Department of Psychology

Health Psychology Lab

Jason C. Levine, Ph.D.
Director
The Health Psychology Laboratory

My laboratory, the Health Psychology Laboratory, is committed to using a biopsychosocial approach to understand psychosocial phenomenon.  I conduct basic experimental research and treatment outcome studies in order to understand physiological, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral factors involved in psychopathology and chronic medical conditions (e.g. diabetes).   I often use non-invasive measures of peripheral physiology (e.g. ECG, ICG, SCL), with an emphasis on cardiovascular functioning.

My lab-based research interests include cardiovascular psychophysiology of stress and coping, and self-management of chronic illness (e.g., diabetes, CVD).  I am open to students interested in branching-out a bit and integrating what we are already doing in the lab into other relevant and important questions (e.g., predictors and/or moderators of health behavior change, coping, emotion regulation, cyberpsychology, suicide, moral psychology). I have outlined below three primary lines of research and noted several topical areas subsumed under each. 

CARDIOVASCULAR PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY OF STRESS AND COPING

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:  In recent work I have attempted to understand how heart rate variability interplays with emotion regulation processes and perseverative thinking (i.e. worry and rumination) in the context of generalized anxiety disorder.  The aim of this research is to identify underlying biological processes that contribute to and maintain anxiety.

Values Clarification and Coping:  My lab is currently investigating the influence of "values clarification" on acute and prolonged stress responses. Values clarification is an integral component of several third wave behavior therapies, and clinical behavior analysis, yet research is quite limited in understanding how values clarification relates to psychological and physiological outcomes.

Emotion Regulation:  My Lab has conducted several studies examining emotion regulation processes in healthy and psychiatric populations.  For example, we investigated subgroups of treatment-seeking patients with GAD and comorbid MDD, who cluster together on baseline measures of emotion regulation and experiential avoidance. Further, we are interested in how these latent classes relate to treatment outcome.  In the lab we investigated the impact of emotion regulation on physiological and subjective indicators of stress reactivity during positive and negative affect states in individuals with GAD.

Social Connectedness:  We are currently examining how GAD impacts social relationships and manifests during different types of social engagement. 

 

SELF MANAGEMENT OF CHRONIC HEALTH CONDITIONS

We are interested in understanding salient processes involved in self-management of chronic illness (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer). We conduct survey research examining how patients understand and think about their disease, and how this influences their behavior and health outcomes.

Type 2 diabetes:  I investigate the role of self-regulatory cognitive and behavioral factors involved in type 2 diabetes (T2DM).  Research in my lab is interested in identifying factors that promote or impede self-management of diabetes.  Recently the Lab has investigated the relationships between illness perceptions (BIPQ) and objective glycemic control (HbA1c) in a primary care medical population.

Cardiovascular disease:  Our lab is interested in the relationships between psychosocial factors, coping, and cardiovascular disease. We collect ongoing data on patients undergoing phase 2 of cardiac rehabilitation.

Cancer:  We are currently examining the role of psychological flexibility (and its processes) in the relationship between depression/anxiety and engagement in health behaviors. 

 

MORAL PSYCHOLOGY:  This is a new area of interest for me. I am looking to investigate the psychological basis of morality, ethics, personal values, character, and identity; specifically the causes and conditions that influence these constructs and their relations with well-being and social connectedness. 

 

For more information on the Health Psychology Lab please visit their website: Toledo Health Psychology Lab

The Health Psychology Lab is also part of the University of Toledo Anxiety and Stress Lab: hhtp://ut-anxiety-stress.webbly.com

Dr. Levine and the Health Psychology Lab also run the Cardiac Behavioral Medicine Service at the University of Toledo Medical Center, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine - Cardiac Rehab:  http://uthealth.utoledo.edu/clinics/cardiacrehab/cardiac-behavior-medicine.html

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If you are interested in applying to my lab group as a Ph.D. student:

I am looking for bright, motivated, conscientious students with very a strong commitment to science, good research experience, and solid academic training. Interested students should contact me directly by email.

Graduate students that are typically well suited for the Health Psychology Lab will be interested in obtaining a balanced clinical and research-based training experience. Students will learn to apply the scientific method to both research and practice, a true implementation of the scientist-practitioner model. Students may be interested in ultimately pursuing a career with an emphasis on clinical service delivery and/or teaching, including an academic clinical position (e.g., academic medical center or medical school), Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, or primary care behavioral health setting.

**The Health Psychology Lab will interview prospective graduate students this year for admission starting the 2020-2021 academic year. Please visit the clinical psychology application procedures website for additional information: University of Toledo Clinical Psychology Graduate Program Application Procedures

Last Updated: 10/30/19