Professor, Psychological Science
School of Social Ecology
School of Medicine
Professor, Public Health
Ph.D., Northwestern University
Phone: (949) 824-2192
Fax: (949) 824-3002
University of California, Irvine
Psychology and Social Behavior
4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Mail Code: 7085
Irvine, CA 92697
coping with traumatic life events (personal losses and collective traumas)
2012, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ Distinguished Mentorship Award
2011, American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest (Senior Career)
2011, American Psychological Association Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Trauma Psychology
2011, Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, University of California, Irvine (inaugural award recipient)
2010, International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ Public Advocacy Award for “outstanding and fundamental contributions to advancing social understanding of trauma”
2007, American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science
2001, UC Irvine’s Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award for Teaching
Fellow, Association for Psychological Science; Fellow, American Psychological Association Division 8 (Society for Personality & Social Psychology), Division 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), Division 38 (Health Psychology), and Division 56 (Trauma Psychology)
At some point, most people encounter stressful events that can have a major impact on the course and direction of their lives. They or those they love may be confronted with a disabling accident, serious illness, death, or violent crime. In my work, I attempt to investigate systematically the acute and long-term reactions to these personal traumas, as well as the impact of larger community disasters such as terrorist attacks, earthquakes or firestorms, school shootings, and war. I seek to identify individual, social and societal factors that facilitate successful adjustment to stressful life events and to identify myths concerning the coping process. I also explore the long-term physical, cognitive, emotional, and social effects of traumatic experiences and consider the impact of beliefs and expectations of one's social network on the adjustment process. Finally, my research examines predictors of individual and community resilience, as well as collective responses to disaster.
I was principal investigator of a multi-year longitudinal study of the national impact of the September 11th terrorist attacks on mental and physical health, and recent interdisciplinary research examined the political impact of the psychological response to the threat of terrorism and responses to turbulence in our society (e.g., the economic meltdown). I currently oversee three research projects, in collaboration with current and former students and national and international colleagues: a study on resilience and vulnerability following repeated natural disasters in Java, Indonesia (in collaboration with Psychology Beyond Borders, an international nonprofit organization for which I serve on the Board of Directors), a study of a nationally representative sample of over 2000 adults following the massive 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in February, 2010 in Chile (with colleagues at the Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago), and a national study of the April, 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings. I recently oversaw a multidisciplinary project to develop a quantitative index of the psychosocial impacts of natural and human-caused disasters (including health, social functioning, and political attitudes) through the use of vital statistics, archival and administrative information, and other secondary sources of data (in collaboration with Fran Norris from Dartmouth Medical School).
Please see link to PSB Faculty Webpage for updated publication listing.