Five years on: A message from the director of APA’s Office on SES

Keyona King-Tsikata, MPH, reflects on five years of the OSES, introduces this issue’s theme and guest editor

Dear friends and colleagues of the office and committee,

Welcome to the fifth volume of the SES Indicator. Coincidentally, this year marks the fifth anniversary of the Office on Socioeconomic Status (OSES).

The history of the OSES really began in 2003 with the submission of a new business item to the APA Council of Representatives by Bernice Lott, PhD, and Irma Serrano-Garcia, PhD, then representatives of Division 9, the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI). It recommended the formation of a committee “to function as the primary coordinator of the issues regarding socioeconomic status (SES).” Two years later, in 2005, the APA Task Force on SES was formed and set in motion the foundation that created the Office and Committee on SES. Here’s a look at the Task Force’s 2007 report (PDF, 518KB).

With the United States and much of the world experiencing economic shortfalls and high rates of unemployment, this is an opportune time to explore psychology’s role in alleviating the negative mental health effects of unemployment and economic security. Two economists from Washington & Lee University in Virginia, Dr. Timothy Diette and Dr. Arthur Goldsmith, will detail in this issue how long-term unemployment impacts mental health outcomes.

We have plans of releasing materials more often that we hope you will find informative and thought-provoking in understanding how issues related to SES impact lives. We also plan to release an online resource list within the next few weeks, as well as a resource page about measuring SES. Lastly, we continue to increase our use of social media platforms such as APA’s Facebook page, Twitter feeds and online web chats. Stay tuned! 

Keyona King-Tsikata, MPH
Director, Office on SES