Dr. Andrew Shelton

Dr. Andrew Shelton Attachment, Positive Psychology, and Culture

Psychology Sub-Discipline: Counseling/Clinical

My research focuses on adult attachment theory and positive psychology from a cross-cultural perspective. The research questions I look forward to continue asking involve: what are culturally-based virtues/strengths and models of relating, and how do these contribute to well-being among Latinxs and other historically underrepresented populations.

My research falls in the following areas:

1) Attachment theory: understands that relatedness is at the core of the human experience and contributes to individual differences in psychological functioning (e.g., emotional regulation, stress response, cognitive style, and interpersonal functioning). It was developed as an evolutionary theory and considered to be cross-culturally universal, yet we know that patterns of relating vary across cultures (e.g., parenting and courtship practices). I am particular interested in the attachment system among Latinxs or other underrepresented groups.

2) Positive psychology: Research in positive psychology has exploded over the past two decades and is uniquely positioned for exploring culturally-grounded constructs of wellness and relatedness. Yet studies with minority groups remains scarce. Within this framework, my work focuses on exploring unique strengths of the minority experience (e.g., the immigration paradox, immigrants tend to experience more—rather than fewer—physical and mental health the longer they live in the US) or culturally-based constructs (e.g., familismo).

3) Latinx Psychology: Latinxs comprise the largest and one of the fastest growing sectors of the US population. In particular, immigrant families experience multiple stressors and losses (e.g., discrimination, language barriers, loss of family and community), yet remain vastly underrepresented in research. This line of research is informed by personal experiences (having been born and raised biculturally in Argentina) and clinical work (providing counseling in Spanish).

4) Wellbeing of cross-cultural workers and families: I also intend on developing a line of work focusing on mental health of cross-cultural workers and their families. I am particularly interested in examining stressors and factors of resilience among cross-cultural workers from countries outside the US and Europe (e.g., Latin America, Nigeria, South Korea).

Current projects:

· Spirituality, hope, and wellness among first-generation Latinx immigrants.

· Work and meaning among first-generation Latinx immigrants (mixed-methods using qualitative and quantitative analyses).

· Belongingness strategies used by adult third culture kids (TCKs).

Join the Lab

Graduate students. I will be accepting 2 new students into the MS in Research Psychology and Data Analysis program. Graduate students can expect to receive individual mentoring (weekly, individual meetings) in developing their original research project (thesis), present research at regional or national conferences, and publish findings (as time allows). My hope is to help students navigate graduate school applications or the workforce, according to their unique ambitions. Students with research interests in attachment, positive psychology, Latinx psychology or multicultural issues, or cross-cultural workers in general will be considered.

Undergraduate lab members. I will conduct interviews to select 3-4 new undergraduate students into the lab. Undergraduate students can expect to gain experiences in data collection, research design, and presenting research at regional or national conferences. As well, my goal is to provide guidance for entering graduate school, internships, or jobs. If you are a sophomore or junior at APU and you have interests in one or more of the areas described above, please contact me.

My mentoring style is informed by attachment theory. It is relational, since I value forming a personal relationship with students. It is also developmental, since professional and personal development of my students are equally important to me. I strive for a balance between providing emotional support and facilitating their professional growth.