Social Policy

Allen M. Omoto

in The Oxford Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398991
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Social Policy


This chapter explores some of the historical linkages between personality, social psychology, and social policy, and especially as exemplified in the action research tradition. It does not review specific policies or case examples, but instead focuses on conceptual issues in integrating personality and social psychology for social policy research, program development, and evaluation. The chapter describes general orientations in personality and social psychology and how they may produce different understandings and solutions for social problems. Some of the differences in orientation are proposed as hindering the integration of personality and social psychology, whereas others are framed as complementary and likely to enhance policy work. Illustrative examples are offered of ways to integrate personality and social psychology in policy-relevant research, and other possible levels and contexts for personality and social psychologists to engage in policy work are also noted. The chapter concludes by outlining several systemic influences on policy involvement by personality and social psychologists, with a call for training programs to “rediscover” emphases on social policy, and by encouraging personality and social psychology to more highly value and actively participate in social policy research and work of all types.

Keywords: policy; action research; social issues; social problems; Kurt Lewin; applied psychology

Article.  20058 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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