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In memoriam: Christopher Peterson

Oxford University Press is saddened to hear of the passing of Christopher Peterson, who died yesterday in his home.

One of the founders of the field of positive psychology, Chris’s focus over the last 15 years had been on the study of happiness, achievement, and physical well-being. His new book, Pursuing the Good Life, is scheduled to be published by OUP this December. He was also author of A Primer in Positive Psychology (OUP 2006) and Character Strengths and Virtues (OUP 2004, with Martin Seligman). His final blog post (on Psychology Today), published on 5 October 2012, was titled “Awesome: E Pluribus Unum / We are all the same, and each of us is unique, in death and in life.”

Christopher Peterson
18 February 1950 – 9 October 2012

Abby Gross is a Psychology Editor at Oxford University Press.

Recent Comments

  1. Kelly Champion

    I am so sad. Chris touched my life and so many lives with hope, strength, humor, and humanity. Chris was humble and open. He truly appreciated people with all their unique strentths, assets, virtues, fears, and pains. Chris’ commitment to science and to people has advanced applied psychology in ways we cannot imagine without his leadership. He has touched so many lives directly and indirectly. All of us who can place Chris in our academic lineage have been blessed by our experience.

  2. Nick Katko

    Four years ago, I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Peterson speak at a University of Michigan conference entitled, “Depression on College Campuses.” What an engaging and erudite man. His keynote address focused on identifying risk and protective factors in clinical depression among university students. Although it was brief (30 minutes), Dr. Peterson’s presentation had a substantial impact on how I understand, educate, and treat clients experiencing depression. I never forgot the kernel he repeatedly delivered (for effect) when summarizing the research literature on depression and interpersonal relationships, “other people matter.” It so elegantly highlighted and reiterated the importance of social supports for persons recovering from depression. As a psychotherapist, I have gotten plenty of mileage out of this quote over the years.

    Brilliant, yet accessible, I think this will partly reflect Peterson’s legacy as a scholar/professor. The psychology community is indebted to him for his prolific, meaningful contributions.

  3. Shannon Polly

    All of Chris’ students have been deeply touched by his work. Some of those students are starting a scholarship in honor of Dr. Chris Peterson…the big hearted prof. who made every student feel like they mattered. It seems fitting that the professor whom his colleagues referred to as “Mother Theresa” would have something that lives on after him to mirror his own generosity.

    If you are interested, you can make contributions online: http://mappalum.org/Donation — mention Chris in the “in Honor of” section.

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