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James Jaccard
Professor of Social Work; Associate Dean for Research; Co-director, Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health
(212) 998-5892

Areas of Expertise

Attitude theory and decision making, adolescent problem behaviors, parent-adolescent communication, psychometrics, linear and non-linear modeling, and theory construction


Dr. James Jaccard is currently professor of social work, associate dean for research, and co-director of the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health in the NYU Silver School of Social Work. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana in 1976. Previously, and he was the director of the Institute for Child Health and Development at Florida International University in Miami, and a Distinguished Research Professor at the State University of New York in Albany, where he had appointments in both the department of psychology and the School of Social Welfare.

Dr. Jaccard was trained as a psychologist with specialties in attitude change and decision making. His research focuses on adolescent problem behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and substance use. He has developed parent-based interventions to teach parents how to more effectively communicate and parent their adolescent so as to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancies and problems due to substance use. He was involved in the seminal work on the influential Theory of Reasoned Action. Dr. Jaccard was one of the designers of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), which interviewed over 20,000 adolescents and their mothers in a multi-wave wave panel design. Add Health is one of the largest and most influential secondary databases on adolescent health in the United States.

Dr. Jaccard also has an extensive background in psychometrics and statistical methods. He has written numerous books and articles on the analysis of interaction effects in a wide range of statistical models, and teaches advanced graduate courses on structural equation modeling. He is currently developing a general framework for statistical analysis that eschews p values and focuses instead on magnitude estimation and margins of error.

Finally, Dr. Jaccard has written about theory construction and how to build conceptual models. He recently completed a book with Professor Jacob Jacoby that gives social scientists practical, hands-on approaches for generating ideas and translating them into coherent theories.