University of Rochester

Dante Cicchetti to Receive National Award for Contributions to Psychology

May 17, 2004

Dante Cicchetti, the Shirley Cox Kearns Professor of Psychology at the University of Rochester, will be recognized with an award for his Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest by the American Psychological Association this summer. The award to the professor of psychology, psychiatry, and pediatrics will honor his “seminal role in bridging theory, research, and practice by fostering the emergence and coalescence of the field of developmental psychopathology,” said the national organization of psychologists.

Cicchetti’s research and writing on the issues of attachment, child maltreatment, maternal depression, and resilience are considered groundbreaking in the field. More recently, he has focused on investigating the impact of child maltreatment on brain development and functioning. His theoretical contributions as well as his devotion to child advocacy have earned Cicchetti many honors, including the Nicholas Hobbs Award and the Award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Clinical Child Psychology from the APA in 1999.

Since 1985, Cicchetti has directed the Mt. Hope Family Center in Rochester, which conducts research and provides intervention and treatment toward promoting mental health in children, preventing child maltreatment, and fostering positive relationships between parents and their children.

This latest honor for Cicchetti is the same award given to Emory Cowen, the late professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Rochester, who was Cicchetti’s colleague and close friend. Cowen received the award in 1989 for an outstanding career focused on revolutionizing mental health care for children by introducing prevention programs.

Cicchietti has authored or edited several hundred scholarly articles. He also is the author or editor of numerous books, including Neurodevelopmental Mechanisms in Psychopathology with Elaine F. Walker (Cambridge University Press, 2003); Developmental Psychopathology, two volumes, with Donald J. Cohen (John Wiley & Sons, 1995), which has become the standard reference manual in the field of developmental psychopathology; and Maltreatment: Theory and Research on the Causes and Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect with Vicki K. Carlson (Cambridge University Press, 1989).

His research has been funded by public and private institutions or agencies, including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the Office of Child Abuse and Neglect, and the William T. Grant Foundation.

The Rochester psychologist also is founder and editor of Development and Psychopathology, a scholarly journal that is among the most highly cited with regard to impact in its field. Cicchetti’s work has shaped the field of developmental psychopathology, a branch of psychology that incorporates other sciences, such as biology, genetics, and sociology, to explain normal and abnormal development.

In the citation for Cicchetti’s latest award, he is described as “a pioneer in the conduct of research with high-risk and disenfranchised populations, including maltreated children and offspring of depressed parents. He has increased the scientific rigor of maltreatment research and has advocated tirelessly for the translation of basic research into prevention, intervention, and social policy dedicated to decreasing the suffering of those confronted by poverty and mental illness and to enhancing resilience.”

Cicchetti received his doctorate from the University of Minnesota in clinical psychology and child development. He will be honored at the APA convention in Honolulu in July.