Dana Jack honored by APA for latest book
Dana Jack speaks to a group of Western Washington University alumni during Back 2 Bellingham 2010. File photo by Mark Malijan | for WWU
The American Psychological Association has awarded Western Washington University Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Dana C. Jack the Ursula Gielen Global Psychology Book Award for her latest book, “Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World.”
Jack will accept her award at the association’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla., on Aug. 3. The award is given for a recent book that makes the greatest contribution to psychology as an international discipline and profession, or more specifically, the degree to which the book adds to our understanding of global phenomena and problems from a psychological point of view.
“Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World” is the successor to Jack’s groundbreaking 1991 book, “Silencing the Self: Women and Depression,” in which Jack wrote about how women’s self-silencing – not voicing their feelings, opinions or anger in order to avoid conflict or loss of relationship – led to their higher rates of depression than men.
“This is such an incredible honor – to be viewed by your peers as making a contribution in the field is just an amazing feeling,” Jack said. “And this award is not only for me, but also for all the researchers who made the book possible.”
Jack’s initial research proved to be so successful in identifying the problems associated with self-silencing that her theory and research instrument, the Silencing the Self Scale, began to be used in cultures across the globe. Researchers were interested to see how varying societal pressures and rules might influence women – and men – to self-silence, and how the repercussions of self-silencing might change depending on cultural differences and dynamics. The book focuses on the efforts of 21 authors in 13 countries – ranging from Poland and Portugal to Nepal and Finland – who used Jack’s research framework to shed new light on self-silencing and its consequences within differing and unique cultures and in men as well as women.
“We are social creatures – we need strong relationships in our lives to thrive and be healthy. Self-silencing prevents close connection with others, averts support, and creates isolation,” Jack said. “Self-silencing theory offers a new way to understand depression, not as a deficit or problem within an individual, but as ways of interacting in relationship that are harmful to oneself and to relationships. These self-silencing thoughts and behaviors are tied to gender and inequality.”
Jack not only supplied the research methodology used by the book’s researchers and co-edited the entire book, she also wrote her own chapter, with two Nepali colleagues, about her research on self-silencing among men and women in Nepal.
“This book represents a grouping of minds from a range of cultures around a single theory, and it enriches our knowledge and understanding of how self-silencing is related not only to depression, but also to other physical and mental health issues in women and men,” she said.
Jack co-edited “Silencing the Self Across Cultures: Depression and Gender in the Social World” with Alisha Ali, an associate professor of Applied Psychology at New York University. Ali also contributed a chapter on self-silencing among Caribbean immigrant women in the United States and Canada.
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