31 researchers earn $2.7 million in SSHRC grants

June 23, 2005, vol. 33, no. 5
By Marianne Meadahl



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Thirty-one researchers at SFU will share $2.7 million in Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) funds as recently named recipients of 2005 standard research grants.

The funds are the latest to support research at SFU in a wide range of social, economic, cultural and historical projects.

SSHRC has announced a total of $81.6 million to fund 981 research projects at 77 Canadian universities and colleges.

SFU projects include the Transition to Marriage project ($106,500), led by SFU psychologist Rebecca Cobb, who will follow 150 couples from pre-marriage through their first two years as newlyweds. The data provided by the couples will help improve understanding of how empathy, support, and forgiveness enable couples to better negotiate the difficult early years of their marriage.

“Although psychologists are beginning to understand how negative communication, conflict, and aggression play a role in the deterioration of relationships, there is less understanding of how positive relationship processes may prevent the erosion of marital satisfaction,” says Cobb.

Psychology professor Robert Menzies' study ($105,181) will chart the organizational and cultural history of the Colquitz Mental Home, an institution for criminally insane and dangerous male psychiatric inmates located in Saanich on Vancouver Island, from its founding in 1919 through to its closure in 1964. The research focuses on changing medical, legal and public images of mental disorder, crime and violence during a pivotal era in B.C. history. It chronicles the lives and experiences of the men who inhabited Colquitz as both patients and employees.

Menzies' study forms part of a wider collaborative project on the history of madness in Canada, which he has been pursuing since the early 1990s with colleagues across the country, and will be continuing, as the J.S. Woodsworth resident scholar in the humanities, starting in September.

Other research projects cover a wide range of disciplines, focusing on everything from business strategy, such as business professor Leyland Pitt's research on identifying the paths products can take in markets, to archaeology, including Dongya Yang's (above) study of ancient DNA research on early salmon fishing and whale hunting on the west coast of Canada.

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