Social/Personality and Health P
sychology Graduate Program
Our graduate program focuses on training students to become independent scientists in social/personality and health psychology.
The faculty in this area study how characteristics of our personalities and interpersonal relationships influence relationship functioning, psychological well-being, physical health, and self-regulation (e.g., in the context of addictive behaviors and coping with chronic disease). Our approach places a strong emphasis on identifying the biological, psychological, social, intrapersonal and behavioral mechanisms that explain these relations.
The social/personality and health graduate program
- collaboration with faculty/students in the program
- quantitative skill acquisition
- theory development
- data collection
- open science efforts to encourage replicable research
- cutting-edge measures of health and health behavior
Unique features and strengths of our program include:
- the selection of an advisor and a committee to provide guidance throughout your graduate experience
- encouragement to rotate into at least one other faculty member’s lab during the program
- opportunity to design studies, collect one’s own
data,and develop a program of research
program’s connection to the larger Pittsburgh community which includes University of Pittsburgh programs, area schools, and patient populations
training in observational data collection and coding
experience and exposure to clinical trials/interventions
- access to large longitudinal data sets
This program prepares students well for careers in academia, industry, and other research-related professions. For example, graduates of our program have taken positions as assistant professors in departments of psychology and public health, research institutes, and other industries that value research.
These faculty routinely train Social/Health Psychology Ph.D. students:
Professor of Psychology (Courtesy)
Professor of Social and Decision Sciences
Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology and University Professor
My work focuses on the roles of stress and interpersonal relationships in health and well-being. Experimental laboratory work focuses on establishing the neuroendocrine (hormonal) pathways that link psychological states to alterations in the immune system, while correlational work focuses on identifying neuroendocrine, immune, and behavioral pathways that link stress, personality, and social networks to disease susceptibility.
Associate Professor of Psychology (Teaching)
Associate Professor of Psychology
I study stress and resilience processes. For example, we conduct studies of stress management interventions (e.g., mindfulness) or stress management strategies (e.g., self-affirmation, rewards) to experimentally explore stress and resilience mechanisms in healthy and patient populations.
Assistant Professor of Psychology
I am broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying the development and maintenance of addiction, as well as identifying those who may be particularly vulnerable to addiction. My research focuses on uncovering basic affective and cognitive mechanisms of cigarette craving and alcohol
Professor of Psychology
My research addresses the general question of how close relationships, and specific social behaviors and social interactions occurring within those relationships, facilitate or hinder human thriving. This work considers the immediate and long-term impact of specific social behaviors and social interaction patterns (and related biological processes) on important thriving outcomes such as mental and physical health, relationship health and stability, and goal progress and accomplishment.
Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of Psychology
We study how people adjust to chronic illness, most recently diabetes. With experimental and field research, we focus on the role of interpersonal factors, such as communal coping, on psychological, behavioral, and physical health.
Assistant Professor (Teaching)
I am is interested in social justice and inequality, and in using social psychology to help understand and address the nature and causes of these issues in the real world. My research focuses on social identity, especially in the context of stereotype threat and social psychological interventions.
Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Personality and Health Psychology and Professor of Psychology
Most of my work is encompassed by the phrase “behavioral self-regulation,” which has to do with purpose, goal-directed action. I’m interested in all phases of this process, including how personality factors such optimism impact it and the nature of the processes that unfold when problems in self-regulation occur.