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Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? The Unexpected Way Religious Beliefs Influence Parents’ Views of Discipline



This is the seventh in a series of weekly blog posts addressing discipline and parenting practices. In this series, we will explore reasons that parents choose among discipline approaches, the science behind those techniques, and alternative approaches to discipline.


By Cindy Miller-Perrin, PhD (Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Pepperdine University)


How do religious beliefs impact parents’ positions on the use of physical discipline with their children?


Parents’ support for using physical punishment with their children varies, to some degree, by religious affiliation. Both the United Methodist Church and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA, for example, have passed resolutions encouraging parents to avoid the use of physical punishment in favor of other forms of discipline. Members of other faith traditions such as the Jewish, Catholic, and Mormon faiths appear to have also either discouraged or prohibited the use of physical punishment with children.

Conservative Protestants, on the other hand, represent one faith tradition where physical punishment of children is sometimes recommended and encouraged. Conservative Protestants are significantly more likely than parents of other religious backgrounds to support and practice corporal punishment. This support of corporal punishment is largely based on conservative beliefs that the Bible is inerrant and should be interpreted literally.

In addition, many Conservative Protestants believe that children are prone to egocentrism and sinfulness at birth and therefore the parent must shape the will of the inherently rebellious child. From this perspective, the child’s submission serves as a model for their future relationship with God.


Are Christian parents biblically mandated to spank their children?


Does the Bible teach parents to spank their children? The routinely repeated phrase ‘‘spare the rod, spoil the child’’ does not actually appear in the Bible. Instead, it is a popularized paraphrase of several verses in Proverbs. Four of the most commonly cited verses include the following from the New International Version:

He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. (Proverbs 22:15)

Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death. (Proverbs 23:13–14)

Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being. (Proverbs 20:30)

The important question, of course, is whether these passages should be interpreted as a mandate to spank, and whether the growing empirical research that spanking does more harm than good should contribute to the conversation.

For many progressive Christians and biblical scholars (including many Conservative Protestant scholars), the Bible should be read with an understanding of the cultural context in which its passages were written. Children in the ancient world were devalued, and often mistreated. Infanticide was not uncommon. They also lived in a world where violence was understood as the only disciplinary tool. The phrase “time out” does not appear in the Bible!

Given their lowly status in the ancient world, and the role of violence in that world, it is not surprising that the writer of Proverbs (presumably King Solomon) would have spoken of the “rod of discipline.” Once we understand this context, the passages take on new meaning. They are actually meant to place limits on violence in a world in which the weak and powerless, including children and slaves, were sometimes violently mistreated. It is also important to note that Jesus never advocated for physical discipline of children.

Both the Old and New Testaments clearly speak of disciplining children, but spanking and physical punishment are not synonymous with discipline. Today we know that there are other ways to discipline children, with many alternative methods empirically supported as more effective and less potentially harmful than spanking. Considering the Bible’s attempt to regulate and control physical violence during its time, it seems reasonable to argue that a modern day reading of the scriptures should not be interpreted as an endorsement of physical punishment.



So, what goes into positive Christian parenting?


There are many positive findings associated with Christian parenting that suggest that Christian beliefs and parenting can be combined to be effective without the use of physical discipline. The belief that the Bible is God’s true word and that it has answers to important human problems, for example, has been positively associated with praise and hugs.

Sanctification of parenting, or the belief that parenting holds spiritual significance, is associated with:

  • increased consistency in responding to child misbehavior,
  • less use of verbal aggression,
  • increased frequency of praising a child’s behavior and character,
  • greater emphasis on the importance of moral responsibility,
  • greater investment in parenting,
  • sharing more positive memories with one’s child, and
  • having a greater emotional tie with one’s child.

Key factors associated with favorable Christian parenting appear to relate to both parental faith-based actions and beliefs. For example, parents who identify their religious affiliation as Conservative Protestant report more frequent use of physical punishment than parents of other faiths. However, parents who attend religious services report less frequent physical punishment than parents who do not attend religious services, once religious affiliation has been accounted for statistically. 

