Dr. Mark J. Sciutto
At Muhlenberg, I teach a range of courses across the major that reflect both the scientific foundation and the clinical applications of psychology. In each class I teach, my goal is to facilitate the process of change and transformation for each student and for myself. For students, the process might result in more nuanced understanding of issues, deeper self-reflection or a shift in career aspirations. Whatever form it takes, I continue to be surprised and amazed at the transformations I have seen in students across more than 20 years of teaching.
Meanwhile I have been profoundly changed by my students over the years. They have been a source of inspiration and have challenged me to think differently about learning and the world. This is why I love teaching; each class is a unique journey where all parties grow together. My role as a teacher is to provide the scaffolding for meaningful changes to occur and to create an atmosphere that encourages students to challenge themselves in new ways. I want students to embrace moments of uncertainty. I want them to approach difficult challenges when their initial impulse is to avoid them.
There is a wide range of effective treatments for people experiencing psychological, emotional or behavioral problems. However, a large number of people never seek help or fail to follow through on these treatments. Why might someone avoid or delay seeking help? Why might someone be more open to some treatments than others? My research focuses specifically on two factors that might influence the help-seeking process: misconceptions and stigma.
Over the past 20 years, I have investigated knowledge and misconceptions of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I am particularly interested in how incorrect beliefs about a specific disorder or treatment might influence seeking help. For example, how does the belief that ADHD results from sugar intake influence a parent’s willingness to pursue counseling or consider medication?
In recent years, my classes and my research have focused on issues of stigma toward psychological disorders. I am particularly interested in how people’s perceptions of specific disorders (e.g., ADHD) and specific treatments (e.g., medication) might shape the help-seeking process. For example, how might the decision to pursue medication influence others’ perceptions of the parent? Do beliefs about specific disorders (e.g., ADHD is not real) shape a parent’s interactions with teachers?