Carnegie Mellon University

Social/Personality and Health Psychology

Our 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.

These faculty routinely train Social/Personality and Health Psychology students:


Gretchen Chapman

Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Professor of Psychology (Courtesy)

Dr. Chapman’s research combines the fields of judgment and decision making with health psychology to investigate methods to facilitate healthy and prosocial behavior such as vaccination and blood donation.


Sheldon Cohen

Robert E. Doherty University Professor of Psychology

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.


Chante Cox-Boyd

Associate Professor of Psychology (Teaching), Faculty Advisor: Psi Chi and Study Abroad

I am interested in the judgments that people make of others and how these judgments can further contribute to social inequality.  I am especially interested in social stigmas and the processing of stereotyping. My goal is to explore how these factors can contribute to a lack of integration of minority groups on campus and how each can impede the success of minoritized groups in an academic domain. 

david creswell

David Creswell

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. 


Kasey Creswell

Associate 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 use, and emphasizes the importance of social and biological/personality factors in the etiology and maintenance of alcohol and tobacco use disorders.


Brooke Feeney

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.


Vicki Helgeson

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.


Kody Manke

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.


Michael Trujillo

Assistant Professor of Psychology

My research is rooted in both the social psychology of stigma and an understanding of the psychobiological pathways linking social stress and health. I have bridged these areas of expertise to create a program of theoretical and empirical work dedicated to understanding and improving the health of stigmatized populations.