In addition, interpreting religious content symbolically rather than literally has been associated with positive parenting qualities such as:

  • being supportive toward children and their independence,
  • exerting little psychological control over children, and
  • stressing the importance of the child developing a sense of self, contributing to the community, and building friendships.




Abelow, B. J. (2011). The shaping of New Testament narrative and salvation teachings by painful childhood experience. Archive for the Psychology of Religion, 33(1), 1-54.

Ellison, C. G., & Bradshaw, M. (2009). Religious beliefs, sociopolitical ideology, and attitudes toward corporal punishment. Journal of Family Issues, 30, 320-340.

Ellison, C. G., Musick, M. A., & Holden, G. W. (2011). Does Conservative Protestantism moderate the association between corporal punishment and child outcomes? Journal of Marriage and Family, 73, 946-961.

Fréchette, S., & Romano, E. (2015). Change in corporal punishment over time in a representative sample of Canadian parents. Journal of Family Psychology, 29, 507-517.

General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, USA. (2012, July 6). General Assembly adopts wide range of social justice issues. Retrieved from: http://www.pcusa.org/news/2012/7/6/general-assembly-adopts-wide-range-social-justice-/

Gershoff, E. T. (2013). Spanking and child development: We know enough now to stop hitting our children. Child Development Perspectives, 7(3), 2013, 133–137.

Gershoff, E. T., & Grogan-Kaylor, A. (2016a). Corporal punishment by parents and its consequences for children: Old controversies and new meta-analyses. Journal of Family Psychology, 30, 453-469.

Ingram, C. (n.d.). The biblical approach to spanking. Focus on the Family. Retrieved from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/effective-biblical-discipline/effective-childdiscipline/biblical-approach-to-spanking

Gershoff, E. T., Miller, P. C., & Holden, G. W. (1999). Parenting influences from the pulpit: Religious affiliation as a determinant of parental corporal punishment. Journal of Family Psychology, 13, 307-320.

Greven, P. (1991). Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Grogan-Kaylor, A., & Otis, M. D. (2007). The predictors of parental use of corporal punishment. Family Relations, 56, 80-91.

Miller-Perrin, C.L., & Krumrei Mancuso, E. (2015). Why faith matters: A positive psychology perspective. Dordrecht: Springer.

Nolan, B. (2011, Feb 27). Corporal punishment at St. Augustine is morally troubling, New Orleans archbishop says. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved from http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2011/02/corporal_punishment_at_st_aug.html

Perrin, R., Miller-Perrin, C., & Song, J. (in press). Changing attitudes about spanking using alternative biblical interpretations. International Journal of Behavioral Development.

Petts, R. J. (2012). Single mothers’ religious participation and early childhood behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 74, 251-268.

Swan, R. (2007). Corporal punishment, religious attitudes toward. In N. A. Jackson (Ed.), The encyclopedia of domestic violence (pp. 205- 208). New York, NY: Routledge.

Taylor, C. A., Lee, S. J., Guterman, N. B., & Rice, J. C. (2010). Use of spanking for 3-year-old children and associated intimate partner aggression or violence. Pediatrics, 126, 415-424.

United Methodist Church. (2008). Discipline children without corporal punishment (Social Principles, 162C).

The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church – 2008. Retrieved from: http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/discipline-children-without-corporal-punishment



Dr. Cindy Miller-Perrin earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Washington State University and is currently Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University. She enjoys teaching undergraduates and is the recipient of the 2008 Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence at Pepperdine. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked with maltreated, developmentally delayed, and other troubled children and their families.  Dr. Miller-Perrin has authored numerous journal articles and book chapters covering a range of topics, including physical punishment, child maltreatment, family violence, and vocation and life purpose.  She has co-authored four books, including Why Faith Matters: A Positive Psychology Perspective (with E. Krumrei, 2014), Family Violence Across the Lifespan (with O. Barnett & R. Perrin, Sage 1997, 2005, 2011), Child Maltreatment (with R. Perrin, Sage 1999, 2007, 2013), and Child Sexual Abuse: Sharing the Responsibility (with S. Wurtele, University of Nebraska Press, 1992).  She serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment, and Trauma, Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, and Advances in Child and Family Policy and Practice.  She is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association (APA) and has served as the President of the Section on Child Maltreatment and Member-At-Large for Division 37 Society for Child and Family Policy and Practice of APA.  She is currently President of APA’s Division 37.

