Verónica Caridad Cruz Rabelo, PhD
beˈɾonika kaɾiˈðað krus rʌ'bɛloʊ
As of August 2017, I am an Assistant Professor of Management in the College of Business at San Francisco State University. I received my PhD in Psychology and Women's Studies from the University of Michigan. I received a BA in Psychology at Williams College (Williamstown, MA), where I also concentrated in Latin@ Studies and Africana Studies.
I do research on social identity, mistreatment, mindfulness, and compassion in the workplace. I research these topics from the perspectives of underrepresented, under-served, and under-studied communities, including employees who are people of color, sexual minorities, and/or low-income.
Holland, K. J., Rabelo, V. C., & Cortina, L. M. (2017). (Missing) knowledge about sexual assault resources: Undermining military mental health. Violence and Victims, 32(1), 60-77. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D-15-00042
In 2005, the Department of Defense reformed military sexual assault (MSA) prevention and response efforts. However, research suggests that some Service members may not be informed of MSA resources. We examined how lacking such knowledge may undermine psychological well-being (i.e., symptoms of depression and posttraumatic stress) among MSA survivors as well as Service members who feel unsafe from MSA. The data were collected by the DoD in 2010 and sampled active duty Service women and men. Experiencing MSA, feeling unsafe from MSA, and lacking knowledge of MSA resources predicted greater psychiatric symptoms. Service members who felt unsafe from MSA reported greater psychiatric symptoms as a function of lacking knowledge of MSA resources. Findings suggest that education about sexual assault resources may be critical for the protection of mental health—among survivors and nonvictims alike.
Rabelo, V. C., & Cortina, L. M. (2016). Intersectionality: Infusing I-O psychology with feminist thought. In T. Roberts, N. Curtin, L. M. Cortina, & L. E. Duncan (Eds.), Building a better psychology of gender: Best practices in feminist psychological science (pp. 179-197). Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-32141-7
Industrial and organizational psychology, or I-O, is concerned with the study of human behavior in the context of work. Since the growth of I-O psychology over the past century, research on diversity has proliferated, with much of this scholarship focusing on a single axis of diversity, such as gender or race/ethnicity. However, research that examines a single axis of identity (e.g., gender) tends to focus on the most prototypical subordinate members of that group (e.g., White women) at the expense of considering other group members who hold additional subordinate identities (e.g., women of color and/or transwomen). One consequence of the single-axis approach that pervades I-O diversity research is the erasure, invisibility, and marginalization of people with multiple subordinated identities. In contrast to this single-axis approach, intersectionality is a feminist framework that accounts for the mutual interdependency of multiple social identities: the meanings of one social identity group depend on its intersections with other identity groups. Intersectionality is concerned with the simultaneous interplay of various social group memberships and the location of these social groups within larger structures of power, privilege, and oppression. In this chapter, we aim to provide I-O psychologists with an introduction to intersectionality as an analytical lens for research. Intersectionality as an analytical lens serves as an approach to guide the formulation, testing, and interpretation of research questions. This chapter is structured as follows. We begin with a brief history of intersectionality scholarship, an important branch of feminist theory spearheaded by women of color. Next, we discuss the relevance and importance of intersectionality to I-O psychology. Finally, we provide guidelines and challenges for I-O psychologists interested in engaging with intersectionality in their research.
Parker, P. S., *Jiang, J., *McCluney, C., & *Rabelo, V. C. (2016). Race, gender, class, sexuality: Researching communication and difference. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190228613.013.204
* Authors contributed equally so names are listed alphabetically.
Difference in human experience can be parsed in a variety of ways and it is this parsing that provides the entry point to our discussion of “race,” “gender,” “class,” and “sexuality” as foci of study in the field of organizational communication. Social sorting of difference has material consequences, such as whether individuals, groups, organizations, communities, and nations have equal and equitable access to civil/participative liberties, food, clean water, health, housing, education, and meaningful work. Communication perspectives enable researchers to examine how difference is produced, sustained, and transformed through symbolic means. That is, communication organizes difference. In the field of organizational communication the communicative organizing of race, gender, class, and sexuality is examined in everyday social arrangements, such as corporate and not-for-profit organizations, communities, and other institutional contexts locally and globally. Topics of central concern in organizational communication difference studies are those related to work and the political economy of work, such as labor, conflicts between public and private domains, empowerment, and agency.
Research on race, gender, class, and sexuality as communicatively structured difference has progressed in the field of organizational communication from early top-down functionalist approaches, to bottom-up and emergent interpretive/critical/materialist methods, to poststructuralist approaches that deconstruct the very notion of “categories” of difference. More complex intersectional approaches, including queer theory and postcolonial/decolonial theory, are currently gaining traction in the field of organizational communication. These advances signal that difference studies have matured over the last decades as the field moved toward questioning and deconstructing past approaches to knowledge production while finding commensurability across diverse theoretical and research perspectives. These moves open up more possibilities to respond to societal imperatives for understanding difference.
