My program of research focuses on the constructs of power and privilege as they relate to gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class. Under the umbrella of power and privilege, my research agenda includes three foci: (1) theory testing, (2) applications, and (3) higher education.
In terms of theory testing, I am interested in theories that explain how entitlement and objectification function as markers of power and privilege. Further, I am interested in how these phenomena are differentially experienced by individuals varying in privileged status. Specifically, I have conducted research the relationships between masculine entitlement, gender role socialization, and rape-related attitudes and behaviors (Hill & Fischer, 2001) as well as the theoretical links between entitlement and racial attitudes/beliefs (Hill, writing in progress). I have conducted a number of research projects examining Objectification Theory, examining the link between cultural sexual objectification of women (the treatment of women’s bodies as objects) and self-objectification (Hill & Fischer, 2008), testing the theory using structural equation modeling (Tylka & Hill, 2004), as well as exploring potential moderators such as feminist identity and age (Grippo & Hill, 2008). A related project that was recently published examines body dissatisfaction in men (McArdle & Hill, 2008). In conjunction with a wonderful team of undergraduate and graduate students, I have been working on a large scale qualitative project exploring women’s experiences of being treated as sexual objects. As a result of my research in the area of sexual objectification of women, I was invited to write a theoretical chapter looking at Objectification Theory through a social constructionist lens (Hill, 2010). This chapter illustrates how my thinking about this topic has developed and changed over time. Specifically, I challenge the idea that women have a universal shared definition and/or experience of sexual objectification. I am excited to continue this research by finding innovative ways of exploring the diversity of women’s experiences. I have been working on a research project that examines college women’s experiences with “hooking-up” as a potential context for objectification and unwanted sex (Hill, Garcia & Geher, writing in progress).
I am interested in the application of power and privilege to the therapy setting. As such, I have conducted research on the application of feminist theory to therapy (Moradi, Fischer, Hill, Jome & Blum, 2000), explored a feminist empowerment model of forgiveness therapy (McKay, Hill, Freedman & Enright, 2007), and evaluated work with domestic violence victims from a multicultural perspective (Chavis & Hill, 2009).
Finally, I also am interested in the constructs of power and privilege and how they play out in higher education. More specifically, I have conducted research on the measurement of feminist identity development in a population primarily consisting of college women (Fischer, Tokar, Mergl, Good, Hill & Blum, 2000) and experiences of of parenting among men and women in academia when there is no policy (Hill, Nash & Citera, 2011). Additionally, a colleague and I have been working on a manuscript exploring how unique challenges that often emerge in the psychology classroom can be understood using a developmental perspective of epistemology (Holmes & Hill).