Debra Mashek, PhD, researches social connections in two types of relationships: relationships with intimate partners and relationships with community.
In the intimate partner domain, she is intrigued by the idea that, in spite of our human tendency to seek out and maintain intimate bonds, it is nevertheless possible to desire less of the very thing that is at the heart of intimate relationships: closeness.
Much of her recent scholarship has focused on social connection with communities. Her work in this area concerns three seemingly disparate populations: incarcerated offenders, college students and community residents.
Her research with incarcerated offenders assesses changes in inmates’ perceptions of being connected to the community at large and to the criminal community over the course of incarceration and in the years following release from prison.
Mashek’s research with students has centered on how their sense of connectedness to the college community relates to their college experiences both in and out of the classroom. In addition, she has researched strategies for motivating participation in Neighborhood Watch programs.
Mashek teaches courses on psychology of close relationships, evaluating media claims about human behavior and research methods.
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