Robert W. White (psychologist)

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Robert W. White (1904–2001) was an American psychologist whose professional interests centered on the study of personality, both normal and abnormal. His book The Abnormal Personality, published in 1948, became the standard textbook on Abnormal Psychology.[1]

A historian in perspective, White did not focus entirely on abnormal psychology, but investigated the coping methods of normal people. Diverging from Freud whose thinking dominated psychology at the time, he emphasized that individuals were also driven by needs to be competent and effective in the world.[2]

He began teaching at Harvard University in 1937 and retired from teaching in 1964.[3] During World War II, White became acting director of Harvard's psychological clinic. He was head of Harvard's clinical psychology program and chairman of the social relations department. In 1969 he was awarded professor emeritus.[2]

He graduated from Harvard University in 1925.[4]

Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ "R.W. White, personality psychologist, dies at 96". Harvard Gazette. March 1, 2001. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b Mccoubrey, Carmel (February 25, 2001). "R. W. White, 96; Put Focus on Personality". New York Times. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  3. ^ "Perkins, White Give Their Last Lectures". Harvard Crimson. December 30, 1968. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  4. ^ McCoubrey, Carmel (2001-02-20). "Robert White, Psychologist Who Specialized in Personality, Dies at 92". The New York Times.
  5. ^ White, Robert W. (1948). Origins of abnormal psychology. New York: Ronald Press Company.
  6. ^ White, Robert W. (September 1959). "Motivation reconsidered: The concept of competence". Psychological Review. 66 (5): 297–333. doi:10.1037/h0040934.
  7. ^ White, Robert W. (1948). "Historical introduction: Origins of abnormal psychology". The abnormal personality: A textbook. pp. 3–53. doi:10.1037/10023-001.

External links[edit]