Scott M. Monroe
William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Psychology
Scott Monroe is internationally renowned in the study of psychopathology, particularly the depressive disorders. His research has centered on the causes of major depression and, more recently, has focused on the more specific problem of recurrence in major depression. Why do approximately half of those who experience an initial depressive episode go on to have many recurrences, while the other half experience few, if ever, another one? Resolving this core issue could substantially impact one of the major public health problems of our time.
As yet, there are no scientifically established causes of major depression, either from within the body or from external factors. Monroe notes, however, that severe life events precede the onset of depression in some 50 to 80 percent of all cases. Thus, these specific forms of stress—in their presence and their absence—may provide clues about the causes, and possible subtypes, of depression. Intriguingly, the strength of the association between the presence of major stress and depression appears to weaken over successive recurrences of the disorder, again suggesting the importance of life stress as a key focal point for research. Monroe’s long-term objective is to discover why some people are prone to repeated recurrences of major depression while others are not, and thereby pave the way for more effective treatments and prevention programs.
A past president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology, a former member of the National Institutes Mental Health Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging Review Committee, and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, Monroe has written or co-written more than 90 articles and book chapters. He currently serves as one of six members of the Committee on Scientific Awards for the American Psychological Association, and is the Chair for 2014-15. Most recently, he received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2014-15) to sponsor his research on depression and its recurrences.
Professor Monroe also has had the good fortune and great honor of mentoring numerous talented graduate students who have distinguished careers in psychology and psychiatry departments, at over a dozen major research universities in the United States and Canada. As testimony to these students’ wide-ranging and significant accomplishments, Professor Monroe is the recipient of the 2015 Mentorship Award from the Society for Research in Psychopathology.
One of four endowed faculty positions bearing the Warren name, this professorship was a gift of the William K. Warren Foundation, which was founded by its Oklahoma oil executive namesake in 1945. Warren’s son, William K. Warren Jr. (’56), is a Life Trustee of the University.