Image sources: iStockPhoto.com

Filed under: Children and Youth, Uncategorized Tagged: christian parenting, discipline, parenting, physical discipline, religious beliefs, religious parents, spanking

8 Tips for Surviving Thanksgiving with Your Family Post-Election

Angry Woman wanting to hit her spouse with a spoon

By Elaine Ducharme, PhD, ABPP (Clinical Psychologist)

The holidays have always been a time of emotion and increased stress. People assume everyone else has a perfect family or is having the perfect meal. Loved ones come together. Other loved ones are missed.

This year, Thanksgiving is arriving on the heels of an extraordinarily controversial presidential election. Rarely have we seen this level of anxiety and stress during an election cycle. The country became more polarized than ever. Friendships and romantic relationships were taxed and some even severed. And now, these same friends and families are wondering how they are ever going to have civil conversations again let alone sit down and share Thanksgiving together.

Many families will share the holiday this year with at least one person with a different political view. It is easy to get caught up in our differences. It is important to recognize that as families and friends, we share many things as well. Here are suggestions for families and friends to navigate these holidays.

  1. In some cases, it may be better to avoid political conversation. Consider telling guests ahead of time that political opinions will be checked at the door or outside of the dining area. Then talk about anything else — food, kids, plans for the holidays, etc. Anyone that brings up a controversial topic can be gently reminded of the policy.
  2. If this policy doesn’t work for you, or if issues related to the election are raised anyway, remember the importance of listening. You do not have to respond. All of us like to feel we are heard. We don’t have to agree. But acknowledging feelings can go a long way. This sets a great example for the younger guests at your table.
  3. Focus on areas of agreement if you can. Do you share similar concerns about your family, health care or your job?
  4. Mitch Albom, a journalist and -best-selling author, noted in the Detroit Free Press, that we need to remember that many things in the news that were and continue to be reported as near facts proved to be massively incorrect. So remind yourself and each other that maybe we need to wait and see. Then comment. But not predict.
  5.  Know when to walk away from the conversation. If you find yourself getting upset by the conversation, take a personal time out, head for the kitchen and start to clean up, go entertain the kids, or even take a trip to the bathroom.
  6.  Suggest ideas to work together for the good of your community.
  7. Remember: These are your friends and family. You can have different opinions and still love one another.
  8. And finally, reflect on the fact that we are better together and as Americans we have a great deal to be thankful for. Additional information on managing anxiety and stress can be found at APA’s Help Center.



Elaine Ducharme, PhD, ABPP has specialized in the treatment of trauma and abuse for over 30 years. She is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Glastonbury, Connecticut and is an adjunct professor at the University of Hartford. Dr. Ducharme is the author of Must I Turn the Other Cheek, a book about the effects of premature forgiveness on recovery from sexual abuse and Assessment and Treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder. She has lectured locally and nationally, and is a frequent guest on both radio and television.  Her weekly blog on WRCH, where she is a monthly guest on their morning FM radio show, provides information on a variety of mental health issues. As Public Education Coordinator for the Connecticut Psychological Association she is a frequent contributor to local and national magazine and newspaper articles. Dr. Ducharme is often called upon to provide expert testimony to the courts on issues related to sexual trauma.

Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: difficult dialogues, election, election stress, family conflict, politics, stress, surviving the holidays, Thanksgiving

Starting a Conversation: How We Can Reduce Health Disparities Among Older Adults

You're in good health

By Heather Plakosh, MA (Doctoral Candidate in Counseling Psychology, Chatham University) & Jennifer Q. Morse, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychology, Chatham University)

Achieving Optimal Health is Not a One-Size-Fits-All Effort

The “melting pot” of America is becoming more diverse and “older” with each passing decade. At present, older Americans (aged 65 and up) account for 14.1% of the population and are expected to nearly double over the next 30 years. With this growth, we will witness an increase in diversity among older adults.  Often, we recognize diversity simply in terms of racial and ethnic differences; however, diversity is so much more than that. It also applies to all that affects a person individually, socially, and environmentally. Given the broad scope of diversity, especially among older adults, optimal health will only be achieved when we provide equal healthcare to every individual and disparities cease to exist.

Healthy People 2020 defines health disparities as:

“a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion.”

In other words, health disparities occur because some groups have worse health simply because they are members of a disadvantaged group. Health disparities affect the prevention or development of injury, disability, or illness, as well as negative health consequences and death. This is simply not acceptable.

So, what does this mean in terms of promoting, achieving, and sustaining optimal health and well-being as people age?

It means we must pay closer attention to who a person is in addition what they require for preventing poor health and maintaining good health.

It’s Time to Start TALKING. Really Talking.

Reducing health disparities among older adults overall is a massive undertaking and managed healthcare significantly reduces time spent with patients. However, there are still small steps that providers and older adults themselves can take. Providers and older adults can talk to each other about barriers to receiving care, barriers to achieving healthier lifestyles, and their own values and beliefs.

We should all advocate for ourselves and be active participants in the healthcare decision-making process. If you’re an older adult receiving care – speak up. Ask questions. Let your doctor know when it is hard for you to get to a particular clinic and why. Ask if there are others locations or resources to help you get to an appointment. Ask for several treatment plans. Ask about lifestyle changes that go along with a treatment plan and ask for help to make healthy lifestyle changes. Make sure your provider knows your values and preferences for treatment. Let your voice be heard!

A Few Relevant Talking Points for Providers:

Barriers to adequate care

Two of the most common barriers are transportation and cost. However, other barriers may include geographic location.

  • What resources are available?
  • Where can these resources be located?
  • Can small adjustments or accommodations be made?

Current lifestyle

It is important to assess how your client lives their life.

  • Do they engage in pleasurable activities, hobbies, or interests?
  • Do they live in a safe, healthy environment?
  • Are they isolated or part of a larger community?

These are simple, yet powerful determinants of health and well-being.

Beliefs and values related to illness and treatment.

  • How does your client view their illness?
  • What do they think about the treatments for the illness?
  • Are there negative viewpoints or beliefs?
  • Do they have enough information to make an informed decision?

Perhaps they had a past negative experience with their care. Perhaps they hold firm religious, spiritual, or cultural beliefs that influence their decisions about healthcare.

Keep in mind, the above list is only a snapshot of how we can begin to reduce health disparities among older adults. The general theme here is it is important to recognize diversity and uniqueness in our older clients, and to ask about barriers, lifestyle, and values or beliefs in order to reduce or eliminate health disparities. Asking about these topics allows us to understand context and provide more support to our clients. It also encourages older adults to be more involved in their care, and helps to address disparities consistently, one person at a time.




Heather Plakosh, MA, is a third year doctoral student of Counseling Psychology at Chatham University, where she also obtained her Master of Arts in Psychology. Her training background includes neuropsychological and psychological assessment and individual and group Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IPT) with individuals across the adult lifespan. Heather is currently receiving advanced training in psychotherapy with older adults at a geriatric primary care clinic. Heather is extremely passionate about working with older adults and plans to specialize in geropsychology. Her main research interests include late-life mood disorders, the impact of comorbid health conditions on mental health, and health disparities among older adults.


