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Krys Kaniasty

Krys Kaniasty


Uhler 305

Office Phone



Spring 2014 Office Hours

  • Tuesday 3:30–5:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday 9:00–11:00 a.m.
  • Thursday 3:30–5:00 p.m.

How I became interested in Psychology

At the end of high school, I still wanted to do everything and be anything… I wanted to write novels, direct films, travel, play a guitar on to-be-MTV, have money for nothing and else, find a cure for cancer, bring down the communist dictatorship, be a sacrificial political dissident, make the world a better place, and clearly establish the answer to the question of existence of God and meaning of life. In other words, I was immature, and psychology as a major appeared to me as a comfortable asylum from the pressures of important decisions surrounding me. For me it worked out—I became fascinated by scientific psychology for its own merits, not because of my obvious limitations. Therefore, I hasten to add, for many young people like me then, hiding in psychology from responsible life decisions did not, or might not, work out. Always be careful what you wish for…

Areas of Interest

Social support exchanges in the context of stressful and traumatic life events at both individual (e.g., criminal victimization) and community (e.g., natural disasters) levels. Models estimating the role of social support and other resources as moderating and mediating factors in the stress-adjustment process. Determinants of psychological hardiness and resilience (i.e., successful adaptation) of individuals and communities facing a variety of crises, including extreme stress. Cultural influences on helping behavior, social support, and coping with stress. Application of social psychological principles (e.g., social cognition, attribution) in examining the course of coping with stressful life events.

Current Research and Professional Projects

I am continuously writing about social support and trauma, mainly based on data collected in disaster studies I collaborated on with other researchers [e.g., prospective study of older adults exposed to floods in southeastern Kentucky, longitudinal studies of Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Paulina (Mexico), and large three-wave investigation of the 1997 floods in Poland]. Below are links to recent papers that exemplify my latest interests in the area of coping with (potentially) traumatic events.

I continue to collaborate with scholars from Poland. My colleague from the Institute of Psychology (Polish Academy of Sciences) and I began work on the construct of political stress. We define political stress as perceived impact of current political events and circumstances on personal psychological well-being and concerns about the socio-economic well-being of one’s country. We assume that varying levels of political stress are associated with attitudes and behaviors related to the sense of psychological and social engagement (e.g., political efficacy, grassroots movements for change, activism), or disengagement (e.g., sense of demoralization, voter apathy, immigration). As part of another project with my former student from Opole University (Poland), I developed an “Inventory of New Species of Trouble” that assesses worries ("fears") about unhealthy foods, toxic chemicals in ordinary products, newly emerging diseases, potentially noxious technology, crime, technological accidents, and different types of catastrophes (natural and human-induced). Our research attempts to examine how, or if at all, these concerns about "new species of trouble" impact people’s close interpersonal and community relationships with others.


MA, 1981, Adam Mickiewicz University (Poznan, Poland): Clinical Psychology

PhD, 1991, University of Louisville: Social/Community Psychology

Habilitation, 2005, Polish Academy of Science (PAN), Institute of Psychology, Warsaw, Poland

Courses Taught

Introductory Psychology, Research Design and Statistics, Advanced Applied Research Methods, Social Psychology, Advanced Social Psychology, Stress and Coping, Psychological Consequences of Trauma: Disasters, Human Oppression, and War

Resources and Other Items You Might Find Interesting

Dr. Kaniasty’s Curriculum Vita

Kaniasty, K (2012). Predicting social psychological well-being following trauma: The role of postdisaster social support. Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, Policy, 4, 22 -23. [pdf]

Kaniasty, K. (2011). Parental crucibles: Families coping with disaster. In P. Buchwald, K. Moore, & T. Ringeisen (Eds.). Stress and anxiety: Application to education and health (pp. 83 – 93). Berlin, Germany: Logos Verlag. [pdf]

Bonanno, G., Brewin, C., Kaniasty, K., & La Greca, A (2010). Weighting the costs of disaster: Consequences, risks, and resilience in individuals, families, and communities. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 11(1), 1-49. [pdf]

The Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR)

Lifetime Career Award from the Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR)

STAR conference in Palma de Mallorca

Anxiety, Stress, and Coping: An International Journal

Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN)

Institute of Psychology, Opole University (Poland)

Dr. Kaniasty’s Book about the 1997 Polish Flood (English Abstract)

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

If You Can't Think of Something to Say, Just Offer Support — blog post from IUP Media Relations


Natalia Kaniasty’s (very) short films

  • Psychology Department
  • Uhler Hall, Room 101
    1020 Oakland Avenue
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-2426
  • Fax: 724-357-2214
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.