Dr. Besser has a strong social awareness and sense of commitment; he places great importance on improving the well-being of others. This sense of commitment to others is also incorporated into his research efforts and is reflected clearly by the topics he pursues. His research is focused in the area of personality and social psychology, specifically, vulnerability factors to depression across the lifespan and interpersonal functioning and relationships. His research topics include: vulnerability factors in postpartum depression; attachment and psychological adjustment in children, adolescents, and mothers; perfectionism; self-esteem; self-criticism/dependency; distress and depression; suicidality; narcissism; Machiavellianism; psychopathy; spitefulness; humor styles; and PTSD. The factors that distinguish Dr. Besser’s work are his creative ability to identify important new research topics and the methodological and statistical sophistication that characterizes his research (SEM, APIM, HLM, nonlinear models, multiple informants, community ecological validated and laboratory manipulated studies). His studies are a good reminder for other researchers of the benefits of a rigorous approach and the need to use methods that go beyond self-report data.
Besser was born on January 26, 1967 in Israel. Dr. Besser earned his B.A. in psychology with honors in 1991, his M.A. in Psychology in 1995, and his Ph.D. in psychology in 2000 – all from the Behavioral Science Department Ben–Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Dr. Besser worked under the mentorship of Dr. David Leiser for his M.A. and Dr. Beatriz Priel for his Ph.D. Dr. Besser is a Certified Specialist in Educational Psychology, on behalf of the Israel Psychological Association and a Mental Health Officer, IDF.
After earning his Ph.D., Dr. Besser worked as a post-doctoral fellow from 2001-2002 at the Department of Psychology, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada, in collaboration with Dr. Gordon L. Flett, Dr. Myriam Mongrain, and others in the field of personality vulnerability to depression. Since 2002, he has been a faculty member in the Department of Human Resource Management and in the School of Social Work, at Sapir Academic College. He is a full professor, the Chairman of the Center for Research in Personality, Life Transitions, and Stressful Life Events and serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. He has edited a book on the psychology of narcissism and authored several book chapters as well as nearly 120 peer-reviewed journal articles in outlets such as Journal of Personality, Personality and Individual Differences, Journal of Research in Personality, American Journal of Psychiatry, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Psychoanalytic Psychology, Journal of Traumatic Stress, Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, and more. He presently serves as an Associate Editor for Self and Identity and as section Editor in BMC Psychology. Dr. Besser serves as Ad-Hoc reviewer and on the editorial board of several journals. His level of productivity is outstanding and he established himself as an exceptional researcher at the international level. In all, his work has been cited over 4,500 times. More importantly, it is evident that he is a person who believes strongly in the applications of psychology and “giving back” to the community.
Dr. Besser’s primary research interests have a consistent theme of personality vulnerability factors which connects most of his research. First, he has published on the links between personality vulnerability of self-criticism and dependency and the transition to motherhood and postpartum depression. He has asked new questions and introduced new research designs, which have reinvigorated a research area that was beginning to lose momentum. Second, Dr. Besser is actively researching links between personality vulnerability factors in the context of exposure to terrorism. For example, he has examined the connections that exposure to terrorism has with phenomena such as PTSD, insecure attachment, pathological narcissism, humor styles, self-esteem, optimism, hope, happiness, and quality of life. Third, Dr. Besser’s most recent research has focused on the relationship between “dark” personality features (e.g., the Dark Triad, spitefulness) have with various outcomes such as moral judgments. In all of his studies, Dr. Besser assumes that personality vulnerability factors are relatively stable individual differences that can be used to predict and understand human behavior, psychopathology, motivations, and emotions in various laboratory and real life situations.
2005 – 2007 Grant #6524 from the Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry
of Education. Social skills shortcomings among children with ADHD associate with difficulties in emotional recognition: The proposal and examination of an explanatory model, conducting and evaluating of an intervention program. With Beatriz Priel.
Weinberg, M., & Besser, A. Exposure to Terrorism in Israel: Dyadic Examination of Resilience/Psychopathology Effects among Two Hundred Victims and their Spouses. PSYCHOLOGY BEYOND BORDERS 2013 MISSION AWARDS. 5000$
 Post-doc student at my center at Sapir in collaboration with Prof. Neria at Colombia University, USA