Centre for Cross Cultural Research

About Prof. Safdar

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Prof. Saba Safdar

Area: Applied Social Psychology
Email: ssafdar@uoguelph.ca
Phone: 519-824-4120 x53520
Fax: 519-837-8629
Office/Building: Mackinnon Extension
Room: 4016

Research Interests

My research interests lie broadly within the area of cross-cultural psychology and focuses on sociopsychological issues surrounding migration and intergroup relations and involves both local and global communities. Therefore, I work closely with community groups, service providers, and ethno-cultural organizations in Canada and outside and collaborate with international colleagues. To date, my work has primarily examined a wide range of factors that could help to understand adaptation processes of immigrants and international students, including studying resilience, acculturation strategies, and ethnic and national identity. I have a commitment both to the theoretical and the applied aspects of cross-cultural psychology. An essential characteristic of my research activities, as a cross-cultural psychologist, is that studies are conducted across cultures or across different ethnic groups within a culture. 

In a series of studies using samples from Canada and elsewhere, I have developed a theoretical framework, the Multidimensional Individual Differences Acculturation (MIDA) model. Building on the original study (Safdar, Lay, & Struthers,  2003), I subsequently tested the MIDA model in three countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands (Safdar, Struthers,  & van Oudenhoven, 2009) and in Canada with rural and urban Eastern European samples (Safdar, Rasmi, Dupuis, & Lewis, 2009). The  examination of the model across culture and within Canadian society has continued with Indian and Russian immigrants in Canada (Safdar,  Calvez, & Lewis, 2012), as well as an examination of the model using longitudinal data (Rasmi, Safdar, & Lewis, 2009) and with international students (Berger, Safdar, Spieß, Bekk, & Font, 2018) has led to it being an increasingly recognised contribution to the literature on acculturation. I have also written a review paper comparing the MIDA model with other contemporary acculturation models (Safdar, Chuong, & Lewis, 2012) and have examined the application of acculturation research including acculturation models (Safdar & van de Vijver, 2019).

In addition, I am interested in studying the psychological meanings of clothing amongst immigrant groups (Safdar, Goh, & Choubak, 2020) and gender stereotypes across cultures (Kosakowska-Berezecka, Safdar, Jurek, & Bhardwaj, 2018) and across ethnic and religious groups (Litchmore & Safdar, 2016).


The goals that have shaped my teaching philosophy are: 
(1) Motivating students to understand and analyze what they are learning and to seek information. This approach is intended to help students to become actively aware of their own learning processes and to accept responsibility for their efforts and results. 
(2) Being flexible, experimenting, taking calculated risks, and being creative in my teaching. I have come to believe that good teaching includes not having too rigid an agenda but being able to deviate from the course syllabus or lecture plan in order to augment students’ learning and enrich the overall learning experience. 

The contrasts between these courses are noteworthy in several respects. For example, they varied substantially in terms of the class size, ranging from small (3 students), to medium (50-100 students), and large (300-500 students) classes. I also teach students, both psychology and non-psychology majors, at different levels. This necessitated adapting to the intellectual variety of course content, and to the students’ previous learning. Clearly such a diverse body of students provides challenges, requiring flexibility in teaching methods and in evaluating students’ performance, in class assignments, and in lecture organization.  

At the undergraduate level, I have taught Applied Social Psychology, Psychology of Gender, Introduction to Social Psychology, and Cross-Cultural Psychology and at the graduate level, I have taught Applied Social Psychology, Culture, and Community. 

As part of my commitment to teaching, in 2011, I accepted an invitation from an Acquisitions Editor of Wiley Canada to co-author a social psychology textbook and adapt it for Canadian students. The textbook has been used in several post-secondary institutions in Canada and has received supportive reviews from colleagues and positive evaluations from students. The second edition is expected to be out in 2020 (Safdar, & Sanderson, in press). In 2019, I was invited by Associate Editor of Higher Education Division of Oxford University Press to co-author a cross-cultural psychology textbook (titled, Cross-Cultural Psychology: Understanding Our Diverse Communities) and adapt it for Canadian students. The textbook is scheduled to be published in 2021 (Mio, Safdar, Barker, & Tumambing, forthcoming).

Additionally, I have taught at various universities outside of Canada, including University of New Dehli and Banaras Hindu University in India, University of Gdansk in Poland, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan, and University of Barcelona in Spain. 


2002Ph.D. Social Psychology/ York University
1998M.A. Social Psychology/ York University
1996B.A. Honours Psychology/ McMaster University

Academic Positions

I have held academic positions (majority fully funded) at universities outside of Canada. Below is a list of these position since 2010:

