Saba Safdar

Applied Social Psychology
519-824-4120 x53520
Mackinnon Extension

Accepting Graduate Students: 
Accepting New Experiential Learning Students: 

My research interests lie broadly within the area of cross-cultural psychology. To date, my work has primarily examined a wide range of factors that could help to understand adaptation processes of immigrants and international students, including studying resilience, acculturation strategies, and ethnic and national identity. I have a commitment both to the theoretical and the applied aspects of cross-cultural psychology. An essential characteristic of my research activities, as a cross-cultural psychologist, is that studies are conducted across cultures or across different ethnic groups within a culture. 

Further information about my research and graduate students please see Centre for Cross-Cultural Research website.


I have held academic positions in various universities outside of Canada, including:

2016/04-2016/07    Visiting Professor    Department of Philosophy & Educational Science, University of Valencia, Spain
2016/01-2016/03    Visiting Professor    Psychology Department, University of Barcelona, Spain
2015/09-2015/12    Visiting Professor    Psychology Department, San Francisco State University, U.S.A.
2012/04-2012/05    Visiting Scholar       Psychology Department, Banaras Hindu University & University of New Dehli, India 
2009/01-2009/06    Visiting Professor    Psychology Department, University of Bordeaux, France
2008/09-2008/12    Visiting Scholar       School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, U.K.



2002    PH.D.    Social Psychology/ York University    
1998    M.A.    Social Psychology/ York University    
1996    B.A. Honours    Psychology/ McMaster University    



My primary research interests relate to the adaptation of immigrants and international students and I have examined psychosocial factors that could help toward a better understanding of newcomers’ adaptation processes. In a series of studies using samples from Canada and elsewhere, I have developed a theoretical framework, the Multidimensional Individual Differences Acculturation (MIDA) model. Building on the original study (Safdar, Lay, & Struthers, 2003), I subsequently tested the MIDA model in three countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands (Safdar, Struthers, & van Oudenhoven, 2009) and in Canada with rural and urban Eastern European samples (Safdar, Rasmi, Dupuis, & Lewis, 2009). The examination of the model across culture and within Canadian society has continued with Indian and Russian immigrants in Canada (Safdar, Calvez, & Lewis, 2012), as well as an examination of the model using longitudinal data (Rasmi, Safdar, & Lewis, 2009) and has led to it being an increasingly recognised contribution to the literature on acculturation. I have also written a review paper comparing the MIDA model with other contemporary acculturation models (Safdar, Chuong, & Lewis, 2012). 

In addition, I am interested in studying the psychological meanings of clothing across cultures. In my recent works, I have examined the relation between clothing, ethnic identity, and acculturation. 


Selected Publications

Only selected publication since 2012 is included.


Safdar, S. & Kosakowska, N. (Editors, 2015). Gender Through the Lens of Culture: Theories and Applications.  New York: Springer Publisher.

Sanderson, C., & Safdar, S. (2012). Social Psychology (1st Canadian ed.). Toronto: Wiley.

Journal Articles and Chapters

Chuong, K.H. & Safdar, S. (in press). (De)Constructing multiculturalism: A discourse analysis of immigration and refugee system in Canadian media. International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Congress Proceeding.

Hekiert, D., Safdar, S., Boski, P., Krys, K., & Lewis, J.R. (in press). Culture display rules of smiling and personal well-being: mutually reinforcing or compensatory phenomena? Polish-Canadian comparisons. International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, Congress Proceeding.

Litchmore, V.H. & Safdar, S. (in press). The meanings of Hijab: Views of Canadian Muslim women. Asian Journal of Social Psychology

Litchmore, R. & Safdar, S. (2016). Young, female, Canadian and Muslim: Identity negotiation and transcultural experience. In C.H. Mayer & S. Wolting (Editors). Purple Jacaranda: Narrations on Transcultural Identity Development (59-67). Munster, Germany: Waxmann Publishers.

Safdar, S. & Berno, T. (2016). Sojourners: The experience of expatriates, students, and tourists (Chapter 10). In D.L. Sam & J.W. Berry (Editors). The Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (expected publication date: 2016

Gui, Y., Safdar, S., & Berry, J. (2016). Mutual intercultural relations among university students in Canada. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, XXVII, 17-32.

Scott, C., & Safdar, S. (2016). The Inclusion of Culture in Canadian Social Psychology Textbooks: A Content Analysis of Introductory Texts. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 11(1). 

Litchmore, R., Safdar, S., & O’Doherty, K. (2015). Ethnic and racial self-identifications of second generation Canadians of African and Caribbean heritage: An analysis of discourse. Journal of Black Psychology, 1-34. DOI: 10.1177/0095798414568454

Scott, C., Safdar, S., Desai Trilokekar, R., & El Masri, A. (2015). International Students as ‘Ideal Immigrants’ in Canada: A disconnect between policy makers’ assumptions and the lived experiences of international students. Comparative and International Education. Vol. 43(3), Article 5.

Litchmore, V.H. & Safdar, S. (2014). Perceptions of discrimination as a marker of integration among Muslim-Canadians: The role of religiosity, ethnic identity, and gender. International Migration & Integration. DOI 10.1007/s12134-014-0337-5

Safdar, S., Choung, K., & Lewis, J.R. (2013). A review of the MIDA model and other contemporary acculturation models (213-230). In E. Tartakovsky (Ed.), Immigration: policies, challenges and impact. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publisher.

Safdar, S., Calvez, S., & Lewis, J.R. (2012). Multi-group analysis of the MIDA model: acculturation of Indian and Russian immigrants in Canada. International Journal of Intercultural Relation, 36(2). 200-212.

Rasmi, S., Chuang, S., & Safdar, S. (2012). The relationship between perceived parental rejection and adjustment for Arab, Canadian, and Arab Canadian youth. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 43, 84-90. Doi: 10.1177/0022022111428172

I teach both undergraduate and graduate courses. At the undergraduate level, I have taught Applied Social Psychology, Psychology of Gender, Introduction to Social Psychology, Cross-Cultural Psychology and at the graduate level, I have taught Applied Social Psychology, Culture, & Community. 

The unifying goal of my approach, whether teaching small or large classes, is to facilitate students’ successful learning in a flexible climate that is safe and supportive, while taking into consideration the diversity of students’ learning preferences.

Additionally, I have taught at various universities outside of Canada, including University of New Dehli and Banaras Hindu University in India, University of Gdansk in Poland, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University in Kazakhstan, and University of Barcelona in Spain. 

2012 TEDX Talk, University of Guelph, Everything you always wanted to know about culture but were afraid to ask.