Bruce P. Dohrenwend, PhD
Dr. Bruce Dohrenwend is Professor of Social Science in the Department of Psychiatry and Professor of Epidemiology in the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He did his graduate work in social psychology at Cornell and his field is psychiatric epidemiology. His research has grown out of issues raised by epidemiological findings of relations between important types of psychiatric disorder and social positions defined by gender, ethnic/racial background, and socioeconomic status. His particular interest is in how adversity and stress are related to these demographic variables on the one hand, and to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression, antisocial personality disorder, substance use disorders (including alcoholism), and post-traumatic stress disorder on the other.
As a psychiatric epidemiologist, Dr. Bruce Dohrenwend's research relates to issues raised by epidemiological findings of relations between important types of psychiatric disorder and social positions defined by gender, ethnic/racial status, and socioeconomic status. His particular interest is how adversity and stress are related to these demographic variables as well as to psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression, antisocial personality disorder, substance use disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Professor Emeritus of Social Psychiatry (in Epidemiology) and Special Lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry
- Chief of the Department of Social Psychiatry, Psychiatric Institute
Credentials & Experience
Education & Training
- PhD, 1955 Cornell University
Committees, Societies, Councils
President, American Psychopathological Association, 1994
Advisory Board, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Advisory Editor, Psychiatry
Honors & Awards
NIMH Research Scientist Award 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, and 1991
Rema Lapouse Mental Health Epidemiology Award, APHA, 1981
AAAS Prize for Behavioral Science Research, 1990
Hamilton Award, American Psychopathological Association
Leo G. Reeder Award, Medical Sociology Section, American Sociological Association
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in U.S. veterans of the war in Vietnam
Conceptualization and measurement of major stressful life events over the life course
Social causation—social selection issue posed by inverse relations between socioeconomic status and various types of psychiatric disorders
Principal investigator on the following grants:
- Two studies supported by small grants programof the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH),Grant MH 07328, "Psychological Disorder: The Midtown Hypotheses" and Grant MH 07327, "Trends In Lay Appraisal." 1962-1964
- Program of methodological research: "Measuresof Untreated Psychiatric Disorder," GrantMH 10328 from the NIMH. 1964-1985
- "Social and Psychological Factors in Major Depression,” Grant MH 26208 from the NIMH. 1981-1987
- "Myofascial Pain Dysfunction Syndrome and Life Stress," Grant DE 05989 from the National Institute of Dental Research. 1982-1996
- "Social Stress-Social Selection and PsychiatricDisorders," Grant MH 30710 from the NIMH. 1982-1995
- "Israeli Reactions to Scud Attacks during theGulf War," Grant MH50218 from the NIMH. 1993-1996
- “Social Status and PTSD in U.S. Veterans of theVietnam War,” Grant MH 59309 from the NIMH. 1999-2002
- Grants from anonymous private foundation toexpand above NIMH-supported study. 1999-2004
- “Measurement of Major Stressful Events over the Life Course,” Grant MH 59627 from the NIMH. 2001-2007
- Grants from anonymous private foundation toexpand above NIMH-supported study. 2007- 2011
- Two grants from anonymous private foundationto support development of a monograph on theabove Vietnam research. 2011-2016
From over 150 publications, including five monographs and three edited books:
Bruce P. Dohrenwend, Itzhak Levav, Patrick E. Shrout, Sharon Schwartz, Guedalia Naveh, Bruce G. Link, Andrew E. Skodol, and Ann Stueve, "Socioeconomic Status and Psychiatric Disorders: The Causation-Selection Issue," Science, 1992, 255, pp. 946-952.
Bruce P. Dohrenwend, "Inventorying Stressful Life Events as Risk Factors for Psychopathology," Psychological Bulletin, 2006, 132, pp. 477-493.
Bruce P. Dohrenwend, J. Blake Turner, Nicholas A. Turse, Ben G. Adams, Karestan C. Koenen, and Randall Marshall. "The Psychological Risks of Vietnam for U.S. Veterans: A Revisit with New Data and Methods." Science, 2006, 313, pp. 979-982.
Bruce P. Dohrenwend, J. Blake Turner, Nicholas A. Turse, Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, and Thomas J. Yager, "War-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Black, Hispanic, and Majority White Veterans: The Roles of Exposure and Vulnerability," Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2008, 21, pp. 133-141.
Bruce P. Dohrenwend, Thomas J. Yager, Melanie M. Wall, and Ben G. Adams, "The Roles of Combat Exposure, Personal Vulnerability, and Involvement in Harm to Civilians or Prisoners in Vietnam War-related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder," Clinical Psychological Science, 2013, 1, pp. 223-238.
Bruce P. Dohrenwend, Nick Turse, Thomas J. Yager and Melanie M. Wall, Surviving Vietnam: The Psychological Consequences of the War for U.S. Veterans, New York: Oxford University Press (2019).
Global Health Activities
World Psychiatric Association Section of Epidemiology: Dr. Dohrenwend is a member of the Section Committee.
Urban Health Activities
World Trade Center Health Registry (WTCHR): Dr. Dohrenwend is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board.