I am a Research Officer at the London School of Economics, where I examine the roles of social identities in organisational safety culture. Previously, I held Senior Research Technician and Sessional Lecturer roles at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. I completed my PhD in Social Psychology in July 2015.
My role as Postdoctoral Research Officer at the LSE is to examine how social identities affect the perception of safety culture in safety-critical organisations. As these organisations increasingly become more multinational, safety culture is simultaneously being examined across nations. Increasingly, research shows that national culture meaningfully impacts safety culture perceptions. For example, reporting unsafe practices by colleagues conflicts with national collectivist values. I use social identity theory to examine the interaction of national and occupational identities so that we can inform the development and administration of safety culture workshops.
After completing my PhD in 2015, I began working with Tegan Cruwys on several questions applying Social Identity Theory to health and clinical applications. Specifically, we are evaluating the role of social identities, multiple group memberships, and overall connectedness in mental and physical health. Several studies now suggest that identity loss is a strong predictor of decreased wellbeing and mental health, and this effect is strongest for those with few meaningful group identities. New evidence-based interventions (e.g. Groups 4 Health) are starting to incorporate this research, but the exact parameters by which numerous group memberships meaningfully bolster individuals against stress is unknown. With access to the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (ANZVS) – a massive longitudinal dataset that includes measures of psychological distress, subjective well-being, perceived social support, and felt belongingness – we seek to answer two questions: (1) is there a time-lag between identity loss and poor mental health, which would inform the timing of such group-based interventions, and (2) does personality interact with social identity to affect depression which would inform whether introverts would show the same benefits from these group-based interventions.
My doctoral research investigated effects of violent video games on social behavior. A large body of work from the 1990s and early 2000s makes the claim for violent video games increasing aggressive states (thoughts, feelings, arousal), leading to increases in aggressive behavior and other negative social outcomes. More recent research, however, has not been able to replicate this once clear picture. I investigated boundary conditions in which violent video games effects manifest (e.g. trait aggression, provocation, political ideology), while also trying to address methodological concerns that surround the field (e.g. characteristics of video game stimuli, variations in experimental procedures). An aim of my work is to help inform the level of concern that parents and the general public ought to have about violent video games.