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Department of Psychology

Faculty and Staff Directory

Bret Kloos

Title: Professor
Director of Clinical Community Program
Department: Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-2704
Office: Barnwell, 534
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Department of Psychology
Bret Kloos


Bret Kloos is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of South Carolina. He specializes in the areas of community psychology, homelessness, and promotion of adaptive functioning in community settings, with particular interests in:

  • recovery from serious mental illness
  • meaning-making after major life disruptions
  • community responses to homelessness
  • acculturation of immigrant groups
  • mutual support and self-help
  • collaboration with community-based resources (e.g., religious organizations, civic groups) to address social and health problems

Dr. Kloos received his doctoral degree in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to coming to USC, he was on the faculty of the Yale University School of Medicine, which included positions as the Director of the Mental Health Network Supportive Housing Program, Director of Research on Adaptation in Community Settings, and the Coordinator of the Connecticut Self-Help Network. He has received funding from NIMH, HUD, NIDRR, and the Center for Mental Health Services/ SAMHSA to conduct research and develop programs related to the housing needs of persons with serious mental illness and co-occurring addictive disorders. His teaching interests include community psychology, community intervention, community mental health, research methods, and social psychology.


Housing & Adaptive Functioning Lab

Principal Investigator:
Bret Kloos

Graduate Students:
Betsy A. Davis
Laura Kurzban
Douglas Archie
Nyssa Snow-Hill

HAF Lab Overview:

The Housing & Adaptive Functioning Research Lab investigates the relationships between housing environments and adaptive functioning for persons facing challenging life circumstances. We are concerned about social and cultural factors that can affect mental health.  Current projects include people diagnosed with serious mental illness, family homelessness, people displaced by natural disasters, and new immigrants to the United States. These projects share similar conceptual frameworks but investigate outcomes most relevant to the challenges in community living faced by the research participants.

We conceive of housing environments as including (a) physical components (e.g., apartment, other buildings in the neighborhood), (b) psychosocial components (e.g., perceptions of safety, neighborhood social climate, tolerance) and (c) interpersonal relationships tied to one housing (e.g., landlords/n property managers, neighbors). Our conceptual framework is grounded in the fields of social ecology and community psychology. We also incorporate methods and research questions from clinical psychology, anthropology, prevention science, public health, and social psychology. We use quantitative methods (e.g., mulit-level modeling, geographic information system analyses) and qualitative methods (e.g., narrative, ethnography, visual ethnography) to investigate the influences of community contexts on individual functioning. Most of our research questions emphasize transactional models of risk and protective factors associated with housing and neighborhood environments.

At present, the HAF lab is collaborating on several projects with Mental Health America of SC, local community mental health centers, ABLE SC (a disability and independent living advocacy organization) and local non-profit housing providers to pursue this research. We are also collaborating with other investigators at USC. The projects described below are funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation and Research, the National Science Foundation, and the University of South Carolina.

HAF Lab Projects:

Contexts of Recovery

COLA Network – Promoting Participation in Community Life for Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities

Family Homelessness

Attitudes Toward Homelessness

Housing and Homelessness Action Research Network

Recent Student Committees

David Asiamah, Dissertation, Chair
Changing community attitudes about homelessness: Homeless experience, expert opinion, and visual persuasion

Victoria H. Chien, Dissertation, Chair
Understanding the Role of Neighborhood Experiences and Adaptive Coping in Community Integration among Persons with Psychiatric Disabilities via the Capabilities Approach

Betsy A. Davis, Dissertation, Chair
"More to life than mental health": Investigating roles of community mental health case managers in promoting community integration

Anne Darby Kirven, Honor's College Thesis, Chair
Homelessness Community Dialogue Project

Allie Morrison, Honor's College Thesis, Chair
Untold Stories: Youth Homelessness in Columbia, SC

Rachel Smith, Honor's College Thesis, Chair
Mapping Columbia's History of Homeless Services

HAF Lab Alumni

Undergraduate alumni have pursued graduate training in clinical psychology, community psychology, counseling psychology, medicine, and social work at American University, the Medical University of South Carolina, University of Massachusetts, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of South Carolina, Vanderbilt University, and Winthrop University.

Doctoral students have completed internships and post doctoral positions at Yale University, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Temple University, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, and the Morehouse School of Medicine. Graduates work in academic settings, research institutes, non-governmental organizations, and their own consultation and evaluation practices.  

