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Sarah D. Pressman

Assistant Professor
Clinical Psychology

Ph.D., 2006, Carnegie Mellon University
Research Areas: Health Psychology

Related Links
Clinical Psychology Program
Clinical Health Psychology

Research Interests

Generally, my research examines the role that positive emotions and social relationships play in influencing health outcomes. I am especially interested in exactly how these factors "get under the skin" to influence our well-being. Pathways that I have examined include physiological processes such as stress hormone reactivity, cardiovascular response, immune system change, as well as health behaviors like sleeping, exercise, and other leisure activities. I also do research on the role of these positive psychosocial factors in buffering the detrimental effects of stress. For example, I am interested in whether happier individuals are better able to handle stress, both from a psychological and a physiological standpoint. I am also very interested in using relationship and emotion markers outside of self-report as predictors of health. Recently I have begun using computerized word encoding of writing as well as facial emotion expression as alternative, unobtrusive methods of understanding individual differences with interesting results. If you would like to get involved with this work either as a research assistant or a graduate student, please get in touch with me. I'm always looking for motivated students to join the lab.

Selected Publications

Pressman, S.D., & Cohen, S. (2007). The Use of Social Words in Autobiographies and Longevity. Psychosomatic Medicine, 69, 262-269.

Cohen, S., & Pressman, S.D. (2006). Positive affect and health. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 122-125.

Pressman, S.D., & Cohen, S. (2005). Does positive affect influence health? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 925-971.

Pressman, S.D., Cohen, S., Miller, G. E., Barkin, A., Rabin, B. S., & Treanor, J. J. (2005). Loneliness, social network size, and immune response to influenza vaccination in college freshmen. Health Psychology, 24, 297-306.

Miller, G., Cohen, S., Pressman, S.D., Barkin, A., Treanor, J., & Rabin, B. (2004). Psychological stress and antibody response to influenza vaccination: When is the critical period for stress, and how does it get inside the body? Psychosomatic Medicine, 66, 215-223.

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