The Meaning, Spirituality, and Health Lab at the University of Connecticut

With my advisor, Dr. Crystal Park, I study how our belief systems change over time at the individual level, and how our fundamental beliefs affect health and behavior. How do traumatic and stressful events affect the way we make sense of the world around us? Do our beliefs weather the trials and travails of life, or are our worldviews constantly changing? These are the questions that drive my research.

Prior to working with Dr. Park at UConn, I assisted Dr. Jacqueline Mattis with her research on religion and spirituality in African-American communities.


Gutierrez, I. A., Hale, A. E., & Park, C. L. (in press). Life-changing religious and spiritual experiences: A cross-faith comparison in the United States. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Gutierrez, I. A., Park, C. L., & Wright, B. R. E. (in press). When the divine defaults: Religious struggle mediates the impact of financial stressors on psychological distress. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Cooney, J. L., Cooper, S., Grant, C., Sevarino, K., Krishnan-Sarin, S., Gutierrez, I. A., & Cooney, N. L. (2016). A randomized trial of contingency management for smoking cessation during intensive outpatient alcohol treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1016/j.sat.2016.07.002

Park, C. L., Riley, K. E., George, L. S., Gutierrez, I. A., Hale, A. E., Cho, D., & Braun, T. D. (2016). Assessing disruptions in meaning: Development of the Global Meaning Violation Scale. Cognitive Therapy and Research. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1007/s10608-016-9794-9

Groessl, E. J., Maiya, M., Elwy, A. R., Riley, K. E., Sarkin, A. J., Eisen, S. V., Braun, T., Gutierrez, I., Kidane, L., & Park, C. L. (2015). The Essential Properties of Yoga Questionnaire: Development and methods. International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 25(1), 51-59. DOI: 10.17761/1531-2054-25.1.51

Gutierrez, I. A., & Park, C. L. (2015). Emerging adulthood, evolving worldviews: How life events impact college students’ developing belief systemsEmerging Adulthood, 3(2), 85-97. DOI: 10.1177/2167696814544501

Gutierrez, I. A., Goodwin, L. J., Kirkinis, K., & Mattis, J. S. (2014). Religious socialization in African American families: The relative influence of parents, grandparents, and siblings. Journal of Family Psychology,  28(6), 779-789. DOI: 10.1037/a0035732

Gutierrez, I. A., & Mattis, J. S. (2014). Factors predicting volunteerism among urban-residing African American womenJournal of Black Studies, 45(7), 599-619. DOI: 10.1177/0021934714543189

Park, C. L., & Gutierrez, I. A. (2013). Global and situational meaning in the context of trauma: Relations with psychological well-beingCounselling Psychology Quarterly, 26(1), 8-25. DOI: 10.1080/09515070.2012.727547

Selected Presentations

Gutierrez, I. A., & Park, C. L. (2015). Experimental investigation of belief change after media exposure to the 2013 Boston Marathon attacks. In C. L. Park (Chair), Innovative approaches to examine links between trauma and current religiousness/spirituality. Symposium presented at the Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, August 6-9.

Gutierrez, I. A., Park, C. L., & Wright, B. R. E. (2015). Rendered unto Caesar: Exploring relationships between financial hardship, daily stress, and spiritual struggle. Poster presented at the Inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, March 12-14.

Gutierrez, I. A., Hale, A., & Park, C. L. (2014). Impression management and religious experience: A comparison of seven world religions. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association, Division 36, Washington, DC, August 7-10.

Gutierrez, I. A., & Park, C. L. (2013). The impact of life events on changes in college students’ world assumptions. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Association for Psychological Science, Washington, DC, May 23-26.

Gutierrez, I. A., Mattis, J., & Woodsmall, J. (2012). Exploring predictive factors of volunteer participation among African American women. Poster presented at the Conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, APA Division 45, Ann Arbor, MI, May 24-26.