Community Psychology: Where Do We Go from Here?

  • Paul A. ToroEmail author
2004 Division 27 Presidential Address


Following a developmental analogy, community psychology may be experiencing a “mid-life crisis” as it enters “middle age.” The field needs to determine where to go from here. This paper argues that the field should attempt to expand. Expansion can best be accomplished by celebrating the diversity of orientations within the field (e.g., those emphasizing prevention, empowerment, and the ecological perspective) and the wide range of human problems of interest to community psychologists. To promote expansion of the field, community psychologists need to seek out relationships with diverse groups, such as the international community, those working in applied settings, ethnic minorities, and students and early-career professionals.

Key words

community psychology diversity international 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. American Psychological Association. (2002). 2002 APA Directory Survey. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychological Association. (2003). APA division memberships: 19482003. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, C. C., Anderson, L. S., Cooper, S., Hassol, L., Klein, D. C., & Rosenblum, G. (1966). Community psychology: A report of the Boston Conference on the Education of Psychologists for Community Mental Health. Boston: Boston University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Cowen, E. L. (1977). Baby-steps toward primary prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 5, 1–22.Google Scholar
  5. Dalton, J. H., Elias, M. J., & Wandersman, A. (2001). Community psychology: Linking individuals and communities. Stamford, CT: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  6. Erikson, E. (1963). Childhood and society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  7. Fairweather, G. W. (1986). The need for uniqueness. American Journal of Community Psychology, 14, 128–138.Google Scholar
  8. Fisher, A. T., Thomas, D., Bishop, B., & Gridley, H. (2004). Community psychology in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.Google Scholar
  9. Heinze, H. J., Toro, P. A., Jozefowicz-Simbeni, D., Tompsett, C. J., & Fowler, P. (2004). Identification and evaluation of best practices serving Detroit‘s homeless. Research Group on Homelessness and Poverty, Wayne State University. Retrieved August 4, 2004 from
  10. Henggeler, S. W., Schoenwald, S. K., & Pickrel, S. G. (1995). Multisystemic therapy: Bridging the gap between university- and community-based treatment. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 709–717.Google Scholar
  11. Israel, N., Toro, P., Jozefowicz-Simbeni, D., & Norwood, S. (2003, October). Understanding and empowering homeless school children and families. Presentation at the Midwestern Eco-Community Conference, Plymouth, IN.Google Scholar
  12. Jiminez, D. P., & Ortiz-Torres, B. (2003). The first International Conference on Community Psychology, San Juan, Puerto Rico, June, 2006. Community Psychologist, 36(3), 56-57.Google Scholar
  13. Jozefowicz-Simbeni, D. M. H., Israel, N., Braciszewski, J., & Hobden, K. (2005). The “big tent” of community psychology: Reactions to Paul Toro’s 2004 presidential address. American Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 17–22.Google Scholar
  14. Kelly, J. G. (1979). Tain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it. American Journal of Community Psychology, 7, 244–262.Google Scholar
  15. Kelly, J. G. (1987). Swampscott anniversary symposium: Reflections and recommendations on the 20th anniversary of Swampscott. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15(5).Google Scholar
  16. Kelly, J. G. (2003). Exemplars of community psychology: DVD. Edmond, OK: Society for Community Research and Action.Google Scholar
  17. King, M. L., Jr. (1967). Where do we go from here: Chaos or community. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  18. Levine, M., & Perkins, D. V. (1997). Principles of community psychology: Perspectives and applications (second ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Miller, R. L. (2004, January 6). Membership Committee report for the Mid-Winter Meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action Executive Committee. Unpublished report, Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Chicago.Google Scholar
  20. Mohatt, G. V., Hazel, K. L., Allen, J., Stachelrodt, M., Hensel, C., & Fath, R. (2004). Unheard Alaska: Culturally anchored participatory action research on sobriety with Alaska natives. American Journal of Community Psychology, 33, 263–273.Google Scholar
  21. Rappaport, J. (1981). In praise of paradox: A social policy of empowerment over prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 9, 1–26.Google Scholar
  22. Rappaport, J. (1987). Terms of empowerment/exemplars of prevention: Toward a theory for community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, 121–138.Google Scholar
  23. Rickel, A. U. (1986). Prescriptions for a new generation: Early life interventions. American Journal of Community Psychology, 14, 1–16.Google Scholar
  24. Rickel, A. U. (1987). The 1965 Swampscott Conference and future topics for community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, 511–514.Google Scholar
  25. Seligman, M. E. P. (1998). President’s column: Positive social science. APA Monitor, 29(4), 2–5.Google Scholar
  26. Serrano-Garcia, I. (1994). The ethics of the powerful and the power of ethics. American Journal of Community Psychology, 22, 1–20.Google Scholar
  27. Shinn, M. (1987). Expanding community psychology’s domain. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, 555–564.Google Scholar
  28. Tandon, D., Mashburn, A., & Holditch, P. (2001). The 8th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action: Evaluation and recommendations. Community Psychologist, 34(4), 15–23.Google Scholar
  29. Toro, P. A. (2004a). An American in Paris, and other European cities. Community Psychologist, 37(1), 32–33.Google Scholar
  30. Toro, P. A. (2004b, February). The promise of community psychology research and practice in Asia: Bridging individuals and communities across cultures (keynote speaker). The First Japan-Korea Seminar in Community Psychology: Forging and Serving Communities across Cultures, Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.Google Scholar
  31. Toro, P. A., Tompsett, C. J., Lombardo, S., Schlienz, N., Stammel, N., Blume, M., Yabar, Y., & MacKay, L. (2004). Homelessness in Europe and North America: A comparison of prevalence and public opinion. Unpublished manuscript under editorial review, Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.Google Scholar
  32. Trickett, E. J. (1984). Toward a distinctive community psychology: An ecological metaphor for the conduct of community research and the nature of training. American Journal of Community Psychology, 12, 261–280.Google Scholar
  33. US Census Bureau. (2004). Poverty in the United States: 2002. Retrieved August 4, 2004 from
  34. Walsh, R. T. (1987). A social historical note on the formal emergence of community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 15, 523–530.Google Scholar
  35. Woods, L. N., & Wilson, M. N. (2003). Incorporating diversity: Moving from values to action: Evaluation of the 9th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action. Community Psychologist, 36(4), 43–49.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWayne State UniversityDetroit

Personalised recommendations