Jennifer Q. Morse, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at Chatham University. Dr. Morse graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a degree in psychology and completed her doctoral studies at Duke University. Dr. Morse’s research interests focus on Axis I and II disorders across the lifespan, with particular interests in late-life depression and the personality and interpersonal factors that predict depression, treatment course, and recurrence or relapse, assessment of attachment and interpersonal relationships across the lifespan and their relation to psychopathology, and personality disorders across the lifespan especially borderline personality disorder.

For more information on aging issues, visit APA’s Office on Aging website.

Image source: iStockphoto.com


Filed under: Aging, Health Disparities, Uncategorized Tagged: aging, equal access, health care, health disparities, health equity, healthy aging, positive aging

New KFF/CNN Survey on Race, Covering Transgender Care Is Good Economics for Insurance Companies, Making Sense of the Senseless Violence, Too Much TV and Chill Could Reduce Brain Power Over Time and more- In Case You Missed It– December 8th, 2015

roundup image

Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health, and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address a new KFF/CNN survey on race, how covering transgender care is good economics for insurance companies, making sense of the senseless violence, too much TV and chill could reduce brain power over time, and more. 

New KFF/CNN Survey on Race Finds Deep Divisions in How Blacks, Whites and Hispanics Experience and View Race Relations, Discrimination and the Police – The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

With racial incidents and concerns continuing to make national headlines, a new Kaiser Family Foundation/CNN Survey of Americans on Race probes deeply into the views and experiences of Blacks, Hispanics, and Whites, including their personal experiences with discrimination. The survey captures both similarities and differences in how people of different races view race relations, the criminal justice system, incidents of police violence against Blacks, and the Black Lives Matter movement. It also explores their experiences on racial issues and the dramatic differences in the ways people of different races view them. CNN is featuring the poll’s findings on air and across its digital platforms. A Foundation report summarizes the poll’s findings and provides the detailed question-by-question results.

Covering Transgender Care Is Good Economics for Insurance Companies– The Atlantic

While some health insurance companies are starting to pay for gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy, a majority of them still do not. The American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association are just a few organizations that consider gender-transition services to be medically necessary for transgender people. Treatments like gender-reassignment surgery and hormone therapy are an investment in reducing future health expenses. William Padula, at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health, looks at the cost-effectiveness of transgender health care.  He found that “coverage is of really good value and it’s a low-budget impact for society from an insurance standpoint.” His view?  Health insurances companies can absolutely afford to cover the health concerns of transgender people

Making Sense of the Senseless Violence– U.S. News & World Report

Mass shootings have become a regular part of life in America. Mental health experts warn that this exposure to violence may have some major consequences for the nation. Americans are left numb by the constant exposure to violence, which according to psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, is a normal reaction. APA Fellow Russell Jones, PhD says “people can become very fearful and apprehensive,” some people have become more isolated as they continue to be exposed to constant violence. Dr. Renee Binder, President of the American Psychiatric Association, believes there are steps that can be taken to cope. These steps include reassuring your children that they are safe and creating an open and safe space to talk about these issues with your children. APA has tips for talking to kids about difficult news and disasters.

Too Much TV and Chill Could Reduce Brain Power Over Time – NPR

According to a study at the University of California, San Francisco, published in JAMA Psychiatry, people who get little exercise or watch at least 3 hours of TV a day do worse on tests measuring cognitive focus and speed. Marcus Richards, a psychologist at the University College London, says it’s reasonable to think the gap in cognitive function between high-volume TV watchers and infrequent watchers might widen over the years. For some, the early decline in cognitive functioning could become serious later in life.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

Leave us a comment.

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Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association

Filed under: Culture, Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Ethnicity and Race, In Case You Missed It, LGBT Issues, Uncategorized Tagged: discrimination, race, transgender

Tipping Point or State of Emergency? Real Talk About Transgender Women of Color


Zella Ziona, transgender woman murdered in Gaithersburg, MD, October 15, 2015.

