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

2019 Amie Thurber, Vanderbilt University
  Advisor: Sara Safransky
  Dissertation Title: The Neighborhood Story Project: Keeping More Than Our Homes
2018 Domique Thomas, Georgia State University            
  Advisor: Winnie Chan
  Dissertation Title: Black Scholars Matter: Development and validation of a campus racial climate measure for African-American college students
2017 Jessica Shaw, Michigan State University
  Advisor: Rebecca Campbell
  Dissertation Title: Justifying injustice: How the Criminal Justice System Explains its Response to Sexual Assault
2016 Kate Dorozenko, Curtin University
  Advisor: primary supervisor Brian Bishop, co-supervisor Lynne Roberts
  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
 1998 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
 1994 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
 1993 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
 1992 Terrie Sterling, Georgia State University
  Advisor: James Emshoff
  Dissertation Title: Modeling Community Mobilization for Social Change: Preventing Youth Alcohol and Other Drug Use
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 
1991  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