Ortner Center on Violence & Abuse in Relationships

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Cathy Spatz Widom, Ph.D.

John Jay College
Distinguished Professor

Cathy Spatz Widom, Ph.D., is an international expert on the causes and consequences of child abuse and neglect. Her seminal, ongoing longitudinal study of a large sample of children with confirmed abuse and neglect in childhood is shedding light on the largely untested, but widely-accepted, idea of the intergenerational transmission of violence. 

A Distinguished Professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and member of the Graduate Center faculty of the City University of New York, she also has taught at Indiana University, SUNY Albany, and Harvard. She serves on the Committee on Law and Justice at the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences at the National Academy of Sciences and was co-chair of the National Research Council panel on Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice.  Dr. Widom has provided invited testimony to Congressional and state committees.

She is an elected fellow of the American Psychological Association, American Psychopathological Association, and the American Society of Criminology and the recipient, among other awards, of the 1989 American Association for the Advancement of Science Behavioral Science Research Prize for her paper on the cycle of violence. Most recently, she received the 2016 Stockholm Prize in Criminology.

Dr. Widom received her B.S. in child development and family relationships from Cornell University, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from Brandeis University.