Meg Gerrard, PhD
Research Professor, Social Psychology (PI)
Department of Psychological Sciences
I am a health psychologist specializing in developmental trajectories of health and health-risk behaviors. My primary area of research over the last 15 years has been health risk and health promoting factors of African American adolescents and emerging adults. This research has demonstrated the role of discrimination, and community and familial factors on the developmental trajectories of health risk behaviors. More recently my research has examined cancer susceptibility profiles in young African American adults. Specifically I have created a theoretical model of the integration of psychological and physiological stress response pathways to markers of cancer vulnerability, i.e., smoking, risky sex, elevated BMI, increased inflammation, and reduced telomere maintenance.
I have conducted a number of pilot studies that support a grant proposal to test this model. The proposed study will fund collection of biomarkers of cancer vulnerability in African American young adults. This will allow us to examine the role of psychological and physiological stress responses as mediators of the pathway from early-life stress to cancer susceptibility profiles. This highly collaborative research has the long-term goal of identifying malleable mediators and moderators of these pathways in order to inform intervention programs designed to decrease the adverse effects of early-life stress on cancer vulnerability.
B.A., University of Texas at Austin
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin
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Storrs, CT 06269-1248