McKendree Alumna and Psychology Professor Co-Publish Research

Behavioral Sciences Journal to Publish Study of Mental Illness and Exploitation

(LEBANON, Ill., December 18, 2019) — A McKendree University alumna and a faculty member have had an article entitled “Perceptions of People with Mental Illness as Sexually Exploitable” accepted for publication in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, which is a peer-reviewed publication of the American Psychological Association. The journal “publishes manuscripts that advance the study of human behavior from an evolutionary perspective.”

Raina Isaacs, who graduated from McKendree in 2019 with a degree in psychology, conducted the research and co-wrote the article with Dr. Guy A. Boysen, professor of psychology. The project documented people’s tendency to see individuals with mental illness as exploitable. Specifically, participants in the study viewed mental illness as a cue that a person could be manipulated into a short-term sexual relationship. The results were consistent with evolutionary theory, stigma toward mental illness, and increased rates of sexual victimization among people with mental illness.

It is the third peer-reviewed publication for Isaacs. She previously published research with Dr. Boysen on dehumanization in The Journal of Social Psychology and on the effectiveness of trigger warnings in the journal Teaching of Psychology. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at Illinois State University.