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Applied Social Psychology

Applied Social Psychology
Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems

Third Edition
Edited by:
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September 2016 | 616 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
This student-friendly introduction to the field focuses on understanding social and practical problems and developing intervention strategies to address them. Offering a balance of theory, research, and application, the updated Third Edition includes the latest research, as well as new, detailed examples of qualitative research throughout. The book begins with separate chapters that define the field, examine social psychological theory, review research methods, and consider the design and evaluation of interventions. Subsequent content chapters focus on the application of social psychological theory and knowledge to such areas as counseling, sports, media, health, education, organizations, criminal justice, community, environment, and diversity.

Frank W. Schneider, Jamie A. Gruman, and Larry M. Coutts
1. Defining the Field of Applied Social Psychology
Social Psychology  
Defining Social Psychology  
Social Psychology as a Science  
Applied Social Psychology  
Applied Social Psychology as a Science  
The Role of Personal Values  
Historical Context of Applied Social Psychology  
A Problem Focus  
Approaches to Applied Social Psychology  
Social Influences on Behavior: The Power of the Situation  
Levels of Analysis  
The Need for a Broad Approach  
Various Roles of Applied Social Psychologists  
Overview of Book  
Michelle A. Krieger, Greg A. Chung-Yan, and Shelagh M. J. Towson
2. Social Psychological Theory
The Scientific Process  
Theory in Social Psychology  
Functions of Social Psychological Theories  
Characteristics of Social Psychological Theories  
Cognitive Dissonance Theory  
Summing Up Cognitive Dissonance Theory  
Theory of Planned Behavior  
Summing Up the Theory of Planned Behavior  
Kenneth M. Cramer and Louise R. Alexitch
3. Research Methods in Applied Social Psychology
Methods of Data Collection  
Variables and Their Measurement  
Self-Report Methods: The Special Case of Surveys  
Observational Methods  
Research Designs  
True Experiments  
Correlational Studies  
Descriptive Studies  
Research Settings  
Qualitative Research Methods  
Research Ethics  
Adam Lodzinski, Michiko S. Motomura, and Frank W. Schneider
4. Intervention and Evaluation
Design of Interventions  
Nature of Interventions  
Key Tasks in Intervention Design and Delivery  
Evaluation of Interventions  
Reasons for Evaluating Interventions  
Ineffective Interventions  
Types of Evaluation  
Importance of Research Design in Evaluating Interventions  
Evidence-Based Interventions  
An Intervention Example: Reducing Alcohol Problems on Campus  
Identifying the Problem  
Developing a Solution: Forming the Intervention Hypothesis  
Goal Setting and Designing the Intervention  
Implementing the Intervention  
Evaluating the Intervention  
Incorporating Qualitative Methods to Design and Evaluate Interventions  
Further Applications of Social Norm Theory  
Other Interventions  
Examples of Other Interventions  
Complex Problems Require Complex Solutions  
Influencing Social Policy  
Intervention Issues  
Process Issues  
Ethical Issues  
Kenneth E. Hart and Phillip A. Ianni
5. Applying Social Psychology to Clinical and Counseling Psychology
The Origins of Psychological Disorders  
The Social Psychological Roots of Social Anxiety  
A Social Psychological Model of Depression  
The Treatment and Prevention of Psychological Disorders  
Self-Presentation Theory: An Approach to Treating Social Anxiety  
Hopelessness Theory Approach to Treating Depression  
The Diagnosis of Psychological Disorders  
Biases in Clinical Decision Making  
Final Thoughts  
Philip Sullivan, Deborah L. Feltz, and Lori Dithurbide
6. Applying Social Psychology to Sports Teams
Team Dynamics  
Team Cohesion  
Team Confidence  
Effective Communication  
Team Goal Setting  
Team Building  
Family Psychology Intervention  
Communication Training Intervention  
David R. Ewoldsen and Beverly Roskos
7. Applying Social Psychology to the Media
How Does Media Violence Affect Us?  
The Consequences of Viewing Media Violence  
Imitation of Violence  
Media Violence and Aggressive Thoughts  
Media Violence and Fear  
What Happens When We Watch Pornography?  
Effects of Long-Term Exposure to Nonviolent Pornography  
Effects of Exposure to Embedded Violent Sexual Material  
Reducing the Harmful Effects of Exposure to Violent Sexual Material  
Does Political News Coverage Affect Us?  
How the Media Influence Our Thoughts  
Effects of Negative Media Coverage of the Government  
Kathryn D. Lafreniere and Kenneth M. Cramer
8. Applying Social Psychology to Health
Health Psychology Defined  
The Biopsychosocial Model  
Social Variables and Health  
Promoting Health and Preventing Illness  
Persuasion and Social Influence in Media Health Coverage  
Health Literacy: Evaluating Health-Related Information on the Internet  
Family, Peer, and School Influences  
Changing Health Behavior  
Health Belief Model  
Theory of Planned Behavior  
Transtheoretical Model  
Stress, Coping, and Social Support  
Stress and Coping  
Social Support  
Louise R. Alexitch
9. Applying Social Psychology to Education
Intrapersonal Processes: Increasing Success, Reducing Failure  
What Factors Affect Student Performance?  
How Can Student Performance Be Improved?  
Interpersonal Processes: Teachers and Students Interacting  
Teacher Expectations and Student Achievement  
Students Interacting With Other Students  
When Interactions Turn Ugly: Aggression in School  
Larry M. Coutts and Jamie A. Gruman
10. Applying Social Psychology to Organizations
The Individual in an Organizational Context  
Making Sense of Others in the Work Environment  
Job Satisfaction: Antecedents and Consequences  
Interpersonal Processes in Organizations  
Group Decision Making  
David M. Day and Stéphanie B. Marion
11. Applying Social Psychology to the Criminal Justice System
The Crime and the Criminal  
The Social Psychology of a Crime  
The Origins of Criminal Behavior  
The Response of the Criminal Justice System  
The Police Investigation  
The Courtroom  
The Prison Setting  
Kathryn D. Lafreniere, Stewart Page, and Charlene Y. Senn
12. Applying Social Psychology to the Community
What Is Community Psychology?  
Defining Community Psychology  
Origins of Community Psychology  
Community Psychology Values and Approaches  
Sense of Community  
Life in the City  
The Internet as a Community and Source of Help  
Diversity Versus Prejudice and Stigmatization  
The Importance of Diversity  
Research on Stigmatization  
The Media and Stigmatization  
Bringing About Social Change  
Social Action and Activism  
Using Research to Influence Social Change  
Activism in Research  
Influencing Policy  
Changing Structural or Social Barriers  
Robert Gifford
13. Applying Social Psychology to the Environment
Resource Dilemmas  
A Family of Dilemmas  
What Is a Resource Dilemma?  
Studying Resource Dilemmas  
Strategies for Inducing Pro-Environment Behavior  
The Built Environment  
Social Design  
Defensible Space  
Catherine T. Kwantes and Sherry Bergeron
14. Applying Social Psychology to Diversity
Societies: Cultural Diversity  
Hofstede’s Cultural Taxonomy  
Schwartz’s Values Framework  
Social Axioms Approach  
Demographics: Personal Diversity  
Ethnic Background  
Social Class  
Consequences of Diversity: Opportunities and Challenges  
Creativity and Innovation  
Problem Solving  
Prejudice and Discrimination  
Theories of Conflict  
Conflict Management and Resolution  
Ann L. Weber and Jennifer Dobson
15. Applying Social Psychology to Personal Relationships
The Need to Be Close  
Proximity and Familiarity  
Physical Attractiveness  
Infant Attachment  
Adult Attachment Styles  
Assess Your Attachment Style  
Applying Attachment Lessons  
The Selection Process  
The T-Shirt Study  
Selection Process Lessons and Applications  
Conclusion: The Science of Closeness  
Randolph A. Smith
16. Applying Social Psychology to the Classroom
Cognitive Errors and Student–Teacher Relations  
Fundamental Attribution Error  
Belief Perseverance  
Social Categorization  
Self-Perceptions and Their Academic Consequences  
Self-Serving Bias  
Overjustification Effect  
Conclusion: Social Psychology in the Classroom  
Jamie A. Gruman, Kenneth E. Hart, and Phillip A. Ianni
17. Applying Social Psychology to the Good Life: Balancing Optimism and Pessimism
Introduction to Positive Social Psychology  
Introduction to Optimism–Pessimism  
Self-Assessment of Optimism–Pessimism  
The Social Psychology of Optimism  
The Benefits of Optimism  
Positive Coaching Exercises  
A Balanced View of Optimism and Pessimism  
Broadening the Perspective on Well-Being  
Author Index
Subject Index
About the Editors