Ruggs, E. N., Hebl, M. R., Rabelo, V. C., Weaver, K. B., Kovacs, J., & Kemp, A. S. (2016). Baltimore is burning: Can I-O psychologists help extinguish the flames? Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 9(3), 525-547. doi:10.1017/iop.2016.5
Recent media coverage has called attention to what some see as an unreasonable use of force by law enforcement officers against unarmed Black citizens. Many of these incidents have stirred widespread concern, as there has been a large public outcry indicating that the incidents appear to have racial undertones, which is particularly pronounced given the fatal consequences that are too frequent. This article focuses on how psychological research on racial bias can explain some of the cognitive and affective processes that could be influencing law enforcement officer behavior in at least some of these incidents. Further, we discuss how industrial–organizational (I-O) psychologists can use this research and leverage current practices within the field to develop solutions and effectively deal with individual racial biases among officers within the law enforcement community. We also discuss avenues of future research within I-O psychology and hope to spark a conversation within the I-O community about additional ways the field can address tensions that have arisen between law enforcement and different communities regarding perceptions of excessive use of force by officers.
Holland, K. J., Rabelo, V. C., & Cortina, L. M. (2016b). See something, do something: Predicting sexual assault bystander intervention in the U.S. military. American Journal of Community Psychology, 58(1-2), 3-15. doi:10.1002/ajcp.12077
Sexual assault is a pervasive problem in the U.S. military, especially against women. Bystander intervention is increasingly promoted as important for reducing sexual violence, and it may be particularly helpful in contexts with high rates of sexual violence. Bystander training encourages and enables people to intervene safely and stop sexual violence. In this study, we drew from an ecological model to investigate intrapersonal, microsystem, and exosystem factors that predicted Service members’ assumption of personal responsibility to intervene in an alcohol-involved sexual assault. Moreover, we examined how these predictors played a role in decisions about how to intervene: confronting the perpetrator, assisting the victim, or finding someone to help. We analyzed data from 24,610 active duty personnel collected by the Department of Defense. Several factors significantly related to Service members’ bystander intentions: gender, rank, morale, attitudes about sexual assault, training, and trust in the military sexual assault system predicted the likelihood and method of bystander intervention. These findings help identify how and why people intervene (or fail to intervene) when they witness situations that could develop into sexual violence.
Objective: Military Sexual Trauma (MST) can be a harmful aspect of military life. Despite the availability of resources, Service members may encounter barriers that impede help-seeking for sexual assault (i.e., encountering logistical constraints, anticipating stigma). We examined how such barriers undermine wellbeing (i.e., exacerbate symptoms of depression and PTSD) among MST survivors, both female and male. Additionally, we investigated how these barriers aggravate depression among Service members who feel unsafe from sexual assault. Method: The current study was a secondary analysis of the 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA; N = 26,505). Personnel who had experienced MST (n = 542) and those who felt unsafe from sexual assault (n = 1,016) were included in the analyses. Results: As expected, both MST survivors and those feeling unsafe reported more negative psychological symptoms as a function of help-seeking barriers. Conclusions: Results suggest that removal of help-seeking barriers may be helpful for the protection of mental health – among assault victims and non-victims alike. For instance, efforts could be taken to reduce logistical barriers (e.g., allowing time for health care visits) and stigma (e.g., enhancing training for all personnel who work with MST survivors).
Holland, K. J., Rabelo, V. C., Gustafson, A., Seabrook, R. C., & Cortina, L. M. (2016). Sexual harassment against men: Examining the roles of feminist activism, sexuality, and organizational context. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 17(1), 17-29. doi:10.1037/a0039151
The current study investigated men’s experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace, including sexually advancing harassment (e.g., unwanted touching) and gender harassment (e.g., derogatory comments). We examined the associations among engaging in feminist activism, being a sexual minority (e.g., gay, bisexual), and working in an organizational context that tolerates sexual harassment in predicting men’s experiences of harassment. Moreover, we examined whether activism was protective against negative personal and professional harassment-related outcomes. Our study utilized survey data from 326 working adult men. According to results, engaging in feminist activism and working in an organizational context that tolerates sexual harassment were significant predictors of the sexual harassment of men. Sexual orientation was not a significant predictor alone, although sexual minority men were more likely to engage in feminist activism. Sexual advance and gender harassment were both associated with decreased psychological well-being and job satisfaction, but engaging in feminist activism was protective for men’s psychological well-being. These findings support theoretical conceptualizations of sexual harassment as a form of punishment for men who deviate from the prescriptions of traditional masculinity. Our results suggest that organizations would benefit from comprehensive and gender-fair policies and trainings related to workplace sexual harassment.
