PhD, York University, (1996)
MA, York University, (1990)
BA, York University, (1989)
BA, York University, (1986)
University of Toronto
Centre for Addictions and Mental Health
Career Focus: Women’s mental health; marital violence and domestic abuse; psychology of women; gender socialization.
Noreen Stuckless has had a unique academic journey; unlike many of her colleagues, her scholarly trajectory did not begin until she was already immersed in a career as a school teacher, marriage, and motherhood. Born July 8, 1940 in Toronto, Ontario, Stuckless was in her mid-30s when she made the decision to enroll as a part-time psychology student at York University, the school which ultimately unlocked many opportunities and awakened new perspectives that facilitated her association with feminism.
Coming from a very modest educational background, Stuckless’ parents worked hard to instil the value of education in her and her seven younger siblings. Some of her fondest childhood memories include her mother teaching her simple words as well as trips with her father to the local library, experiences which influenced her passion for reading and learning as a young woman. Unfortunately, Stuckless’ high school environment was not one that promoted academic growth in its female students. Guidance counsellors at her secondary school often suggested that female students pursue nursing, teaching, or retail as career options. Although Stuckless had always envisioned continuing her education at university, financial difficulties instigated by her father’s sudden job loss influenced her decision to enroll in teacher’s college instead. She went on to enjoy many years as an elementary school teacher and subsequently as an supply teacher dispatcher, after she married her husband Wally and had the first of her three daughters.
In addition to working from home and raising her girls, Stuckless found the time to join a women’s reading group whose members were university graduates. Being surrounded by interesting, educated women renewed Stuckless’ desire to pursue a university education. Following her youngest daughter’s enrollment in elementary school in the mid 1980s, Stuckless took her first undergraduate class as a psychology student, ‘The Roots of Modern Man: Ancient Beginnings.’ However, it was not until she enrolled in another course, ‘Women, Health, and Education’, taught by the young feminist Marta Danylewycz, that she came to a turning point in her life. It was a course that showcased not only women’s problems but also their abundance of accomplishments. After reflecting on her own personal principles, Stuckless proudly declared herself as a feminist when she realized that Danyelwycz’s values, attitudes and beliefs were akin to her own.
Following the untimely death of Marta Danylewycz before the conclusion of the academic year, Stuckless was introduced to feminist Varpu Lindström, who not only finished teaching the course, but became Stuckless’ good friend, colleague and mentor. After expressing interest in her desire to pursue women’s studies, Lindström introduced Stuckless to the Chair of Women’s Studies at York University, Shelagh Wilkinson who, along with other feminist colleagues, helped Stuckless’ transition from a BA in psychology to a combined degree that included women’s studies. Along with juggling her academic responsibilities and family life, Stuckless still managed to participate in campus activities. She was both councilor and senator of Atkinson College’s student government. She also volunteered as Wilkinson’s research assistant during the very early stages of York University’s Centre for Feminist Research. In 1989, Stuckless graduated with a combined honours BA in psychology and women’s studies and with the added distinction of valedictorian of her faculty.
Stuckless then began the second leg of her academic career as a full-time graduate student in the psychology. During her seven years as a graduate student, Stuckless was supervised by Richard Goranson. Her MA thesis, Development of a Scale to Measure Attitudes Towards Revenge, was nominated for a thesis award in 1990 and resulted in a number of publications. Her PhD dissertation, The Effects of Anger, Perceived Injustice, Revenge and Time on Survivors of Victims of Violence looked at revenge as well as other emotions that are felt by the families of children who were murdered by drunk drivers and was also nominated for a dissertation award.
Stuckless was involved in numerous research projects while pursuing her graduate studies. One of the most notable projects was her collaboration with feminist sociologist, Desmond Ellis at the Lamarsh Centre for Conflict Resolution. After discovering their common interest in domestic violence, Stuckless collaborated with Ellis as his senior research assistant from 1990 to 1995. In 1996, the book, Mediating and Negotiating Marital Conflict, was published based on their research on mediation for separation and divorce.
In another longstanding collaboration, Stuckless has worked with Brenda Toner in her feminist research team. With this team she conducted research at the University of Toronto and affiliated hospitals, Mount Sinai and Women’s College. Toner supervised Stuckless’ post-doctoral research, Sequential victimization: The Influence of Post-Assault Events on Victims of Violence, which looked at women who came from abusive relationships and the factors that prevented them from leaving. Her role as a research scientist alongside Dr. Toner and colleagues led to the development of the Gender Role Socialization Scale for Women which measures women’s subjective norms on gender roles and how these norms influence their own socialized gender-based behaviors. The scale has since been adapted for different cultural contexts and is used internationally.
Teaching has been another important component of Stuckless’ career. She focuses on providing a interactive learning experience by fully involving her students in discussions, dividing them into smaller brainstorming groups, and showing thought-provoking documentaries. Currently, she teaches courses on sex roles and behavior, social psychology, and the psychology of women. On top of her teaching and research, Stuckless has served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Section on Women and Psychology of the Canadian Psychological Association for many years. Stuckless also works as a research associate at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
It is quite clear that even in her seventies Stuckless has no plans of slowing down. Although she had a late start in the world of academia, she has achieved many successes. Despite all of these, Stuckless still considers raising three feminist daughters her greatest accomplishment to date.
by Jeahlisa Bridgeman (2013)
To cite this article, see Credits
Akman, D.E., Toner, B.B., Stuckless, N., Ali, A., Emmott, S.D., & Downie, F.P. (2001). Feminist issues in research methodology: The development of a cognitive scale. Feminism and Psychology, 11, 209-227.
Ellis, D., & Stuckless, N. (1996). Mediating and negotiating marital conflict. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Ellis, D., Stuckless, N., & Wight, L. (2006). Separation, domestic violence and divorce mediation. The Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 23, 461-485.
Esplen, M, J., Stuckless, N., Hunter, J., Narod, S., Liede, A., Metcalfe, K., Butler, K., Glendon, G., Irwin, E., & Scott, J. (2009). The BRCA Self Concept Scale: A new instrument to measure self-concept in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Psycho-Oncology, 18, 1216-1229
Stuckless, N., Ford, B.D., & Vitelli R. (1995). Vengeance, anger, and irrational beliefs in inmates: a caveat for social desirability. Personality and Individual Differences, 18, 1‑6.
Stuckless, N., & Goranson, R. (1991). Development of the vengeance scale. LaMarsh Report, No. 43. Toronto: York University.
Stuckless, N., & Goranson, R. (1992). The vengeance scale: Development of a measure of attitudes toward revenge. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 7, 25‑42.