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The Women's Health Psychology Lab

Welcome to the website of Professor Pamela Geller's Women's Health Psychology Lab! Our research focuses on health psychology, specifically women's reproductive health. In addition, we study stressful life events and mental and physical health outcomes and the role of personal and social resources as moderators of stress, within the context of women’s reproductive life events.

Prospective applicants are encouraged to view the frequently asked questions page and to also read about our current research below to gain more information about our lab.

The Women's Health Psychology Lab at the 2014 ABCT Convention

Current Research

Members of our lab are currently pursuing a number of research directions, reflected in graduate students' thesis and dissertation projects, as well as lab-wide studies. Our current lines of research generally pertain to women's health psychology, and include issues related to reproductive health and stressful life events. Below are descriptions of our ongoing research projects.

For information about opportunities to enroll in ongoing projects, please visit our Research Participation page.

Please note: This information was last updated in September 2016.

Mother Baby Connections Program

This is a newly developed interdisciplinary intensive outpatient program serving women with depression, anxiety, and psychological distress during pregnancy and postpartum. Interventions target areas such as symptom reduction, maternal-infant interaction, and relationship with partner (e.g., spouse). Geller is the Co-Director of Mother Baby Connections with Bobbie Posmontier (See: Alexa Bonacquisti, PhD, is the Program Coordinator.

Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit Projects N/IICU at CHOP

Admission into a hospital setting can be a stressful experience for families of neonatal infants. In collaboration with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the Women's Health Psychology Lab is developing interventions designed to provide psychosocial support to parents with infants in CHOP’s Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU). Research assistants may assist in focus groups, provider education, and sibling support groups for families in the CHOP N/IICU. Several projects are ongoing: a psychosocial support group for families, an international survey of NICUs worldwide to determine the type of psychosocial services typically provided by NICUs, a psychosocial training for nurses on how to deal with difficult families in the NICU, consultation services to other members of the CHOP NICU care team, a survey of maternal mental health, and development of a fathers' support group. Related clinical research projects also are in the process of development.

Minority Women’s Experience of Pregnancy Loss

The Pregnancy Loss study is a theory-driven, quantitative investigation of how race/ethnicity affects women's coping strategies after pregnancy loss. This study has several aims: 1) to document the occurrence of grief, depressive, and anxiety reactions following the experiences of miscarriage and stillbirth; 2) to compare these experiences of grief, depressive, and anxiety reactions by gestational length at time of loss; 3) to examine the relationship between psychological distress and women's attributions for the loss, perception of care provided by healthcare professionals and provision of etiological information following loss; and 4) to assess posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology among women who have experienced pregnancy loss. This project is led by Emily Stasko.

Barriers to Treatment among Minority Women with Infertility

This research investigates the myriad psychosocial barriers that prevent minority women from seeking assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment for infertility. The primary goal of this study is to reveal what perceived or genuine obstacles (e.g., financial, cultural, social, or psychological) prohibit minority women from seeking and following through with ART. Research assistants may assist with data collection and will prepare and enter data in SPSS. This project is led by Mona Elgohail.

The Relationship between Depression and Religiosity in Infertile Muslim Women

Infertility is a deeply distressing experience that affects millions of women each year. Many women who experience infertility also suffer from depression. Depressive symptoms may put women at increased risk of experiencing infertility, and may decrease the success rate of infertility treatment. Studies suggest that strong religious beliefs may serve as protective factors that minimize depressive symptoms, as well as lead to better infertility treatment outcomes. However, these connections remain largely unexplored outside of the Christian population. This study aims to better our understanding of the relationship between depression, religiosity, and infertility by investigating the role of religion in shaping the subjective psychological wellbeing of infertile Muslim women. This project is led by Mona Elgohail.

Sexting and Fertility: A Study of Sexual Communication

This project aims to examine the effects of efforts to conceive, sexting, and sexual communication on intimacy and sexual satisfaction among women. Research has shown that sexual satisfaction and intimacy often diminish while trying to conceive a child, especially when struggling with infertility. This project attempts to address this problem while building on the findings of the Sexting and Intimate Partner Relationships Among Adults study, which found that sexting is related to sexual and relationship satisfaction. This project is led by Emily Stasko.

Mindfulness in the NICU

This research project seeks to develop a mindfulness-based stress reduction intervention for parents who have children hospitalized in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. The primary goal of this study is to create a NICU-adapted, manualized mindfulness treatment and determine the acceptability and feasibility of this intervention. Secondary goals include examining the efficacy of stress reduction, promotion of mother-child attachment and increase of psychological resiliency. This project is led by Christina Bricca DiSanza.