Marie Jahoda
Marie Jahoda was an Austrian
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....

- British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 social psychologist
Social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all...



Jahoda was born in Vienna, Austria to a Jewish family, and like many other psychologists of her time, grew up in Austria where political oppression against socialists was rampant henceforward Dollfuß claimed power. Starting in her adolescent years she became engaged in the socialist party. This was a major influence on her life. Nowadays she is (among many others) considered as Grande Dame of European socialism. In 1928 she earned her teaching diploma from the Pedagogical Academy of Vienna, and in 1933 earned her Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 in Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 from the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

. Together with her husband Paul Lazarsfeld
Paul Lazarsfeld
Paul Felix Lazarsfeld was one of the major figures in 20th-century American sociology. The founder of Columbia University's Bureau of Applied Social Research, he exerted a tremendous influence over the techniques and the organization of social research...

 and Hans Zeisel, she wrote a now-classic study of the social impact of unemployment on a small community: Die Arbeitslosen von Marienthal (1932; English ed. 1971 - Marienthal: the sociography of an unemployed community - paperback by Transaction Publishers in USA, 2002). Marienthal was an industrial district that suffered very high levels of unemployment in the 1920s , and the research team examined the (often devastating) psychological consequences. These went beyond the obvious hardships associated with financial deprivation, and Jahoda concluded that in modern industrial societies work provides important social benefits, including a sense of personal worth, connection with wider social objectives, and a time structure to their days and weeks.

In 1937, after a period of imprisonment by the austro-fascist regime, Jahoda fled Austria, staying in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In 1946 she arrived in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. During her time there, she worked as a professor of social psychology at the New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 and a researcher for the American Jewish Committee
American Jewish Committee
The American Jewish Committee was "founded in 1906 with the aim of rallying all sections of American Jewry to defend the rights of Jews all over the world...

 and Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

. She contributed significantly to the analysis of the Authoritarian Personality
Authoritarian personality
-Historical Origins:Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson and Sanford compiled a large body of research and theory , which attempted to characterize a personality type that described the “potentially fascistic individual”...

. Between 1958 and 1965, at what is now Brunel University
Brunel University
Brunel University is a public research university located in Uxbridge, London, United Kingdom. The university is named after the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel....

, she was involved in establishing Psychology degree programmes including the unique four-year, "thin-sandwich" degree. Jahoda founded the Research Center of Human Relations, and was recruited by the University of Sussex
University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is an English public research university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. The University received its Royal Charter in August 1961....

 in 1965, where she became Professor of Social Psychology. Later at Sussex University she became consultant, and then Visiting Professor, at the Science Policy Research Unit.

In 1958 she developed the theory of Ideal Mental Health. Through her work Jahoda identified five categories which she said were vital to feelings of well-being (1982, 87). These were: time structure, social contact, collective effort or purpose, social identity or status, and regular activity. She maintained that the unemployed were deprived of all five, and that this accounted for much of the reported mental ill-health among unemployed people. In the 1980s, when unemployment levels were again high, this approach was rather influential, and her Marienthal studies attracted renewed interest: she made many presentations on this topic in Europe. She was at that time working at the Science Policy Research Unit, where she had also contributed substantially to the Unit's work on innovation and futures studies - most visibly in the coedited study by Christopher Freeman
Christopher Freeman
Christopher Freeman was an English economist, the founder and first director of Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Sussex, and one of the most eminent modern Kondratiev wave and business cycle theorists...

 and Marie Jahoda (eds) 1978, World Futures: the Great Debate (published by Martin Robertson in the UK). She continued her interest in psychology with the 1977 study Freud and the Dilemmas of Psychology (Hogarth Press), and was coeditor of Technology and the Future of Europe: Competition and the Global Environment in the 1990s with Christopher Freeman
Christopher Freeman
Christopher Freeman was an English economist, the founder and first director of Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Sussex, and one of the most eminent modern Kondratiev wave and business cycle theorists...

, Keith Pavitt
Keith Pavitt
Keith Pavitt was an English scholar in the field of Science and Technology Policy...

, Margaret Sharp and William Walker (Thomson Learning, 1991).

Family life

In 1927 she married Paul Felix Lazarsfeld with whom she had her only child Lotte Franziska (* 1930)- who became a professor of management at M.I.T.. In 1934, she divorced Lazarsfeld, who had been involved with Herta Herzog
Herta Herzog
Herta Herzog-Massing was an Austrian-American social scientist specializing in communication studies. Her most prominent contribution to the field, an article entitled "What Do We Really Know About Daytime Serial Listeners?", is considered a pioneering work of the uses-and-gratifications approach...

 since 1932. After she returned to the UK in 1958 she married the Labour
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 politician Austen Albu
Austen Albu
Austen Harry Albu was a British Labour Member of Parliament for Edmonton. He first won the seat at a by-election in 1948, and held it until his retirement at the February 1974 general election...


Ideal Mental Health

Marie Jahoda, in 1958, devised a list of characteristics which are present in the majority of people who are regarded as normal. Known as Ideal Mental Health, these were:
  • Efficient self perception
    Self-perception theory
    Self-perception theory is an account of attitude change developed by psychologist Daryl Bem. It asserts that people develop their attitudes by observing their behaviour and concluding what attitudes must have caused them. The theory is counterintuitive in nature, as the conventional wisdom is that...

  • Realistic self esteem and acceptance
  • Voluntary control of behaviour
  • True perception of the world
  • Sustaining relationships and giving affection
  • Self direction and productivity

Major publications

in addition to those cited above - Marienthal; Current concepts of positive mental health; World Futures, Technology and the Future of Europe, Freud and the Dilemmas of Psychology - her major publications include:
Research Methods in Social Relations by Claire Selltiz; Marie Jahoda; Morton Deutsch; Stuart W. Cook (1964)

Studies in the Scope and Method of The Authoritarian Personality: Continuities in Social Research by Richard Christie & Marie Jahoda (1954)

Research Methods in Social Relations - With Especial Reference to Prejudice by Marie Jahoda (1952)

Work, employment and unemployment: An overview of ideas and research results in the social science literature by Marie Jahoda (SPRU occasional paper series, University of Sussex, 1980)

Thinking About The Future - A Critique Of The Limits To Growth (published in the USA as Models of Doom) by H S D Cole, Christopher Freeman, Marie Jahoda, and Keith Pavitt (Sussex University Press, 1973)

Ich habe die Welt nicht verändertby Marie Jahoda (2002, Julius Beltz GmbH)
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