My research interests fall within the domains of health and pediatric psychology. Broadly speaking, I am interested in understanding how people cope adaptively with acute and chronic health threats. My research draws on Leventhal’s self regulatory framework, which posits that health threats activate a common-sense understanding of health problems, which then guides ongoing efforts to manage the threat. Within this framework, health threats are activated at both an abstract rational level (e.g., I have high cholesterol which may increase my risk of heart disease) and a concrete emotional level (e.g., feeling fear and distress upon remembering my father’s heart attack). A general goal of my research is to understand not only how people cope to manage the health threat per se (e.g., change diet and exercise habits to lower cholesterol), but also how negative emotions are generated by health threats, how emotions influence health threat representations and coping behaviors, and how emotions are regulated to promote illness management and well-being.
Health and illness occur in the context of daily family life; by understanding these processes, we have the potential to promote better health, better illness management, and better family relationships.
- Parent-child relationships and diabetes management
- Ethnic disparities in diabetes management
- Managing diabetes during adolescence
- Executive functions and illness management; Depression and diabetes.