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:

05/2018-06/2018    Visiting Professor        Psychology Department, University of Barcelona, Spain

12/2017                          Visiting Professor        Russia, International laboratory for Socio-Cultural Research, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia

2017/05-2017/06    Visiting Professor         Psychology Department, University of Barcelona, Spain

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. & Sanderson, C. (Forthcoming). Social Psychology (2nd Canadian ed.). Toronto: Wiley.

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.

Selected Journal Articles

Berger, R., Safdar, S., Spieß, E., Bekk, M. & Font, A. (2018). Acculturation of Erasmus Students: Using the Multidimensional Individual Difference Acculturation Model Framework, International Journal of Psychology, 1-11. DOI: 10.1002/ijop.12526

Kosakowska-Berezecka, N., Safdar, S., Jurek, P., & Bhardwaj, G. (2018). Evaluations of men in domestic roles in Canada, Norway, Poland, & India. Journal of Men’s Studies, 26(2), 143-156. DOI: 10.1 177/10608265177734379 

Scott, C. & Safdar, S. (2017). Threat and Prejudice against Syrian Refugees in Canada: Assessing the Moderating Effects of Multiculturalism, Interculturalism, and Assimilation. International Journal of Intercultural Relation, 60, 28-39.

Chuong, K.H. & Safdar, S. (2016). (De)Constructing multiculturalism: A discourse analysis of immigration and refugee system in Canadian media. In C. Roland-Levy, P. Denoux, B. Voyer, P. Boski, & W.K. Gabrenya Jr. (Eds.). Unity, diversity and culture: Research and scholarship selected from the 22nd Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (pp. 77-82). Melbourne, Florida USA: International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (ebook). ISBN978-0-9845627-5-6 0-9845627-5-3. Accessed via 

Hekiert, D., Safdar, S., Boski, P., Krys, K., & Lewis, J.R. (2016). Culture display rules of smiling and personal well-being: mutually reinforcing or compensatory phenomena? Polish-Canadian comparisons. In C. Roland-Levy, P. Denoux, B. Voyer, P. Boski, & W.K. Gabrenya Jr. (Eds.). Unity, diversity and culture: Research and scholarship selected from the 22nd Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (pp. 461-464). Melbourne, Florida USA: International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (ebook). ISBN978-0-9845627-5-6 0-9845627-5-3. Accessed via

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. ISSN 2380-8144

Kukaswadie, A., Janssen, I., Pickett, W., Bajwa, J. Georgiades, K., Lalonde, R.N., Quon, E.C., Safdar, S., & Pike, I. (2016). Development and validation of the bicultural youth acculturation questionnaire. PLOS/One. 1-16. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161048

Litchmore, V.H. & Safdar, S. (2016). The meanings of Hijab: Views of Canadian Muslim women. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 19. 198-208. DOI: 10.1111/ajsp.12141

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. Available at:

Litchmore, V.H. & Safdar, S. (2015). Perceptions of discrimination as a marker of integration among Muslim-Canadians: The role of religiosity, ethnic identity, and gender. International Migration & Integration, 16, 187-204. DOI 10.1007/s12134-014-0337-5. 

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


Selected Chapters

Kashima, E., & Safdar, S., (In Press). Intercultural Relationships, Migration, and Intersection of Identities. In F.M. Cheung and D.F. Halpern (Editors). The Cambridge International Handbook on Psychology of Women.

Safdar, S. & van de Vijver, F. (2019). The application of acculturation research (3-22; Chapter 1). In K. O’Doherty & D. Hodgetts (Editors). Handbook of Applied Social Psychology. London, U.K. Sage Publication Ltd.

Safdar, S., Gui, Y., Annis, R., Gibson, R., & Berry, J.W. (2017). Intercultural Relations in Canada (353-374). In J.W. Berry (Editor). Mutual Intercultural Relations in Plural Societies (MIRIPS). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
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 (173-196; Chapter 10). In D.L. Sam & J.W. Berry (Editors). The Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology (2nd edition). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

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.

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. 

2019 TEDx Talk, University of Guelph, There Is No Them, There is Only Us: Immigration & Multiculturalism 

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