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Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.   
Key features


  • Updated content in all chapters resulting in over 270 new citations keeps readers up to date with what is new in the field.
  • New, detailed examples of research using qualitative methods in every content chapter help students better understand key concepts.
  • Stronger contextualization of applied social psychology helps students understand the overall scope of the field.
  • New topics include the concept of shared mental models in teams; health literacy and how people evaluate health claims on the Internet; procrastination, bullying, and cyberbullying; and virtual sense of community.
  • Topics updated with the latest research include video games and aggression; how the Internet influences the way we consume news media; how to effectively craft messages to promote environmentally friendly behavior; and cognitive errors and tendencies.
  • The latest thinking in contemporary applied social psychology is reflected in an entirely new section drawing on the Theory of Planned Behavior to explain the nature of social psychological theory.
  • Cutting-edge developments in popular areas such as positive psychology include expanded discussions of optimism and pessimism and positive social psychology.
  • A new balance framework helps students conceptualize how social phenomena promote “the good life.”


  • Coverage of a broader range of topics helps students develop a more thorough appreciation of the scope of the field and the varied social problems it addresses.
  • Unique chapters focus on personal interventions, such as how readers can apply social psychology to their own lives.
  • Focus on Research and Focus on Intervention sections review research studies and social-psychologically based interventions in greater detail.
  • Culture Capsule features illustrate how social psychological knowledge from one cultural context may not necessarily generalize to other cultural contexts.
  • In-text learning aids include chapter-opening outlines and vignettes, highlighted key terms, and chapter-ending summaries.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 13

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