Dr. Sherry Hamby is the founding editor of the latest addition to the APA Journals

Sherry Hamby, PhD, Research Associate Professor of Psychology at Sewanee, was appointed by the American Psychological Association's Council of Representatives to a 5-year term as the founding editor of its newest journal, Psychology of Violence.

In her 18 years as a violence researcher, Hamby has observed a tendency toward redundancy. Violence is a broad topic and its researchers publish in many different journals, so there’s often overlap or even revisiting of interventions already proven unsound.

As inaugural editor of the new APA journal Psychology of Violence, Hamby hopes to change that by offering violence researchers a central place to keep up with their colleagues’ work. She hopes the journal will also promote understudied areas of violence research, such as sibling aggression, a problem that often gets dismissed as a normal part of growing up, and acquaintance violence, which includes hostility with roommates, neighbors and co-workers, and is more common than stranger violence or intimate partner violence.

Hamby’s own research background is diverse and far-reaching. From 1996 to 1998, she worked on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona, collecting data on the prevalence of intimate partner violence. Since 2000, she’s been involved in international research efforts, including a study of dating violence in Switzerland and research on child maltreatment in England.

Given these experiences, it’s no surprise she plans to encourage international submissions on violence. A trip she made to Bangladesh recently for a research conference underscored for her that international researchers can add much to our understanding of violence. At first, she was unsure of what to expect out of one of the world’s poorest countries, but, she says, “I was just blown away by some of the presentations.” Many included enormous datasets with detailed, in-depth interviews that trounced similar U.S. surveys, she says. In one study, researchers were able to identify a rural district with a suicide rate that was more than double the national average, probably due to political conditions there, she says. “I’d like to see more of that type of [detailed] data appearing in U.S. outlets.” 

As a multidisciplinary forum, Psychology of Violence recognizes that all forms of violence and aggression are interconnected and require cross-cutting work that incorporates research from psychology, public health, neuroscience, sociology, medicine, and other related behavioral and social sciences. Research areas of interest include sexual violence, youth violence, child maltreatment, bullying, children's exposure to violence, intimate partner violence, suicide, homicide, workplace violence, international violence and prevention efforts.

Sherry Hamby is well known for her study of the methodological and measurement challenges of violence research and cross-cultural issues in measuring and intervening in violence. She also holds appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland. She is a co-author of the Juvenile Victimization Questionnaire—the core of the National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence, which is the largest survey conducted on youth victimization and the source of the most up-to-date and comprehensive statistics on exposure to family violence. The NatSCEV was funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection. Dr. Hamby is also author or co-author of more than fifty other publications on family violence and youth victimization.

The journal became a key component of Alan Kazdin’s 2008 presidential initiative to increase the visibility of work on violence at APA and to better integrate the many existing efforts to address different forms of violence. Psychology of Violence is only one of several components of this initiative, which also included two summits on interpersonal violence that were co-sponsored by APA. In addition to Kazdin’s efforts, Robert Geffner and Jacquelyn White helped move the presidential initiative to a national movement.

Another outcome of this initiative is the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV). Robert Geffner and Jacquelyn White are co-chairing this effort, which is a major undertaking to better coordinate various institutions’ efforts to reduce violence and to better coordinate the dissemination of violence-related knowledge.

We hope, by providing a forum dedicated to all types of violence, to facilitate communication among groups of researchers who previously may have focused primarily on a single form of violence. Psychology of Violence recognizes that all forms of violence and aggression are interconnected and require cross-cutting work that incorporates research from psychology, public health, neuroscience, sociology, medicine, and other related behavioral and social sciences.

Psychology of Violence will focus on the causes of violence from a psychological framework, ļ¬nding ways to prevent or reduce violence, and developing practical interventions and treatments. Psychology of Violence will especially target risk factors, moderators, correlates, and short-term effects (particularly understudied ones such as impact on social, school, or work capabilities), with an aim to interrupting the chain of events that leads to violence. Another area of focus will be integrative work that examines the commonalities and co-occurrence among various forms of violence. We especially welcome work that addresses communities who are disproportionately affected by violence or who have been historically under-served in efforts to address this issue.

Among the Consulting Editors of Psychology of Violence is one of Sewanee’s most academically distinguished alumni, Linda Mayes, M.D., Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology in the Yale Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine.  A child and adult psychoanalyst as well as a developmental pediatrician, she is also a faculty member of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale.  She is Chair of the Directorial team of The Anna Freud Centre at London and coordinator of its program at the Yale Child Study Center.  With two colleagues in London, she oversees a Master of Science program in psychodynamic developmental neuroscience offered collaboratively between University College, London and the Yale School of Medicine.  In July 2007 she was named Special Advisor to the Dean of the Yale School of Medicine with responsibilities including oversight of scientific integrity in research.  Valedictorian of Sewanee's class of 1973, she received a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa in 1994 from Sewanee.  Available to Sewanee students are summer internships in the Yale Child Study Center and an academic semester plus summer in the Sewanee-at-Yale Directed Research Program.

[paragraphs 2-5 excerpted from APA Monitor, March 2010, 41(3), p.64] [paragraphs 6-7 excerpted from the March 18, 2010 APA announcement of the new journal] [paragraphs 8-11 excerpted from Hamby's announcement of the journal launch:  (2010). Psychology of Violence, 1(S), 1-2.]