chapter  1
24 Pages

International Psychology: An Overview

ByMichael J. Stevens, Danny Wedding

In this chapter, we introduce the specialty of international psychology. We begin by defining international psychology and distinguishing it from cross-cultural psychology and ethnic studies. We then examine two sources for the emergence and growth of international psychology: economic and political change and the limited utility of Western psychology as applied to complex and contextual global issues. We also survey five global concerns of contemporary significance that have given impetus to international psychology: intergroup conflict, societal transformation and national development, threats to the natural environment, physical and mental health needs, and the struggles of disempowered groups. Next, we describe the mission and activities of scientific and professional organizations that represent international psychology and the interface between international psychology and policy-making entities, specifically, the United Nations and World Health

Organization. We then address the future of international psychology, particularly trends toward greater unity and curriculum development. We conclude by linking our overview of international psychology to the objectives and foci of the Handbook of International Psychology.