- Investigating how people cope with adverse life events, including suffering and the threat of mortality
- Studying culture, especially as it is instantiated in religious systems and in material systems (e.g., the economic organization of space and time)
- Understanding depression and anxiety, especially how these and other conditions have their origin in negative emotional experience
The body of research I have been conducting with my collaborators stands on two closely linked pillars. The first is a commitment to illuminating major difficulties faced by individuals (such as suffering from illness, negative emotional states, and the fear of death) and societies (such as pronounced income inequality, global warming, and the erosion of traditional communities).
The second pillar of my research is a dedication to reviving the interdisciplinary spirit in the social sciences, and thereby moving them forward into the new millennium. Psychology is a science; however, because humans are complex and unique organisms, psychology is by necessity a social science.
I strongly believe that the interrelation between our individual and societal problems cannot be understood without a multidisciplinary approach, which unites psychology with anthropology and sociology.
Sullivan, D. (2020). Social psychological theory as history: Outlining the critical-historical approach to theory. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 24, 78-99.
Keefer, L. A., Stewart, S. A., Palitsky, R., & Sullivan, D. (2019). Time-space distanciation: An empirically supported integrated framework for the cultural psychology of time and space. Time & Society, 28, 297-332.
Palitsky, R., Sullivan, D., Young, I. F., & Dong, S. (2019). Worldviews and the construal of suffering from depression. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology, 3, 191-208.
Sullivan, D. (2016). Cultural-existential psychology: The role of culture in suffering and threat. Cambridge University Press.
Sullivan, D., Landau, M. J., Young, I. F., & Stewart, S. A. (2014). The dramaturgical perspective in relation to self and culture. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 767-790.
Experimental existential psychology Cultural psychology Anthropology/sociology