A Tribute to Prof Charles Spielberger

A Tribute to Charles D. Dr. Spielberger, Ph.D., ABPP For 14 Years of Service to the Society of Clinical Psychology

The Society of Clinical Psychology is distinctly pleased to honor Charlie Dr. Spielberger, Ph.D., ABPP for his long, dedicated, and extraordinary service to the division. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Spielberg received his BS degree in Chemistry from Georgia tech after a stint in the U.S. Navy. He then completed the requirements for his BA in Psychology at the University of Iowa. As a graduate student at the University of Iowa, he worked as a research assistant with Judson Brown, Ph.D., I.E. Farber, Ph.D., and Grant Dahlstrom, Ph..D., and was greatly influenced by Hullian Learning Theory and the exceptional teaching of Kenneth Spence, Ph.D. and Gustav Bergman, Ph.D.. He did his internship training at Worcester State Hospital and there was guided by Lesley Phillips, Oscar Parsons, and psychiatrists associated with the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute.

He began his academic career at Duke University with a joint appointment in Psychology and Psychiatry. He served as Chief Psychologist of the Psychiatric Outpatient Clinic and developed the Duke Check List, which provided the foundation for the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). While in the Duke Psychology Department, he secured funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to support his experimental research on verbal conditioning as well as his work on a preventive intervention to alleviate the adverse effects of anxiety on academic performance. He also developed a community mental health program in Wilmington, NC where he consulted with ministers, public health nurses, welfare caseworkers, and high school teachers.

In 1962, he moved to Vanderbilt University as Professor of Psychology and continued his research on verbal conditioning and anxiety. His first book, Anxiety and Behavior, was based on a national conference he convened. While on leave from Vanderbilt at NIMH, he conducted site visits and participated in the evaluation of psychology training programs at more than 100 academic institutions. His next position was as Professor and Director of Clinical Training at Florida State University, where he completed his work on the development and validation of the STAI. The STAI has been translated and adapted in 66 languages and dialects, and used in more than 15,000 archival studies during the past thirty years.

Dr. Spielberger’s active involvement in international psychology was stimulated by spending six months in London at the Florida State University Study Center. In collaboration with Irwin Sarason, Ph.D., Dr. Spielberger obtained a NATO Grant to support an Advanced Study Institute and worked with Sarason and Hans Eysenck, Ph.D. in organizing a conference on “Stress and Anxiety in Modern Life”, convened in Germany. Three additional conferences supported by NATO grants were held in Norway, Italy, and England. Dr. Spielberger spent a sabbatical year as a Research Fellow at The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS). While devoting most of his time to research, he organized two major conferences on “Stress and Anxiety”. Returning to NIAS as a Research Fellow in 1985-86, he organized international conferences on “Health Psychology” and “Stress and Emotion” that were convened at the University of Tilburg and in Budapest/Visegrad.

In 1972, Dr. Spielberger found a permanent home at the University of South Florida. As Professor and Director of Clinical Training, he provided leadership in obtaining APA accreditation for the USF Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. His research contributions were recognized by USF in 1973 as the first recipient of its Distinguished Scholar Award, and by the 1977 Florida Psychological Association’s award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology Theory and Research, the 1985 USF Sigma Xi Award for Outstanding Faculty Researcher, and his appointment as Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology in 1985. He developed the USF Center for Research in Behavioral Medicine and Health Psychology in 1977, served as its Director for the past 25 years, and retired in 2003 as Professor Emeritus.

Although Dr. Spielberger’s career has focused primarily on research, he has also given a high priority to training and professional practice. He is board certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology in Clinical Psychology, and recognized as a Distinguished Practitioner of Psychology by the National Academies of Practice. A fellow of 14 APA Divisions (1, 3, 5, 8, 12, 13, 17, 26, 27, 38, 42, 46, 47, 52), he served as President of Divisions 12, 27 and 52, and received awards from these Divisions for Distinguished Contributions to Clinical, Community, and International Psychology; and Distinguished Contributions to Education in Psychology and to Knowledge and Professional Practice; and Distinguished Lifetime Contributions Awards from Psi Chi, the Society for Personality Assessment, and the Society for Stress and Anxiety Research (STAR). Additional leadership responsibilities have included serving as APA President and Treasurer, and as Chair of the National Council of Scientific Society Presidents and the US National Committee for International Psychology. We are particularly grateful to him for his invaluable 14 years of service to our division. In addition to serving as President, he has represented us with distinction on the APA Council of Representatives for many years. He has done an admirable job as our Treasurer and Finance Chair, helping to ensure that we are fiscally sound. In addition, we appreciate that he has contributed an honorary board member to our Division, Carol, who loyally attends all of our meetings.

For his impressive contributions to psychology both nationally and internationally and for his dedication to our Division, we say THANK YOU.

Nadine J. Kaslow, Ph.D., ABPP
Former President of the Society of Clinical Psychology and Council Representative