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Jean Hamilton, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Neuroscience

Jean Hamilton
Contact Info:
Office Location:  309 Soc-Psych, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 286-2327
Email Address:   send me a message
Web Page:


MD./PhD.University of Texas, San Antonio1977
M.D.University of Texas Health Science Center1977
BA Biology and Behavioral science (cum laude)Rice University1972

Social Psychology
Research Interests: Social and Health Psychology; Psychology of Gender; Women's Health; Psychiatry and Integrative Medicine

Current projects: Energy Depletion Theory of Depression in Women, Cross-cultural rates of depressive illness

Research Interests

1. Depressive Illness (Major Depression, MDD)

A. Women and Prevention of Recurrent  Depression

B. Psychology of Women's Health

C. "Energy Depletion Theory" of Women's Global Excess of Depression

D. "Matriarchal Studies"/Cross-cultural Psychology

2. Social Psychology of Intrinsic Motivation

A. Positive Psychology and Women's Lives

B. Neurobiology of "Flow"

3. Applications of "Non-linear Dynamics" (a.k.a. Methods from Chaos or Complexity Theory) and "General Evolution Theory" to Health

A. "Integral Health" and Healing (which encompasses Integrative, Behavioral, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine, CAM; as well as Health Psychology and Psychiatry)

B. Psychology of Choosing Sustainable Ways of Living ("Sustainability Studies")

More specifically, my current interests include: 1) understanding depressions, especially those in women, by studies a) that emerge from my new "bioenergetic depletion? theory of health, an interdisciplinary, cultural and sociobiological theory which links, e.g., the excess of depression in women compared to men to women's (literally) "doing too much" (as assessed, for example, by the UN/WHO's objective indicators of "gender inequality" and by subjective measures of "unequal, gender ideology"); b) that focus on helping girls and women to better reclaim and replenish our/their energy and to better ?highlight? positive experiences in our/their lives; and c) that document the potential negative effects of commonplace life events (such as gender stigmatization and discrimination) -- e.g., "objectification experiences" -- on energy depletion, allosteric stress, and health; 2) extending the uses of social neuroscience and social psychophysiology in studying health effects and correlates of psychological processes, e.g., by studies a) that explore the neurobiological underpinnings of what social psychologists term "intrinsic motivation"; and b) that build upon her hypothesis that enhancing intrinsic motivation -- just having more fun for its own sake ? will help to renew energy and enhance health in girls and women; and 3) learning about special aspects of positive psychology and ?therapeutic recreation? in women?s lives using, e.g., focus-group methodology and innovative group processes based on collaborative learning theory.

Clinical Interests
These include the practice of psychiatry, behavioral medicine and clinical health psychology in a small private setting; one focus of the practice is on developing innovative group activities and thereby enhancing self-care and energy replenishment in women. (She also practices "feminist" psychodynamic, psychotherapy-based psychiatry/psychopharmacology, but mainly does so at low-fee, public clinics in the summer.)

Areas of Interest:

Energy Depletion Theory of Depression in Women
Understanding Cross-cultural Variations in the Female Excess in Rates of Depressive Illness

Curriculum Vitae
Current Ph.D. Students   (Former Students)

  • Heidi Wencel
Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Hamilton, J. A., Russo, N. J. (2004). Women and Depression: Research, Theory, and Social Policy. Women and Depression: A Handbook for the Social, Behavioral, and Biomedical Sciences. (in press (expected early 2006)).  [author's comments]
  2. Hamilton, J.A., Phillips, K., Green, A. (2004). Integral Medicine and Health. World Futures. The Journal of General Evolution, 60(4), 295-302, 60(4), 295-302.
  3. with Grant, M., & Jensvold, M.F. "Sex and treatment of depressions: When does it matter?." Psychopharmacology of Women: Sex, Gender and Hormonal Considerations. Ed. Jensvold, M.F., Halbreich, U., & Hamilton, J.A. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Press, 1996: 241-260.
  4. (1996 (Eds.)). Psychopharmacology of Women.. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association Press.  [author's comments]

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