James Jaccard

Professor of Social Work
(212) 998-5906

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 a Professor of Social Work at NYU Silver School of Social Work. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Illinois, Urbana in 1976. Dr. Jaccard was initially trained as a psychologist with specialties in attitude change and decision making, but later expanded his research program to embrace social work and public health. His research focuses on adolescent and young adult problem behaviors, particularly those related to unintended pregnancy and substance use, broadly defined. He has developed parent-based interventions to teach parents how to more effectively communicate and parent their adolescent children so as to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancies and problems due to substance use. He also has developed protocols for contraceptive counseling of young adults in health clinics. 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 has written several influential articles on the issue of arbitrary metrics in social science research. Dr. Jaccard also 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, thinking about solutions to problems, and translating these ideas into coherent, scientific theories.