2019/05Visiting ProfessorPsychology Department, University of Barcelona, Spain
2018/05 – 2018/06Visiting ProfessorPsychology Department, University of Barcelona, Spain
2017/12Visiting ProfessorInternational laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
2016/04 – 2016/07Visiting ProfessorDepartment of Philosophy & Educational Science, University of Valencia, Spain
2016/01 – 2016/03Visiting ProfessorPsychology Department, University of Barcelona, Spain
2015/09 – 2015/12Visiting ProfessorPsychology Department, San Francisco State University, U.S.A.
2013/05 & 2014/05Visiting ProfessorPsychology Department, Al Frabi, Kazak National University, Almaty, Kazakhstan
2012/04 – 2012/05Visiting ScholarPsychology Department, Banaras Hindu University & University of New Dehli, India
Scholarly Honours
2020 – 2022Canadian Delegate at the International Union of Psychological Science General Assembly (IUPsyS)
2019TEDX Talk, University of Guelph, There Is No Them, There is Only Us: Immigration & Multiculturalism
2018Fellow, International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP)
2012TEDX Talk, University of Guelph, Everything you always wanted to know about culture but were afraid to ask. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaOJ71czAGQ
2007Fellow, International Academy for Intercultural Relations (IAIR)

Selected Publications

*Only publications since 2010 are listed.

Books Authored

Safdar, S. & Sanderson, C. (in press). Social Psychology (2nd Canadian ed.). Toronto: Wiley.

Sanderson, C. & Safdar, S. (2012). Social Psychology (1st Canadian ed.). Toronto: Wiley.

Books Edited

Safdar, S. & Kosakowska-Berezecka, N. (Editors, 2015). Psychology of Gender Through the Lens of Culture, Theories and Applications.  New York: Springer Publisher.

Papers in Refereed Journals and Proceedings

Hosseininezhad, S., Safdar, S., & Nguyen Luu, L.A. (in press). In a Marathon, Iranians Start at 300 Meters Behind the Starting Line: Psychosocial Adaptation Trajectory of Iranian International Students in Hungary. Journal of International Students.

Jassi, A. & Safdar, S. (in press). The inclusion of immigrants in Canada: An examination of social markers of acceptance. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science.

Vaswani, M., Safdar, S., Newby-Clark, I., & Giguere, B. (2021) Canadian identity attenuates the negative impact of familial rejection on psychological distress. Journal of Intercultural Relations, 81, 142-153.

Choubak, M. & Safdar, S. (2020). The elephant in the room: The often neglected relevance of speciesism in bias towards ethnic minorities and immigrants. In S. Safdar, C. Kwantes, & W. Friedlmeier (Eds.), Wiser world with multiculturalism: Proceedings from the 24th Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. https://scholarworks.gvsu.edu/iaccp_papers/278

Kosakowska-Berezecka, N., Besta, T., Bosson, J., Jurek, P., Vandello, J., Best, D.L., Wlodrczyk, A., Safdar, S., & 80 more authors (2020). Country-level and Individual-level Predictors of Men’s Support for Gender Equality in 42 Countries. European Journal of Social Psychology. 00; 1-16. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.2696

Leong, C-H.,  Komisarof, A., Dandy, J., Jasinskaja, I. & Safdar, S., Hanke, K., & Teng, E.  (2020). What does it take to become “one of us?” Redefining ethnic-civic citizenship using markers of everyday nationhood. International Journal of Intercultural Relations (Special Issue), 10-19. The article also featured in the Global Governance Programme (GlobalCit Network), European University Institute, Florence. https://globalcit.eu/category/citizenship-literature/

Safdar, S., Goh, K. & Choubak, M. (2020). Clothing, Identity and Acculturation: The Significance of Immigrants’ Clothing Choices. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 52(1), 36-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cbs0000160  

Hu, S., Safdar, S., Zhou, Z., & Chi, M. (2020). Managing cultural identity changes in cross-cultural environment: An empirical investigation of international students in China. Education as Change, Vol. 24. ISSN 1947-9417 (Online) 1682-3206 (Print).

Hosseini-Nezhad, S., Safdar, S., & Nguyen Luu, L.A. (2019). Longing for independence, yet depending on family support: A Qualitative analysis of psychosocial adaptation of Iranian international students in Hungary. International Journal of Higher Education, 8 (4). DOI: 10.5430/ijhe.v8n4p164

Berger, R., Safdar, S., Spieß, E., Bekk, M. & Font, A. (2018). Acculturation of Erasmus Students: Using the Multidimensional Individual Difference Acculturation Model Framework. International Journal of Psychology, 1-11. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12526

Kosakowska-Berezecka, N., Safdar, S., Jurek, P., & Bhardwaj, G. (2018). Evaluations of men in domestic roles in Canada, Norway, Poland, & India. Journal of Men’s Studies, 26(2), 143-156. DOI: 10.1 177/10608265177734379

Scott, C. & Safdar, S. (2017). Threat and Prejudice against Syrian Refugees in Canada: Assessing the Moderating Effects of Multiculturalism, Interculturalism, and Assimilation. International Journal of Intercultural Relation, 60, 28-

Chuong, K.H. & Safdar, S. (2016). (De)Constructing multiculturalism: A discourse analysis of immigration and refugee system in Canadian media. In C. Roland-Levy, P. Denoux, B. Voyer, P. Boski, & W.K. Gabrenya Jr. (Eds.). Unity, diversity and culture: Research and scholarship selected from the 22nd Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (pp. 77-82). Melbourne, Florida USA: International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (ebook). ISBN978-0-9845627-5-6 0-9845627-5-3. Accessed via www.iaccp.org