David Asiamah, Atlantic Health System, NJ

Jackie McDaniel, VA Health Ctr, CT

Greg Townley, Portland State University, OR

Victoria Chien Scott, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC

Rachel Smolowitz, MMTC, Baltimore, MD

Annie Wright, Southern Methodist University, TX

Brian McGregor, Morehouse School of Medicine, GA

Eric P. Green, Duke University, NC

Lindsey Stillman, Cloudburst Consulting, GA

Erin Spelman, Dorn VAMC, Columbia, SC

Honors and Awards

  • South Carolina Faculty Service Award for Service Learning, South Carolina Campus Compact, 2015
  • President, Society for Community Research and Action (Division 27 of the American Psychological Association, 2014-2015
  • Fellow, Society for Community Research and Action, 2013
  • Fulbright Scholar Fellowship to Portugal, 2012
  • NIMH Mentored, Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award 2002-2007
  • Best Dissertation on a Topic Relevant to Community Psychology (2000) Society of Community Research & Action, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association

Representative Publications

Kloos, B., & Johnson, R.W. (in press). Prospects for Synergies and Symbiosis: Relationships between Community Psychology and Other Subdisciplines of Psychology. In M.A. Bond, C.B. Keys, & I. Serrano-García  (Eds.), APA Handbook of community psychology: VOLUME I:  Theoretical Foundations, Core Concepts, and Emerging Challenges.  Washington, DC: American Psychological Association

Castellow, J., Townley, G., & Kloos, B. (2015).  Previous Homelessness as a Risk Factor for Recovery from Serious Mental Illnesses.  Community Mental Health Journal, 51, 674-684.

Nelson, G., Kloos, B., & Ornelas, J. (Eds.) (2014). Community Psychology and Community Mental Health: Towards Transformative Change. Society for Community Research and Action Book Series.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Townley, G., Miller, H., & Kloos, B. (2013).  A little goes a long way: Assessing distal social support for individuals with psychiatric disabilities.  American Journal of Community Psychology52, 84-96.

Kloos, B., Hill, J., Thomas, E., Wandersman, A., Elias, M.J., & Dalton, J.H. (2012). Community psychology: Linking individuals and communities, 3rd Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/ Cengage. . Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/ Cengage.

Kloos, B. & Townley, G. (2011). Investigating the relationship between neighborhood experiences and psychiatric distress for individuals with serious mental illness. . Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 38,105-116.

Townley, G., Kloos, B., Green†, E.P., & Franco, M. (2011). Reconcilable Differences? Human diversity, cultural relativity, and sense of community. . American Journal of Community Psychology. 47, 69-85.

Kloos, B. (2010). Creating new possibilities for promoting liberation, well-being, and recovery: Learning from experiences of psychiatric consumers / survivors. In G. Nelson, & I. Prilleltensky (Eds.), Community psychology: In pursuit of well-being and liberation, 2nd Edition. 453-476, London: MacMillan.

Kloos, B. & Shah, S. (2009). A social ecological approach to investigating relationships between housing and adaptive functioning for persons with serious mental illness. . American Journal of Community Psychology, 44, 316-326.

Wright, P.A. & Kloos, B. (2007). Housing Environment and Mental Health Outcomes: A Levels of Analysis Perspective. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 27, 79-89.

Kloos, B., Gross, S.M., Meese, K.J., Meade, C.S., Doughty, J.D., Hawkins, D.D., Zimmerman,S.O., Snow, D.L., Sikkema, K.J. (2005). Negotiating Risk: Knowledge and Use of HIV Prevention by Persons with Serious Mental Illness Living in Supportive Housing. American Journal of Community Psychology, 36, 357-372.

Kloos, B. (2005). Community science: An alternative place to stand? American Journal of Community Psychology, 35, 259-267.

Kloos, B. (2004). Self-help and mutual support: The relevance for community psychology. The Community Psychologist, 37 (1), 23-25.

Kloos, B., Zimmerman, S.O., Scrimenti, K., & Crusto, C. (2002). Landlords as partners for promoting success in supported housing: "It takes more than a lease and a key". Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 25 (3), 235-244.

Rowe, M., Kloos, B., Chinman, M, Davidson, L. & Cross, A.B. (2001). Homelessness, mental illness, and citizenship. Social Policy and Administration, 35 (1), 14-31.

Kloos, B. & Moore, T. (2000). The prospect and purpose of locating community research and action in religious settings. Journal of Community Psychology, 28 (2), 119-137.

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