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Paul H. Mussen, UC Berkeley pioneer in developmental psychology, dies at 78
13 Jul 2000

By Patricia McBroom, Media Relations

Berkeley - Paul H. Mussen, a pioneer in child psychology and a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, for 30 years, died Friday, July 7, at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley after a long struggle with prostate cancer. He was 78.

An early developmental psychologist, Mussen wrote the classic text, "Child Development and Personality"(1956), used as a standard in the field for 30 years, making Mussen the top-selling author for Harper Textbooks for years.

He was among an avant-garde who moved the field from stimulus-response theory to a focus on social interactions between parents and children. His books, including the "Handbook of Child Psychology" (1971), "The Psychological Development of the Child"(1963) and "Roots of Caring, Sharing and Helping" (1977) went through multiple editions and translations.

During a distinguished career at UC Berkeley, from 1956-86, Mussen received a Fulbright Award in 1960 for research in Florence, Italy, and in 1968 was selected as a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford.

At UC Berkeley, he served as director of the Institute of Human Development from 1971-80 and returned from retirement to serve as acting director in 1987.

Mussen lectured and consulted at universities throughout Europe, Egypt, Nigeria, Israel and the Middle East, India, Pakistan, New Zealand and Australia.. Twice invited to Japan, he was one of the first American professors to teach in China following the Cultural Revolution. He later played an active role in revitalizing the formerly suppressed social and developmental programs in Chinese universities.

Born March 21, 1922, in Paterson, New Jersey, Mussen grew up in Willimantic, Conn., and attended the University of Connecticut at Storrs until he received a scholarship to Stanford University in 1939. Joining the U.S. Navy in 1944, Mussen served as an ensign in Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C, Hawaii, and San Francisco.

He completed his PhD in psychology at Yale University in 1949, forming lifelong friendships with fellow students and faculty, including his future collaborator, John Conger. He first taught at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, from 1949-51 and then at Ohio State University in Columbus until 1955, where he met and married Ethel Foladare, a graduate student who earned her PhD at Ohio State.

A source of strength, leadership and support to many in his profession, Mussen served as a member of the children's advertising review unit of the Better Business Bureau for several years, upholding standards of writing and advertising on children's television. He was president of the Western Psychological Association from 1973-74 and the American Psychological Association's division of developmental psychology from 1977-78.

Mussen is survived by his wife, Ethel; daughter, Michele, and her partner, Jim Hart, all of Berkeley; a son, Jim, daughter-in-law, Claudia, and grandson, Jacob, of New York; and a brother, Irwin, and his family, of Berkeley.

At his request, no formal services were held. Amid his beloved collection of books, art and artifacts, facing a view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate, an informal gathering of friends, neighbors, family and colleagues recently voiced affection and esteem for the witty humanist who found time for all.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the UCB-UCSF Joint Medical Program, or to a charity of the donor's choice. Attention: Nina Green, 570 University Hall, Berkeley, 94720-1190, or to the Alta Bates Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2450 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, 94705-9989.



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