Strengths-Based Prevention: Reducing Violence and Other Public Health Problems

Victoria Banyard, PhD, and Sherry Hamby, PhD

Strengths-Based Prevention: Reducing Violence and Other Public Health Problems book cover and description.

A new way of thinking about prevention that focuses on building assets and resources:

 This book provides practitioners and researchers with the means to make more impactful choices in the design and implementation of prevention programs.

Drawing from state-of-the-art research on a range of behavior problems such as violence, drug abuse, suicide, and risky sexual activity, Victoria Banyard and Sherry Hamby present a strengths-based approach to prevention.

 Historically, most prevention efforts have focused too much on admonishment and knowledge transfer, despite years of evidence that such programs are ineffective. Effective prevention must be grounded in a broad understanding of what works, what does not, and how different forms of risky behavior share common elements.

 This book synthesizes research on behavior change from a variety of disciplines, including psychology, public health, sociology, criminology, resilience science, critical race theory, and even urban planning. It emphasizes the importance of building enough protective strengths to insulate people from risks.

I wholeheartedly endorse this book as a useful guide for practitioners, researchers, and policy makers regarding designing and evaluating more impactful prevention work. The book is a well written, engaging, and evidence-based source of prevention strategies and innovations. Readers are left with a thorough understanding of what works and what does not work in prevention. (Sally M. Hage, PhD, LP, Associate Professor, Psychology Department, Springfield College, Springfield, MA)

Strengths-Based Prevention is available to order from your favorite bookseller and in print and kindle from Amazon.

Victoria Banyard is a Professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey where she is also the Associate Director of the Center on Violence Against Women and Children and Associate Dean for Faculty Development. Dr. Banyard has dedicated her academic career to finding better ways to help communities prevent and respond to interpersonal violence. Banyard – who received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology (and a Certificate in Women's Studies) from the University of Michigan – has worked with colleagues across the U.S. and abroad to help shape policy at the national, state, and local level through a rigorous examination of violence-prevention programs centered on a critical question: Do they work?

Banyard uses multiple methods, both quantitative and qualitative, to understand how, where, and why prevention strategies and programs succeed or not. Her research, begun more than 25 years ago, underscores the importance of listening well to the strengths of survivors and empowering those in a position to help them – be they policy makers, practitioners, or bystanders – with the best practices available. Dr. Banyard regularly collaborates with practitioners and community agencies, centering community engaged approaches to research. She has authored nearly 200 articles and book chapters and regularly teaches courses on the causes, consequences, and prevention of interpersonal violence. 

Sherry Hamby, Ph.D. is Research Professor of Psychology at the University of the South and Director of the Life Paths Research Center. She is also Founder and Co-chair of ResilienceCon. Dr. Hamby is an internationally recognized authority on victimization and trauma who is best known for her work in poly-victimization, resilience, and violence measurement. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Hamby has worked for more than 25 years on the problem of violence, including front-line crisis intervention and treatment, involvement in grassroots organizations, and research leading to the publication of more than 200 articles and books.

An influential researcher, she has been ranked in the top 1% among more than 6 million researchers in 22 disciplines based on citations to her work. Her awards include Outstanding Contributions to the Science of Trauma Psychology from the American Psychological Association (APA). Dr. Hamby’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, CBS News, Psychology Today, and hundreds of other media outlets.

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