Douglas Perkins
Last active: 2/8/2020

Community psychology at the crossroads: prospects for interdisciplinary research.

Maton KI, Perkins DD, Saegert S
Am J Community Psychol. 2006 38 (1-2): 9-21

PMID: 16927157 · DOI:10.1007/s10464-006-9062-3

Effective engagement in interdisciplinary work is critical if community psychology is to achieve its promise as a field of ecological inquiry and social action. The purpose of this paper and special issue is to help make the benefits of interdisciplinary community research clearer and to identify and begin to address its challenges. Although some areas of psychology (e.g., biological, cognitive and health) have made substantial interdisciplinary strides in recent decades, progress in community psychology (and related areas) is more modest. In this article we explore the prospects for expanding and improving interdisciplinary community research. Challenges include designs, measures, and analytical frameworks that integrate multiple levels of analysis from individuals through families, organizations, and communities to policy jurisdictions, and the complexities involved in simultaneously bringing together multiple disciplinary collaborators and community partners. Challenges to interdisciplinary collaboration common to all disciplines include the disciplinary nature of academic culture and reward structures, limited funding for interdisciplinary work and uncertainties related to professional identity and marketability. Overcoming these challenges requires a synergy among facilitative factors at the levels of the interdisciplinary project team (e.g., the framing question; embedded relationships; leadership), the investigators (e.g., commitment to new learning; time to invest), and the external context (e.g., physical, administrative, economic and intellectual resources and support for interdisciplinary work). We conclude by identifying several exemplars of effective interdisciplinary collaborations and concrete steps our field can take to enhance our development as a vibrant community-based, multilevel discipline increasingly devoted to interdisciplinary inquiry and action.

MeSH Terms (7)

Cooperative Behavior Health Services Research Humans Interdisciplinary Communication Psychology, Social Sociology United States

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