J. David Creswell, PhD
Areas of Specialization: Health Psychology, Psychoneuroimmunology, Social Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Social Cognition, and Social Psychology
Interests: Self-regulation, stress and coping, mind-body relationships, behavioral interventions, meditation, research methods, health behaviors (exercise, sleep), and performance enhancement
My research focuses broadly on studying psychological factors and how they influence health and human performance. Currently, I am exploring basic questions about stress and coping through two models of stress reduction. In one line of research, I am examining the stress pathways linking mindfulness meditation training with improved health outcomes. In this work, I am studying how mindfulness meditation can improve clinical health outcomes in patient populations (HIV/AIDS, older adults), and the underlying psychosocial, neural, genetic, physiologic, and stress pathways guiding these effects. For example, I am currently collecting data on a randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation training on functional neural responses to threatening stimuli in a sample of healthy older adults. This study also includes measures of inflammatory mediators, genetic polymorphisms, gene expression, psychological status, working memory, and stress. In other studies, I am exploring the stress pathways of mindfulness in laboratory stress-challenge tasks. In second line of research, I am exploring the stress buffering effects of self-affirmation. These studies consist of laboratory investigations exploring how self-affirmation reduces stress and improves health outcomes.
In summary, my work consists of exploring how psychological processes can be used to understand and improve quality of life, performance, and health in a variety of populations. This work is guided by the assumption that these questions are best addressed by using a variety of experimental methods and measures. The work thus far has been successful because of a strong belief in the strength of multi-disciplinary collaborations among psychologists, neuroscientists, geneticists, microbiologists, and psychiatrists, to name a few.
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