Jennifer Freyd

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Jennifer J. Freyd (born October 16, 1957, in Providence, Rhode Island) is an American psychologist, Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon,[1] and editor of the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation.[2] Freyd is known for her theories of dynamic mental representations[3] and shareability[4] and her discovery of the phenomenon of representational momentum.[5] Freyd has published over 150 articles. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In the last two decades, Freyd has researched and written extensively on sexual abuse and memory,[6] the ethics of research on trauma,[7] and developed the concept of betrayal trauma.[8][9] Freyd's work on institutional betrayal,[10] conducted in collaboration with PhD student Carly P. Smith, has documented that this type of betrayal exacerbates the psychological impact of sexual violence, including increased anxiety, dissociation, and sexual dysfunction.[11] More recent work has pointed to health correlates of institutional betrayal,[12] indicating that institutional betrayal is associated with physical as well as psychological distress, in keeping with Freyd's Betrayal Trauma Theory. Together, Smith and Freyd developed the Institutional Betrayal Questionnaire, now in its second edition, to measure institutional betrayal across a variety of institutional contexts. Their work has been also been applied to judicial settings,[13][14] to explain the harm that may arise from engaging with legal systems in cases of sexual violence.

Freyd's recent writing has focused on campus sexual assault[15] and issues surrounding how colleges and universities handle these events. The Chronicle of Higher Education has covered the ongoing debate at the University of Oregon[16] and the Association of American Universities (AAU).[17] Dozens of scientists have criticized the AAU's proposed campus climate survey, with Freyd as a key player in the scientific debate.[18]


In 1979, Freyd earned a B.A. in anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1983 earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at Stanford University.


From 1983 to 1987, she was an assistant professor at Cornell University, and since 1987 has been at the University of Oregon.[19]


Awards and honors received by Freyd include the Association for Women in Psychology's 1997 Distinguished Publication Award, the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation, and twice the Pierre Janet Award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.[20] In 2011, Freyd won the Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Trauma Psychology from Division 56 (Trauma Psychology] of the American Psychological Association.[21]


  • Freyd, J. J. (1996). Betrayal Trauma: The Logic of Forgetting Childhood Abuse. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. ISBN 0-674-06805-X. 
  • Freyd, J. J.; Pamela J. Birrell (2013). Blind to Betrayal: Why we fool ourselves we aren't being fooled. Wiley, Somerset NJ. [22]
  • Freyd, J. J.; Anne P. DePrince (2001). Trauma and cognitive science: a meeting of minds, science, and human experience. Haworth Press. ISBN 0-7890-1374-6. 

Personal life[edit]

Freyd was married to JQ Johnson III, from 1984 until his death in 2012. Together they have three children.[citation needed]

As an adult in the early 1990s, Freyd privately accused her father, Peter J. Freyd, of abusing her during her childhood. Her parents co-founded the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to dispute Freyd's claims and the claims of others who they allege may have recovered false memories of childhood abuse in therapy.[23]


  1. ^ "Jennifer J. Freyd". Faculty home page at University of Oregon. Retrieved March 8, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Journal of Trauma & Dissociation". Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. 
  3. ^
  4. ^, Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Science of Child Sexual Abuse". Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Definition of Betrayal Trauma Theory". Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  9. ^ Slater, Lauren; Jessica Henderson Daniel; Amy Elizabeth Banks (2003). The complete guide to mental health for women. Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-2925-4. 
  10. ^ "Institutional Betrayal". Retrieved 2014-03-27. 
  11. ^ Smith, C. P.; Freyd, J.J. (2013). "Dangerous safe havens: Institutional Betrayal exacerbates traumatic aftermath of sexual assault". Journal of Traumatic Stress. 26: 119–124. doi:10.1002/jts.21778. 
  12. ^ Smith, C. P. (2014), "Unawareness and Expression of Interpersonal and Institutional Betrayal", Unawareness and Expression of Interpersonal and Institutional Betrayal, The Western Psychological Association, Portland, Oregon 
  13. ^ Smith, C. P.; Gómez, J. M.; Freyd, J. J. (2014). "The Psychology of Judicial Betrayal". Roger Williams Law Review. 19: 451–475. 
  14. ^ "Institutional betrayal exacerbates the negative psychological effects of sexual trauma" (pdf). Retrieved May 6, 2014. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Jennifer J. Freyd: Abbreviated Vita". 
  20. ^ Freyd, JJ; DePrince AP (2001). Trauma and cognitive science: a meeting of minds, science, and human experience. Haworth Press. p. xii. ISBN 0-7890-1374-6. 
  21. ^ [1]
  22. ^ "Blind to Betrayal: Why we fool ourselves we aren't being fooled". ISBN 9780470604403. 
  23. ^ Dallam, SJ (2001). "Crisis or Creation: A Systematic Examination of 'False Memory Syndrome'". Journal of Child Sexual Abuse. Haworth Press. 9 (3/4): 9–36. doi:10.1300/J070v09n03_02. PMID 17521989.