APA's Task Force on Socioeconomic Status is reviewing the research on the psychological effects and scope of socioeconomic inequities in the United States and developing a series of recommendations on how APA can help better address these inequities.
The six-member group, formed in June, seeks to call attention to race and social injustices, especially since studies have shown that the gap between upper-class and low-income Americans has been widening since the 1980s, says Ana Mari Cauce, PhD, a task force member and executive vice provost at the University of Washington. The task force, which was formed by APA's Council of Representatives, held its second meeting in October at APA headquarters in Washington, D.C., to work on the recommendations.
Psychologists don't address race and social class issues nearly enough, noted task force chair Susan Saegert, PhD, at the meeting. "That's the beginning of our challenge," said Saegert, director of the Center for Human Environments at The City University of New York.
The task force's recommendations, which it aims to propose at APA's consolidated meetings this spring, will reflect what psychologists can do to better address those issues through practice, research and advocacy. For example, task force members say, psychologists can include socioeconomic variables in their research and develop improved methods for measuring socioeconomic status (SES), advocate for policies that address social class and inequities, and account for SES in student training and recruitment.
Every psychologist and APA division has a stake in addressing SES because it affects everything from health disparities to biases in public policy, Saegert noted at the meeting.
Additional task force members include Nancy Adler, PhD, Heather Bullock, PhD, William Liu, PhD, and Karen Wyche, PhD.
-M. Dittmann Tracey