By Sand C. Chang, PhD (Gender Specialist, Multi-Specialty Transitions Department, Kaiser Permanente) and Kimber Shelton, PhD (KLS Counseling & Consulting Services, Dallas, TX)

In June 2014, TIME magazine featured Laverne Cox on the cover, the title reading “The Transgender Tipping Point.” The message to the world was, “We’ve arrived.” While the scales have tipped for some transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, notably those with access to wealth or those that fit a mainstream beauty ideal, the rest are left behind. Members of TGNC communities of color are having a different discussion. In panels and forums, on social media, in conversation, they are saying, “The transgender tipping point is crushing us.”

The notion that we as a society have arrived at a time and place in which TGNC people have gained equality is misleading. It creates an illusion of safety, reinforcing a binary gender system and excluding TGNC people at the margins—those most deeply affected by the intersections of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and poverty. The “transgender community” is not one community but many communities. Recent advancements in legislation and health care have greatly benefited some, but the progress is not equally distributed, and the increased visibility does not equal acceptance, which is clear when we consider the realities of many Black and Latina TGNC women’s lives.

Barely one year after being featured in TIME, Laverne Cox herself declared a “state of emergency” for TGNC people. And this is why:

Transgender women of color advocate for more care and bring attention to the disproportionate rates of physical violence, sexual assault, and poverty that negatively affect their communities. By living out loud, transgender women of color also demonstrate the resilience and strength within their communities. Organizations leading awareness and advocacy efforts, such as the #blacktranswomenlivesmatter campaign, include the TransWomen of Color Collective, The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), Racial and Economic Justice Initiative, Transgender Law Center (TLC), TAJA’s Coalition, and Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC).

Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th honors the lives of transgender people who were killed in the past year, including the Black and Latina victims of hate crimes. However, it is not enough to remember and honor the transgender women whose lives were lost in 2015. Psychologists can mark November 20th as the day that they joined or advanced efforts to support transgender women of color, uniting with transgender women of color to create an uplifting tipping point that is inclusive of their intersecting identities.  Here are some things psychologists can do:

  • Engage in culturally competent practice, including use of the APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People.
  • Use voice and media presence to call attention to hate crimes, suicide rates, violence and abuse, and housing and economic disparities disproportionately impacting transgender women of color.
  • Advance research efforts that are inclusive of the gender, racial, and economic realities of transgender women of color.
  • Use your political power to promote federal and state protection for the civil liberties of TGNC individuals.
  • Celebrate and promote the identities, lives, and resilience of TGNC women of color.
  • Consider making a donation to an organization dedicated to increasing safety and equal rights for transgender women of color.
  • Include curriculum in training and supervision about transgender people and their lives.

And we can all #sayhername. These are the names of the transgender and gender nonconforming people whose lives have been lost to violence so far in 2015:

  1. Papi Edwards
  2. Lamia Beard
  3. Ty Underwood
  4. Yazmin Vash Payne
  5. Taja Gabrielle de Jesus
  6. Penny Proud
  7. Kristina Gomez Reinwald
  8. London Chanel
  9. Mercedes Williamson
  10. India Clarke
  11. K.C. Haggard
  12. Amber Monroe
  13. Ms. Shade Schuler
  14. Ashton O’Hara
  15. Kandis Capri
  16. Elisha Walker
  17. Tamara Dominguez
  18. Jasmine Collins
  19. Keyshia Blige
  20. Jessie Hernandez
  21. Kiesha Jenkins
  22. Zella Ziona


Dr. Sand Chang is a Chinese American, nonbinary/genderqueer licensed psychologist. Sand is currently a Gender Specialist at the Multi-Specialty Transitions Department at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland and maintains a private practice specializing in trauma and EMDR, addictions, relationships, and healing work with marginalized communities, particularly people affected by the intersections of racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Sand is the current Chair of the APA Committee on Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity and recently completed an appointment on the American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People.

Dr. Kimber Shelton is a licensed psychologist and owner of KLS Counseling & Consulting Services in Dallas, TX. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Georgia (UGA) and MS in Mental Health Counseling from Niagara University. She is a member of the American Psychological Association Committee of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, co-chair of the Texas Psychological Association Diversity Division, and recipient of the UGA College of Education Professional Achievement Award.