Leskinen, E. A., Rabelo, V. C. & Cortina, L. M. (2015). Gender stereotyping and harassment: A “catch-22” for women in the workplace. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 21(2), 192-204. doi:10.1037/law0000040
United States law recognizes the illegality of sex/gender stereotyping when it drives formal discrimination in employment, as in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989). In the present study, we investigated whether such stereotyping – and attendant intolerance for counterstereotypicality – also breeds discrimination in the form of gender harassment. That is, we examined whether and how different components of gender counterstereotypicality combined to affect women’s risk of being targeted with harassment. Using a sample of 425 working women, we tested how deviations from stereotypical femininity—masculine appearance, masculine-typed behaviors (aggression and self-reliance), and work in a masculine context—related to women’s experiences of gender harassment (specifically, sexist remarks and gender policing). We found that women were caught in a “catch-22”: professional success in many highly compensated fields required stereotypically masculine behavior and appearance, but those same attributes increased women’s harassment risk. Taken together, our findings carry methodological, practical, and legal implications. If working women are penalized for their gender deviance through different forms of gender harassment, particularly in certain work domains, this may fuel gender discrepancies in particular fields. There could be a cumulative impact on women throughout their careers, from hiring to evaluation to advancement up the ranks. Methodologically, this study can expand our understandings of how to operationalize gender-role violation and parse apart different manifestations of workplace harassment. It can also inform debates about relationships between sex stereotyping, harassment, and the law.
Holland, K. J., Rabelo, V. C., & Cortina, L. M. (2014). Sexual assault training in the military: Evaluating efforts to end the “Invisible War.” American Journal of Community Psychology, 54(3-4), 289-303. doi:10.1007/s10464-014-9672-0
Sexual assault is an insidious problem in the United States military. In 2005 the Department of Defense (DoD) created the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, which centralizes responsibility for sexual assault training. However, this training initiative has undergone little evaluation by outside researchers. Addressing this need, we analyzed responses from over 24,000 active duty personnel who completed the 2010 DoD Workplace and Gender Relations Survey. We assessed whether sexual assault training exposure (None, Minimal, Partial, or Comprehensive) predicted accurate knowledge of sexual assault resources and protocols. Using a social-ecological framework, we investigated whether institutional and individual factors influenced Service members' training exposure and judgment of training effectiveness. According to our results, exposure to comprehensive training predicted lower sexual assault incidence and superior knowledge. However, comprehensive training differed as a function of military branch, rank, gender, and sexual assault history. Judgments of training effectiveness also varied across these dimensions. Our results highlight the importance of considering context, gender, and victimization history when evaluating institutional efforts to end sexual violence. The DoD's 2010 annual report on military sexual assault concluded that "most Active Duty members receive effective training on sexual assault" (p. 104). Our results cast doubt on that assertion.
This project investigated the incidence, interplay, and impact of gender- and sexuality-based harassment, as experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) employees in higher education. Unlike much queer empirical research, participants in this study were residents of noncoastal regions of the U.S. that are predominantly White, rural, and conservative (i.e., "red states"). They completed surveys about their harassment experiences (gender harassment-sexist, gender harassment-policing, and heterosexist harassment), perceived support systems (from supervisors and organizations), and job attitudes (job burnout, job stress, and job satisfaction). Results showed that gender harassment-both sexist and policing subtypes-rarely occurred absent heterosexist harassment, and vice versa. Harassment severity (experiencing moderate to high levels of all three harassment types) was significantly associated with greater levels of job burnout (both disengagement and exhaustion) and job dissatisfaction. Even infrequent experiences of harassment related to large increases in the "threat" variety of job stress (i.e., sense of feeling hassled and overwhelmed on the job). Additionally, employees who perceived the lowest organizational support reported the most harassment. We interpret results in light of research on organizational behavior and LGBQ psychology. Moreover, we discuss our findings in the context of Title VII, currently interpreted to protect against harassment based on gender, sex, and sex stereotyping, but not sexual orientation. Our results can inform several possible avenues of expanding gay civil rights in employment: broadening judicial interpretations of Title VII, passing new legislation (e.g., the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA), and strengthening organizational supports and policies that protect against sexuality-based abuses.
Mahalingam, R., & Rabelo, V. C. (2013). Theoretical, methodological, and ethical challenges to the study of immigrants: Perils and possibilities. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 141, 25-41. doi:10.1002/cad.20041
Research on immigrant communities has often been reductionist, stereotypical, and simplistic, and even the most well-intentioned researchers are susceptible to using cultural deficit models. This chapter critically evaluates some of the dominant tensions and problem areas with respect to researching immigrant communities. Specifically, we analyze three primary challenges that researchers encounter: the heterogeneity of immigrant lives, adequate representations of immigrant communities, and researcher privilege. In addition to identifying these unique theoretical, methodological, and ethical concerns, we draw from critical theory, feminist scholarship, and cultural psychology to provide an interdisciplinary solution. For researchers investigating immigrant communities, we advocate the following: (a) grounding of intersectional frameworks; (b) reliance on a risk and resilience framework; (c) phenomenological understanding of immigrants' everyday lives; (d) inclusion of immigrant participants' voices; and (e) cultivation of negative capability. Finally, we briefly review selected studies that address three recurring challenges that researchers face and heed our five recommendations.