Mary Turner DePalma

Mary Turner DePalma

Professor, Department of Psychology
Faculty, School of Humanities and Sciences

Research Team

 Current Projects

The Effects of Judgments of Responsibility for Disease Onset on

Quality of Life in People With Diabetes

Our current projects investigate the impact of judgments of responsibility for diabetes onset and their influence on the quality of life of individuals with diabetes. There are at least two ways that information about perceived responsibility for disease onset might influence individuals who have diabetes.  First, information about disease causality might influence diabetes patients from an interpersonal perspective, or how others perceive them.  For example, Weiner, Perry and Magnussen (1988) found that the perception of responsibility for the onset of a variety of medical conditions (e.g., obesity, drug addiction, AIDS) was associated with more anger and blame, decreased liking, and a reduced magnitude of charitable assistance and helping behavior offered to the target (Weiner et al., 1988).  Second, information about disease causality might influence how diabetes patients perceive themselves.  Our study that applied such an intrapersonal model specifically to the prediction of diabetes self-care behaviors found that perceptions of responsibility for disease onset were significantly related to anger, self-blame and non-supportive social behaviors (DePalma, Rollison, & Camporese, 2011). This study, however, was conducted on a small sample of largely non-Hispanic white participants; thus, the generalizability of this model to other populations remains untested.


American Indian and Alaskan Natives Sample

Our follow-up project was therefore conducted on a sample of 119 American Indian/Native American participants using a paper and pencil version of our survey.


Latino/a sample for Diabetes survey

This project expanded from utilizing regional newspapers to recruit participants to testing the effectiveness of listserves in reaching a larger Latino/a population with diabetes. We were not particularly successful in either of these attempts.  We are currently working through our data using MTurk and looking for a new avenue to obtain a participant pool. Stay tuned - and let us know if you have any ideas!


African-American and Asian-American population sample for Diabetes survey

We are currently in the design stages of looking for new outlets for recruiting both African-American and Asian-American individuals with diabetes. We will explore arenas such as hospital clinics in minority areas as well as predominately minority-populated churches and events.


Counterfactual Communication

This project began by understanding the distinction between counterfactual thinking - and how that influences how someone behaves, and counterfactual communication - which is about how others respond to your counterfactual ideas.  We examine this in the context of understanding how individuals respond to information about disease causality.


Other Projects Upcoming

  • Psychometric properties of internet and standard administration versions of the Just World Scale
  • The effect of mitigating circumstances, outcome magnitude, and individual differences in belief in a just world on judgments of responsibility, anger and blame
  • Using reality TV as a context for studying the effect of outcome magnitude and mitigating circumstances on judgments of responsibility




Student Contact Information: These e-mails may be used to contact current research team members with questions about the team experience!


From our previous team members:

Sarah Levine
"Diabetes is a real issue in our society, but one that is consistently ignored. It is time for this issue to be front and center in the media, in the classroom, and in the research settings."


Lindsey Calabrese
"Ithaca is one of the only colleges in the country that has a three semester undergraduate research component. This is a fantastic opportunity that you cannot get anywhere else. On Professor DePalma's research team we have the added benefit of taking part in community service such as Diabetes walks, which offers a bonding and strengthening component for us as a whole.


Becky Zaremba
"Working with Professor DePalma is an unprecedented learning experience. It is fun and interesting all at the same time. Being on her team has given me skills that will last a lifetime."



Bernard Weiner

His book: Judgments of Responsibility: A Foundation for a Theory of Social Conduct

School of Humanities and Sciences  ·  201 Muller Center  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-3102  ·  Full Directory Listing