Recent Ph.D. grad sweeps dissertation awards with recognition on three levels

John CrowleyUPDATE: In addition to the Faculty Award for Outstanding Completed Research from the UW Department of Communication and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the NCA, John Crowley has now won the Interpersonal Division Dissertation Award from the International Communication Association (ICA).

“It illustrates how basic theoretical work on interpersonal communication can be applied to important areas of social concern,” Professor Mac Parks said.

Congratulations again to John Crowley for the recognition on a department, national, and international level!


John Crowley (Ph.D., 2012) won the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division of the National Communication Association (NCA). His dissertation is titled “Expressive Writing to Cope with Hate Speech: Assessing Psychobiological Stress Recovery and Forgiveness Promotion for LGBQ Victims of Hate Speech.”

“I think an important conclusion is that a simple 15-minute writing intervention can help LGBQ recipients of hate speech reduce stress levels associated with hate speech and find forgiveness for their offenders,” Crowley said.

Crowley said he found an interesting relationship between the manner in which participants wrote and their psychological outcomes.

“The findings suggest that the more emotion-related words (e.g., angry, sad, etc.) participants wrote helped them reduce stress levels,” Crowley said, “whereas the more cognitive words predicted increased forgiveness. Cognitive words are words that suggest active thinking and the construction of coherent narratives about life experiences.”

Crowley received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire and his M.A. from San Diego State University before coming to the University of Washington, with all degrees focused in communication. He wants to continue conducting research that focuses on issues of social justice.

“Specifically, I want to investigate ways to help marginalized communities cope with the harmful effects of discrimination,” Crowley said, “and my dissertation research is a step in that direction and there are many questions still to ask.”

Crowley sends a special thanks to his committee members Valerie Manusov, Jane Simoni, and Patricia Betrus. He also said his dissertation would not have been possible without the close mentorship of his advisor Malcolm (Mac) Parks.

“Mac pushes his students to ask questions that have social significance and to investigate them in a methodologically rigorous manner,” Crowley said.

Crowley added that he is honored to receive this prestigious award, especially among all the Ph.D. students that are conducting high quality interpersonal communication research.

“To have my dissertation recognized in this way is a real honor,” he said.