Richard M. Ryckman, PhD

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Richard M. Ryckman, PhD

May 19, 1937 - October 26, 2017

Hampden and Bangor - Richard M. Ryckman, 80, died on October 26, 2017, at home in Hampden, Maine. Rick is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 53 years, Leona "Lee"; and their two wonderful sons, Bob and Mark. He also leaves six warm and caring grandchildren: Cailey, Lainey, Maris, Jack, Matthew and Catherine. In addition, he also leaves his first great-granddaughter, Annabelle Rose.
Rick was born on May 19, 1937, in Buffalo, New York, to Herbert C. and Mary (Ventola) Ryckman. At Grover Cleveland High School in Buffalo, the principal awarded Rick a trigonometry pin based on his test score as one of the top students in the city of Buffalo in this area of mathematics; he also earned the Danforth Award in his senior year for outstanding student leadership. Following graduation from high school in 1955, Rick joined the Army and worked as a traffic analyst at the National Security Agency headquarters while stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland for 3 years.
In 1960, he earned an Associate in Arts degree from the City College of San Francisco. He then graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude and was one of 15 students awarded Honors in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1963. Rick then joined the Department of Psychology at the University of Maine in 1967 and earned his doctorate in 1968. He taught and did research and textbook writing at Maine until his retirement in 1999. Departmental members awarded him Professor Emeritus status in 2000. During his tenure at Maine, Rick served on many departmental committees and eventually was named by colleagues as Chair of the Psychology Department from 1984 to 1987. Rick also served as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Kent at Canterbury in Great Britain. He began a research association with Dutch colleagues that lasted for more than 40 years. He held, at various times, the title of Visiting Scholar at Tilburg University and the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. During this period, Rick and Dutch colleagues studied a number of health care issues, including the psychosocial and physical correlates of survival and relapse in cancer patients and physician-patient interactions in diabetes care.
Rick was an important contributor to both personality psychology and social psychology. He produced well over 200 scientific publications, convention papers, and invited addresses in these disciplines. In 2009, Rick was named a Fellow of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. He wrote a Theories of Personality text, published by Cengage Learning, that is currently in its 10th edition and is used by students nationally and internationally. His major research interests were in personality theory and psychometrics. He created four major personality scales (physical self-efficacy, hypercompetition, personal development competition, and competition avoidance) that are still used widely nationally and internationally by scholars. His physical self-efficacy was the most popular scale of its kind used by scientists throughout the world in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, Rick also made important contributions to theory and research in personality and social psychology in areas such as physique stereotyping, occupational stereotyping, increasing sports motivation in college students, attributions by individuals with different personality characteristics to rape victims, identifying value priorities in college students, intrinsic-extrinsic religiosity and psychological health, and the contributions of different competitive orientations to psychological health. All of his scientific research was conducted with colleagues and both graduate and undergraduate students. Rick was an excellent teacher as judged by his student course evaluations on both the undergraduate and graduate levels over a 32-year period and was an inspiration to many students throughout his academic career.
There will be a memorial service 11 a.m. Saturday, November 11, 2017, at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center Street, Bangor, with the Rev. David Gardiner officiating. The family invites relatives and friends to share conversation and refreshments at the Family Reception Center of Brookings-Smith, 163 Center St., immediately after the service. Those who wish to remember Rick in a special way may make gifts in his memory to the University of Maine Foundation to benefit the Richard M. Ryckman Scholarship. Donations may be made online at or by check made payable to the University of Maine Foundation and mailed to: University of Maine Foundation, Buchanan Alumni House, Two Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792. To share a memory or story with Rick's family, please visit their online Book of Memories at
Published on October 30, 2017
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