Alan E. Kazdin, PhD

Dr. Kazdin's term in 2008 saw the APA focus on addressing issues critical to society. His goal was to bring to bear the talent of APA members and APA resources to have a lasting impact.

Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Northwestern University in 1970. He is the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology, Child Psychiatry, and Institute of Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. He is also the director of the Yale Parenting Center and Child Conduct Clinic, an outpatient treatment service for children referred for aggressive and antisocial behavior.

Before Yale, he was on the faculty of Northwestern University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He was a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and president of the Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy. At Yale, he was the director of clinical training and chair of the psychology department, chair and director of the Child Study Center at the School of Medicine, and the director of child psychiatric services at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

His clinical work and research focus primarily on the development, treatment, and clinical course of oppositional, aggressive, and antisocial child behavior. He is a licensed clinical psychologist; a diplomate of the American Board of Professional Psychology; and a fellow of APA, the Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Psychological Science. His honors include Research Scientist Career and MERIT Awards from the National Institute of Mental Health and awards for Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Clinical Psychology and Distinguished Professional Contribution to Clinical Child Psychology (Division 12: Society of Clinical Psychology), Outstanding Research Contribution by an Individual (Association for Advancement of Behavior Therapy), and Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award (Connecticut Psychological Association).

He is actively involved in clinical work with children and families. He has directed inpatient and outpatient psychiatric services for children, and worked with children, adolescents, and adults in day treatment and inpatient settings for developmental disabilities. He has worked with the state legislature and managed care agencies to improve quality of patient care and to evaluate therapy practice statewide.

He has served as editor of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Psychological Assessment, Behavior Therapy, Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, and Current Directions in Psychological Science, and as editor-in-chief of APA's Encyclopedia of Psychology (2000). He has served as associate editor of the Annual Review of Psychology and as the series editor of Perspectives in Psychology for Yale University Press and the Developmental Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry for series for Sage Publications. He has published more than 600 articles, books, and chapters. His more than 40 books focus primarily on psychotherapy research and clinical practice; child and adolescent disorders; parenting and child-rearing; and assessment, methodology, and research design. Although none of his books has been made into a movie or Broadway show, he remains cautiously pessimistic.


During his term as president, Dr. Kazdin pursued three major initiatives:

Psychology's Contribution to the Grand Challenges of Society
The goal was to draw on psychological science to contribute to a deeper understanding of and offer solutions for key challenges facing society. There are scores of challenges in such areas as health, utilization of natural resources, aging, crime, education, discrimination, international relations, business productivity, interpersonal relationships, and poverty. The task was to identify a subgroup of challenges and articulate the role psychology can play in addressing them and to partner with other sciences in ways that might have broad impact. This initiative was in partnership with Dr. Steven Breckler, Executive Director of APA's Science Directorate.

Interpersonal Violence
In order to address this enormous topic, multiple activities were planned for this initiative. Dr. Jacquelyn White (President of Division 35: Society for the Psychology of Women) and Dr. Bob Geffner (President of Division 56: Trauma Psychology) organized a Summit on Violence and Abuse in Relationships: Connecting Agendas and Forging New Directions for February 28–29, 2008. The goal was to bring together multiple disciplines and perspectives—including 17 APA Divisions and multiple national and international organizations—to conceptualize commonalities along different types of violence and abuse against women and children. Drs. Jacquelyn White and Mary Koss coedited a two-volume set of books that identify advances in and implications for research, policy, and public communication. Several APA Divisions and groups have developed special convention programming that focuses on interpersonal violence.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Trauma in Children and Adolescents
Dr. Annette LaGreca chaired a task force that identified psychological science's understanding of and contributions to the amelioration of PTSD and trauma; summarized the current state of knowledge; and to made recommendations for parents/caregivers, healthcare providers, policymakers, and government agencies to help children and their families. A key objective was to make recommendations that can be disseminated to the public and policymakers.