Hekiert, D., Safdar, S., Boski, P., Krys, K., & Lewis, J.R. (2016). Culture display rules of smiling and personal well-being: mutually reinforcing or compensatory phenomena? Polish-Canadian comparisons. In C. Roland-Levy, P. Denoux, B. Voyer, P. Boski, & W.K. Gabrenya Jr. (Eds.). Unity, diversity and culture: Research and scholarship selected from the 22nd Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (pp. 461-464). Melbourne, Florida USA: International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (ebook). ISBN978-0-9845627-5-6 0-9845627-5-3. Accessed via www.iaccp.org

Gui, Y., Safdar, S., & Berry, J. (2016). Mutual intercultural relations among university students in Canada. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, XXVII,17-32. ISSN 2380-8144

Kukaswadie, A., Janssen, I., Pickett, W., Bajwa, J. Georgiades, K., Lalonde, R.N., Quon, E.C., Safdar, S., & Pike, I. (2016). Development and validation of the bicultural youth acculturation questionnaire. PLOS/One. 1-16. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161048

Litchmore, V.H. & Safdar, S. (2016). The meanings of Hijab: Views of Canadian Muslim women. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 19. 198-208. DOI: 10.1111/ajsp.12141

Scott, C. & Safdar, S. (2016). The inclusion of culture in Canadian social psychology textbooks: A content analysis of introductory texts. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture,11(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1141.

Litchmore, R., Safdar, S., & O’Doherty, K. (2015). Ethnic and racial self-identifications of second generation Canadians of African and Caribbean heritage: An analysis of discourse. Journal of Black Psychology, 1-34. DOI: 10.1177/0095798414568454

Scott, C., Safdar, S., Desai Trilokekar, R., & El Masri, A. (2015). International Students as ‘Ideal Immigrants’ in Canada: A disconnect between policy makers’ assumptions and the lived experiences of international students. Comparative and International Education. Vol. 43(3), Article 5. Available at: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cie-eci/vol43/iss3/5

Litchmore, V.H. & Safdar, S. (2015). Perceptions of discrimination as a marker of integration among Muslim-Canadians: The role of religiosity, ethnic identity, and gender. International Migration & Integration, 16, 187-204. DOI 10.1007/s12134-014-0337-5.

Safdar, S., Calvez, S., & Lewis, J.R. (2012). Multi-group analysis of the MIDA model: acculturation of Indian and Russian immigrants in Canada. International Journal of Intercultural Relation, 36(2). 200-212.

Rasmi, S., Chuang, S. & Safdar, S. (2012). The relationship between perceived parental rejection and adjustment for Arab, Canadian, and Arab Canadian youth. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43, 84-90. Doi: 10.1177/0022022111428172

Safdar, S., & Dupuis, D. (2011). Review of D. Matsumoto & F. van de Vijver ‘s “Cross-cultural research methods in psychology.” Journal of Canadian Psychology, 52(4), 325-326. Doi: 10.1037/a0025496

Brisset, C., Safdar, S., Lewis, J.R., & Sabatier, C. (2010). Psychological and sociocultural adaptation of university students in France, the case of Vietnamese international students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 34(4), 413-426.

Dupuis, D.R. & Safdar, S. (2010). Terror management and acculturation: do thoughts of death affect the acculturation attitudes of receiving society members. International Journal of Intercultural Relations. 34(5), 436-451.

Chapters in Books

Hosseini-Nezhad, S., Safdar, S., Hosseini-Nezhad, P., Nguyen Luu, L.A. (in press). Psychological Perspectives on Covid-19. In N. Faghih and A. Forouharfar (Editors). Comprehensive Global Studies of COVID-19 Aftermath: Multidisciplinary Studies of the Consequences and Repercussions. Springer. 

Kashima, E., & Safdar, S. (2020). Intercultural Relationships, Migration, and Intersection of Identities (434-447; Chapter 30). In F.M. Cheung and D.F. Halpern (Editors). The Cambridge Handbook of the International Psychology of Women. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. 

Safdar, S. & van de Vijver, F. (2019). The application of acculturation research (3-22; Chapter 1). In K. O’Doherty & D. Hodgetts (Editors). Handbook of Applied Social Psychology. London, U.K. Sage Publication Ltd.

Safdar, S., Gui, Y., Annis, R., Gibson, R., & Berry, J.W. (2017). Intercultural Relations in Canada (353-374). In J.W. Berry (Editor). Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies (MIRIPS). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

Litchmore, R. & Safdar, S. (2016). Young, female, Canadian and Muslim: Identity negotiation and transcultural experience. In C.H. Mayer & S. Wolting (Editors). Purple Jacaranda: Narrations on Transcultural Identity Development (59-67). Munster, Germany: Waxmann Publishers.

Safdar, S. & Berno, T. (2016). Sojourners: The experience of expatriates, students, and tourists (173-196; Chapter 10). In D.L. Sam & J.W. Berry (Editors). The Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Safdar, S., Choung, K., & Lewis, J.R. (2013). A review of the MIDA model and other contemporary acculturation models (213-230). In E. Tartakovsky (Ed.), Immigration: policies, challenges and impact. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publisher.