Feature

In her 18 years as a violence researcher, Sherry Hamby, PhD, 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. Hamby, a research associate professor in the psychology department at Sewanee, the University of the South, began accepting manuscripts in January for the journal, which debuts in March 2011.

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 farreaching. 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.”