PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1984
MA, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1977
My research interests are woven around four general themes. First, how do individuals make medical decisions? In particular, I am interested in the role of persuasive communication theories in explaining how people conceptualize risk information and respond to treatment information. Second, how do individuals respond to life stressors? I am interested in both major life events such as cancer and more chronic, ongoing events such as job stress. This broad theme can encompass quality-of-life research (e.g., which life domains are most affected by a specific medical event?) As well as work and family research (e.g., does stress at work spillover to family life?). Third, what are the social and psychological resources that are important to adaptation to life stressors? I have had a particular interest in self-related variables (e.g., self-esteem, self-concept, personal changes). Fourth, I am interested in the process of how people change their attitudes (including their self-attitudes), beliefs, and behaviors. This can include how they change due to intended events (such as a health communication campaign or information concerning treatment options) and to unintended events (such as an environmental hazard).
Supporting these research interests is a commitment to merging psychological theories and methods with public health problems; I see this task as my major reason for being on the faculty in a school of public health. I am committed to blending the fields of psychology and public health not only in my own research, but also by assisting my students and colleagues in any way possible. I believe that psychology is a core discipline of public health; it touches a broad array of issues and problems that involve human behavior.
Honors and Awards
Delta Omega National Honor Society (1998) The Johns Hopkins University, Department of Health Policy and Management Teaching Award (1996, 1997, 1998) The Johns Hopkins University, Department of The University of California Regents Fellowship (1979-1980) Phi Delta Kappa, Education Honor Society (1975)