement

The Society for Community Research and Action is an organization devoted to advancing theory, research, and social action. Its members are committed to promoting health and empowerment and to preventing problems in communities, groups, and individuals. SCRA serves many different disciplines that focus on community research and action.


Four broad principles guide SCRA:

  1. Community research and action requires explicit attention to and respect for diversity among peoples and settings;
  2. Human competencies and problems are best understood by viewing people within their social, cultural, economic, geographic, and historical contexts;
  3. Community research and action is an active collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and community members that uses multiple methodologies. Such research and action must be undertaken to serve those community members directly concerned, and should be guided by their needs and preferences, as well as by their active participation;
  4. Change strategies are needed at multiple levels in order to foster settings that promote competence and well-being.


  • To promote the use of social and behavioral science to enhance the well-being of people and their communities and to prevent harmful outcomes.
  • To promote theory development and research that increases our understanding of human behavior in context.
  • To encourage the ongoing and mutual exchange of knowledge and skills among community psychologists, those in other academic disciplines, and community stakeholders so that community research and action benefits from the strengths of all perspectives.
  • To engage in action, research, and practice committed to promoting equitable distribution of resources, equal opportunity for all, non-exploitation, prevention of violence, active citizenry, liberation of oppressed peoples, greater inclusion for historically marginalized groups, and respecting all cultures.
  • To promote the development of careers in community research and action in both academic and applied settings.
  • To promote an international field of inquiry and action that respects cultural differences, honors human rights, seeks out and incorporates contributions from all corners of the world, and is not dominated by any one nation or group.
  • To influence the formation and institutionalization of economic, and social policy consistent with community psychological principles and with the social justice values that are at the core of our discipline.

Guiding Concepts

The community psychology of the future will be guided by four key guiding concepts: global in nature; use of multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary partnerships and approaches; a focus on creating policies informed by community psychology and social justice values; and research and action that promote social justice. Each of these priority areas is described in more detail below.

Global in Nature

Community psychology will become increasingly global in nature. In this era of rapid globalization, local communities are increasingly affected by global forces, and community psychology must collaborate with communities so they effectively adapt to such changes. Our vision is for an international field of inquiry and action that respects cultural differences, honors human rights, seeks out and incorporates contributions from all corners of the world, and is not dominated by any one nation or group.

Use of Multi-Sectoral, Interdisciplinary Partnerships and Approaches

A community psychology approach, by definition, must be an approach informed by multiple perspectives. Thus, the future of community psychology will require partnerships with other disciplines and community stakeholders.

These partnerships will incorporate the strengths from multiple perspectives. In academia this approach is often labeled interdisciplinary, in communities it is often called multi-sectoral. Whatever the label, this approach will manifest itself in all aspects of our work. We will partner with others while maintaining our own unique identity as psychologists.

Influencing Policies Based Upon Community Psychology and Social Justice Values

Community psychology will become more engaged in the formation and institutionalization of economic, and social policy. These policies will be based upon the values that are at the core of our discipline and will incorporate psychological principles. Involvement with policy is consistent with community psychology's ecological perspective on community which recognizes the importance of macrosystem factors, such as policy, on communities.

National, regional, and international associations of community psychologists will develop the capacity to take policy stands as a group and as individuals. The field of community psychology will help prepare groups to act as advocates in policy arenas. In addition, the field will encourage and prepare individual community psychologists to be active advocates in the promotion of social policies that promote social justice. Community psychology associations will organize and encourage such action.

Research and Action that Promote Social Justice

Community psychology will become a field of research and action that makes a significant difference on issues of social change by promoting social justice. Social justice is defined as conditions that promote equitable distribution of resources, equal opportunity for all, non-exploitation, prevention of violence, and active citizenry. The field will explicitly state its commitment to social changes that promote social justice and greater inclusion for historically marginalized groups and will see that commitment manifest in the various aspects of the field's work.

Statement on Diversity

Defining Diversity

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect for the full range of human characteristics in their socioecological, historical, and cultural contexts, as well as understanding that each individual, family, community, and societal group has uniqueness that make them different from others. These differences include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, immigration status, educational background, geographical location, income, language, marital status, parental status, trauma exposure, and work experiences (CUNY, 2017). The concept of diversity does not mean equality, inclusion or pluralism, but is a separate concept, having its own set of values and practicing principles. However, diversity, equality, inclusion and pluralism are interrelated (Palmer & Watkins, 2018).  

Diversity as a Community Psychology Principle

  • Diversity is an imperative value and practice within community psychology.
  • Diversity is a moral imperative and foundational ethical value necessary to redress injustices, systems of oppressions, and structural/systemic inequities. Without diversity, liberation from systems of power and oppression cannot be redressed, and the co-production/construction of knowledge cannot be achieved.
  • Diversity requires the democratization and decolonization of knowledge through the centering of multiple perspectives, voices and lived experiences different from one’s own.
  •  Diversity requires the community psychologist to ethically engage with diverse communities and social groups whose complexities are reflected in their lived experiences.

Diversity as a Value

Diversity is an ethical principle that means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Diversity is an active appreciation and affirmation that individuals and communities deserve to be recognized in their uniqueness and differences. By making differences visible, we are able to see, nurture, and utilize the strengths of all persons. It is additionally important to support and protect diversity because by valuing differences we foster a climate where equity and mutual respect are promoted, and where dehumanization and oppression are incompatible. Diversity is a value held by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences.

  • Valuing diversity acknowledges that categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid; we respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no individual, group, community or culture, is intrinsically superior to another.
  • Valuing diversity does not minimize similarities or commonalities across groups or among humankind, but rather affirms the co-existence of differences that reflect the full expression of humanity and every hue of skin color having equal value, regardless of race or ethnicity.
  • Valuing diversity include intentionally working to relate respectfully to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong. 
  • Valuing diversity include openness and cultural humility, the acknowledgement of “not knowing” and the realization and commitment to lifelong learning about human diversity and ways to interact with those different from ourselves.
  • Valuing diversity include holding ourselves, our institutions and our organizations accountable for working to address ways in which resources and supports are available to ensure inclusivity and equal opportunity.

Diversity in Practice

Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve, but are not limited to the following:

  • Acknowledging that people have the right to be different from others.
  • Understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
  • Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
  • Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being, but also ways of knowing.
  • Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others, in particular for those who are considered “different” from the majority or dominant social group in any given social context.
  • Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.
  • Exploring these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.
  • Understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.


Diversity Vision Statement and Purpose (n.d.) In City University New York (CUNY). Retrieved from http://www2.cuny.edu/about/administration/offices/hr/diversity-and-recruitment/

Palmer, G., & Watkins, K., (2017, January). Diversity Isn't equality: Advancing social justice for people of color. Paper presented at the annual retreat of Adler, University, Chicago.

Contact Us

Email: infoscra@scra27.org

Address: PO Box 3058, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274