Filed under: Culture, Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Ethnicity and Race, Human Rights and Social Justice, LGBT Issues, Uncategorized Tagged: advocacy, discrimination, LGBT, prejudice, race, transgender

Utah Judge Drops Order on Lesbians’ Foster Child, Black Students Around U.S. Complain of Casual Everyday Racism, Hating Muslims Plays Right into the Islamic State’s Hands and More- In Case You Missed It– November 19th, 2015

roundup image

Welcome back to In Case You Missed It (our weekly roundup of articles touching on psychology, health, mental health and social justice issues from multiple news and commentary websites). This week, we address a Utah judge’s orders about a foster child place with a lesbian couple, black students around U.S. complain of casual everyday racism, hating Muslims plays right into the Islamic State’s hands and more. 


Utah Judge Drops Order on Lesbians’ Foster Child– The New York Times

After ordering that a foster child be taken away from a lesbian couple because it was “not in the best interest of children to be raised by same-sex couples,” Utah Judge Scott N. Johansen reversed his decision — at least temporarily – under pressure from gay rights advocates and Utah’s Republican governor.  In the view of gay rights advocates, the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges should have put this question to rest, as the right to marry confers the same rights that other married couples have.  APA filed an amicus brief in this case, and applauded the Supreme Court’s ruling.  Judge Johansen subsequently recused himself from the case amid calls for his impeachment.

Black Students Around U.S. Complain of Casual, Everyday Racism– CBS News

Last week, University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigned amid protests by the football team and other students that the university was indifferent to repeated complaints about ongoing racial slurs and other racist behavior directed toward Black students.  Protests spread to other universities across the U.S., with students complaining of “casual, everyday racism.”  In this CBS News article, we hear from Sheryce Holloway, who is tired of White people at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond asking if they can touch her hair, or if she knows the latest dance move; and from Dominick Hall at Chicago’s Loyola University, who sees groups of White guys stop talking when he walks by and some people grabbing their bags tighter.  These were among thousands of students across the country taking part in campus demonstrations, talking not only about explicit racism but about subtler expressions of prejudice.  Many say they face these “microaggressions” daily.  For more on microaggressions, check out posts here, on the Public Interest blog.

Hating Muslims Plays Right into the Islamic State’s Hands – The Washington Post

Following the horrific attacks in Paris this past Friday night, there has been an uptick in anti-Muslim violence, with mosques, kebab restaurants, and halal butcher shops being targeted, and anti-Muslim protests.  Similar anti-Muslim violence and vandalism followed the Charlie Hedbo attacks in January.  Psychologist Arie Kruglanski, who studies how people become terrorists, commented, “This is precisely what ISIS was aiming for — to provoke communities to commit actions against Muslims.  Then ISIS will be able to say, ‘I told you so. These are your enemies, and the enemies of Islam.’”  Some counterterrorism experts believe that Islamist militants intend to make Muslims in the West feel isolated and turn against their own communities.

Overweight Men, Not Just Women, Face Daily Discrimination – Zee News

In a study published in APA’s Journal of Applied Psychology, non-overweight men applied for jobs at retail stores or went shopping, and then donned overweight prosthetics and did the same thing, at different stores. According to Dr. Enrica Ruggs, one of the researchers, the men in overweight prosthetics experienced more discrimination, for example: “Employees they interacted with would try to end the interaction early, there was less affirmative behavior like less nodding or smiling; there was more avoidance types of behavior like frowning and trying to get out of the interaction.”  These findings suggest that men who are overweight experience more discrimination than men who are not, which is a pattern similar to that for women.

What do you think of these stories? What did we leave out?

Leave us a comment.

For more In Case, You Missed It,  go to our homepage and subscribe to our blog via RSS or email. 

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Copyright 2015 American Psychological Association

Filed under: Culture, Ethnicity and Race, Ethnicity and Race, In Case You Missed It, LGBT Issues, Uncategorized