department of psychology

306 Chafee Hall, 142 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881

uripsymajor@gmail.com401.874.2193 (p); 401.874.2157 (f)

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Health Psychology Focus Area


The Health Psychology Area has existed informally for the past 30 years as an area of specialization for doctoral study. Our students and faculty have published in every major journal in the area, and health psychology has long been recognized nationally and internationally as an area of strength within the Psychology Department. Health-related research has been supported by more than 60 million dollars in grants from federal, private, and corporate funding sources. Health Psychology as a concentration area is now more formally structured, and our goals, some of our past accomplishments, and more detailed requirements will be described here.


Our major goals are to formalize the existing collaborative arrangements and collective strengths among faculty who have overlapping research and graduate training interests in health psychology so as to:

  • enhance the quality doctoral training we provide
  • increase the number of high quality applicants to the graduate program
  • enhance the recruitment, retention, and support for graduate students
  • write more competitive and collaborative grant proposals
  • increase the justification for additional faculty members
  • create a more exciting and collaborative work environment.

Possible Career Tracks

Graduates from the Health Psychology focus area would be qualified to serve in numerous capacities, including:

  • Academia
  • Methodological Research (e.g. Research Centers)
  • Individual or Group Private Practice
  • Clinician (e.g., Schools, Hospital, Mental Health Facility, etc.)
  • Evaluation Research
  • Policy-Maker
  • And many more…

Student Preparation

Students pursuing a Health focus area are expected to take at least four courses in health psychology or behavioral medicine. The courses need to address and provide opportunities to acquire competencies in each of the major pillars of competence (awareness/attitudes/beliefs, knowledge, and skills) and should be preceded by approval by your committee.

When students prepare for their comprehensive exams, they should ensure that at least one question pertains to health psychology. Alternatively, a published book chapter, journal article, or grant submission in the area of health psychology may fulfill this requirement.
Finally, students are expected to have several research and applied experiences (15 weeks in duration) with a focus on health issues. These could include: Research with faculty, externships, practica, and internships.

Several research groups focus on aspects of health psychology including regular standing open research meetings at the Cancer Prevention Research Center and in individual research teams.

Program of Study

Course Offerings in Health Psychology and Interdisciplinary Health Perspectives:

  • PSY 581 Psychological Aspects of a Healthy Lifestyle
  • PSY 60x Health Psychology
  • PSY 601 Physiological Psychology
  • PSY 625 Psychology of Trauma
  • PSY 635 Transtheoretical Model Applied to Health
  • PSY 643 Multicultural Psychology and Mental Health
  • PSY 672 Individual Clinical Practicum: Behavioral Medicine
  • PSY 692 Directed Readings/Research
  • PSY 696 Practicum in Teaching Psychology (w/ health focus)

Note: Courses are offered on a variable basis.


Focus Area Coordinator:

Mark Robbins (Clinical) – Health disparities and “cultural tailoring” of health promotion and health behavior interventions, decision-making in chronic illness, behavioral medicine

Focus Area Faculty:

Caitlin Burditt (Clinical, Adjunct Faculty) – Behavioral medicine, CBT, integrative medicine
Paul Florin (Clinical) – Community psychology, substance abuse in communities of color
Kathleen Gorman (Behavior Science) – Developmental, hunger and poverty, cross-cultural psychology
Lisa Harlow (Behavior Science) – Friendly science approaches to teaching and increasing women in the sciences; multivariate statistics, methodology, meaning in life, women’s health
Robert Laforge (Behavior Science)
Patricia Morokoff (Clinical – Associate Dean of A&S) – Gender and cultural issues in sexuality, HIV prevention
Andrea Paiva (Behavior Science, Research Faculty) – Health and multiple behavior change, computer tailored interventions, Transtheoretical model, alcohol use
James O. Prochaska (Clinical) CPRC Director – Health and multiple health behavior change, Transtheoretical model, theories and systems in psychology
Colleen Redding (Clinical) – Health and multiple health behavior change, Transtheoretical model, HIV & AIDS prevention
Joseph Rossi (Behavior Science) – Methodology and statistics in behavioral sciences, statistical power, health and multiple health behavior change
Lynda Stein (Clinical) – Incarcerated adolescents, substance abuse
Wayne Velicer (Behavior Science) – Methodology and statistics in behavioral sciences, Transtheoretical model, prevention and change of risky health behaviors in children and adolescents
Lisa Weyandt (School) – ADD/ADHD prevention and treatment, neuroscience

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