Article by Steve Gilliam
The American Psychological Association has named psychologist Dr. Jacquelyn W. “Jackie” White to its newly formed Policy Review Task Force on the Prediction and Prevention of Gun Violence.
White, whose research on interpersonal violence is nationally known, is a professor emerita of psychology. Currently, she is working as senior research scientist in the Office of Research and Economic Development. She also has been on special assignment with the APA on an American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Fellowship in the office of Congresswoman Diana DeGette.
The task force meets in Washington, D.C., Sept. 26-27, to develop a policy on the prediction and prevention of gun violence that will replace APA’s 1994 policy on Firearm Safety and Youth. The APA Council of Representatives created the task force to develop a new policy that will reflect current knowledge on gun violence prediction and prevention, provide a strong foundation for APA federal advocacy efforts and inform the field.
“The timing is ideal to address gun violence prevention,” White said. “The recent spate of mass shootings has raised public awareness and spurred a much needed national conversation. These high-profile cases, combined with what we know about the role of guns in street crimes and domestic violence cases, as well as in suicides and accidental shootings, make it hard to ignore the problem. Psychological research on violence has much to offer this conversation.”
White’s colleagues on the task force are: Dr. Robert T. Kinscherff, chairman, of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology; Dr. Joel A. Dvoskin in private practice in Tucson, Ariz.; Dr. Gary D. Gottfredson, University of Maryland; Dr. W. Rodney Hammond, retired from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Eric S. Mankowski, Portland State University; and Dr. Susan B. Sorenson, University of Pennsylvania.
In her research, White has been particularly interested in sorting out predictors and consequences of sexual and physical assault, with a focus on various mental health problems and substance use. Her approach suggests that adolescent dating violence should be considered within the context of adolescent friendships and romantic relationships, as well as family and other social institutions that shape a young person’s sense of self.
White also has consulted on a project with the U.S. Navy examining the impact of pre-military experiences with physical and sexual abuse on military experiences. She is a past editor of Psychology of Women Quarterly and served on the editorial board for Aggressive Behavior. She is co-editor of the two-volume series being published by the APA, “Violence against women and children: Consensus, critical analyses, and emergent priorities.”
She has served on several task forces and advisory boards that focus on teenage sexual behavior. One program, “Wise Guys,” encourages responsible sexual behavior in young males. Locally and nationally, the rate of teenage pregnancy has plummeted in the last decade, she explains, and is partly the result of a growing sense of responsibility about sexual behavior among teenagers—particularly young men.
Before retiring in 2012, White was director of Women’s Studies at UNCG and held Linda Arnold Carlisle Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies. She is a past president of the Southeastern Psychological Association and the Society for the Psychology of Women. Her honors include the 2008 Carolyn Wood Sherif Award and the 2010 American Psychological Association’s Committee on Women’s Leadership Award. She also received the 2011 Sue Rosenberg Zalk Award for distinguished leadership from the Society for the Psychology of Women.