Our Stories – UConn Faculty: Ronald P. Rohner, Professor Emeritus

UConn has been a target in the recent budget crisis and has experienced a continual decline of state support over the years. Thus, it is vital that the public at-large and members of the state legislature are made aware of the important work UConn faculty do everyday. This work contributes not only to the university in teaching, research, and service but also the state, nation, and world.

UConn-AAUP is launching this opportunity to raise public consciousness by telling faculty stories about the critical role that UConn faculty play here in Connecticut and around the country. Our goal is to release faculty stories via social media and news outlets throughout the next legislative session in Feb. 2018 and through the 2018 elections.

Here is our very first one… Professor Emeritus Ron Rohner is the author of the interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory. Check out the note below and his fun Tedx talk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ePXxeGrfvQ

If you are interested in doing a faculty profile, email Chris Henderson at chenderson@uconnaaup.org 

UConn Faculty Member: Ronald P. Rohner, Professor Emeritus and Director of Rohner Center for the Study of Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection, Human Development & Family Studies Department
How long have you been at UConn: 54 years
In a few words, tell us what you do and what are your areas of expertise?
I am an international psychologist, and author of interpersonal acceptance-rejection theory and associated measures (in 55 languages and dialects worldwide). I study the pancultural effects, causes, and other correlates of interpersonal acceptance and rejection, especially parental acceptance and rejection.
What inspires you to come to UConn everyday?
I work with several hundred researchers, students, clinicians, and other practitioners and professionals globally. These people seek information, advice, and occasionally mentoring on issues surrounding the consequences, causes, and other correlates of interpersonal acceptance-rejection. These requests come from all parts of the world where our nighttime is their workday, and our American weekend and holidays mean nothing to them. In order to keep up with the resulting workload I often work 6 or 7 days a week responding to these needs.
In a typical week, what kinds of activities do you usually engage in?
Much of my time is spent authoring and co-authoring articles and new measures, and editing other manuscripts submitted to me. I mentor many students and colleagues around the world, advising them on research questions that they wish to pursue. I am also Executive Director of the International Society for Interpersonal Acceptance and Rejection, and Editor of the Society newsletter. I supervise projects as major research adviser for graduate students. I enjoy giving interviews to various media about the work we do. Occasionally I am asked to travel to other countries to present lectures and teach about interpersonal acceptance and rejection.
Give us an example of your most notable scholarly or creative work.
For nearly sixty years I have explored the fascinating topic of interpersonal acceptance and rejection. I retired from active teaching 22 years ago to pursue what I feel my life’s mission to be–advancing knowledge about universals in human behavior insofar as they pertain to issues of interpersonal acceptance-rejection. Future directions of our research path include projects on affective coping, forgiveness, and loneliness. Along with hundreds of colleagues and students around the world we have produced a body of knowledge that benefits humanity in specific ways. See below for “Research that Makes a Difference” for details. Work in the Rohner Center goes on all week throughout the year.
What would you like your colleagues, the legislature, and the public to know about the work you do?
My commitment to service is obvious from the fact that I am unpaid for any of the work that I do–I am a full-time volunteer.
Ron generously provided us with some examples of the important work he has done that demonstrates his passion and service to ideas he has spent a lifetime researching.
National and International Applications of Rohner’s Interpersonal Acceptance-Rejection Theory (IPARTheory) and Associated Measures Topic
1. Use of Rohner’s IPARTheory and associated measures for assessment, intervention, treatment, and evaluation (including custody evaluation) of children and parents involved in parental alienation and estrangement. Countries involved: Bangladesh, Canada, Italy, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Turkey, U.S.A., and others. In conjunction with this work, Rohner also serves as an Advisory Board Member for educational programs for the judiciary and families in four counties in Texas. The program is “Resetting the Family: An Educational Program for Parents and Children in Conflict”.
2. Use of Rohner’s IPARTheory and associated measures with parents’ (mothers’ and fathers’) acceptance-rejection of children in Indonesia who have mosaic sex chromosome and atypical or ambiguous genitalia.
3. Research and clinical interventions using IPARTheory and measures among LGBT youth experiencing parental rejection. Countries involved: Germany, Israel, Pakistan, U.S.A., and elsewhere.
4. Application of IPARTheory and measures to street children in Burundi, Africa. The objective here is to identify potential family-related risks motivating children to go to the streets, and prevent children from going to the streets.
5. Use of Rohner’s IPARTheory and associated measures to determine adults’ affective coping with remembered parental rejection in childhood. Countries involved: Australia, Canada, Greece, Israel, Turkey, U.K., U.S.A., and elsewhere.
6. Parental rejection, vulnerability factors, and psychological adjustment of children and adolescents at psychological risk (research sponsored by Spanish government). Co-investigators Miguel Carrasco and Pablo Holgado at UNED.
7. Application of IPARTheory and measures in clinical settings. Countries involved: Bangladesh, Korea, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, U.K., U.S.A., and others.
How can we learn more about your work?