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Personal profile


Area of Expertise

The focus of my work is to advance an understanding of social and environmental factors that influence health risk behavior decision-making in order to inform theoretically sound and efficacious substance use prevention efforts for adolescents and young adults. While much of health behavior is planned or rational, often decisions are based on social or situational factors.
My primary area of research explores the etiology of health-risk decision making among adolescents and young adults using a dual-process theory called the Prototype Willingness Model. Within this framework, I examine the role that a variety of social cognitions such as behavioral willingness, prototype favorability, perceived social norms and social comparison play in decisions to engage in health-risk behavior. My research extends the literature on dual-process theories by isolating specific components of the models to better understand the unique roles played in predicting health risk behavior among adolescents and young adults.
My current research aims to address questions related to the utility of including socially-based variables in prevention programming, particularly in respect to social images, social comparison, social norms (peers who abstain from alcohol and peers who use alcohol) and social networking sites. My hope is that my current lines of research will have important implications for refining health behavior theories, developing new clinical interventions and making important public health impacts related to alcohol use and abuse among adolescents and young adults. My program of research has been funded by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD in Applied Social Psychology, George Washington University

BA in Psychology, University of Miami


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