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Research in Clinical Health Psychology

Man sitting on a ledge overlooking a city street

Health psychology looks broadly at topics related to health, illness and healthcare, accounting for the behavioral, biological, psychological and social factors that affect them. The psychology department has three faculty labs devoted to health psychology research topics.

Lowe Lab

Michael R. Lowe, PhD, is a professor of psychology in the PhD training program in clinical psychology at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The Program in Eating Disorders and Obesity Research was started by Michael Lowe in 1989. The topics of health psychology research reflected in this program include:

  • the role of weight suppression and dieting in eating disorders
  • weight loss interventions focusing on the home food environment
  • the investigation of “hedonic hunger” and a tool (the Power of Food Scale) to measure it
  • biobehavioral investigations into why within-subject variability in body weight predicts long-term weight gain
  • the use of various biological and neuroimaging assessments to better understand the foregoing domains

Lowe’s research lab consists of several doctoral and masters students, research coordinators and undergraduate co-op students and volunteers.

Current Health Psychology Projects

Health Psychology projects in the Lowe Lab include:

  • Weight history, brain activity to food cues and eating disorder pathology
  • A biobehavioral study of weight suppression, dieting and bulimia nervosa
  • Treatments focused on weight loss and weight loss maintenance in overweight adults

Lowe’s research on eating disorders and obesity has been continuously funded by NIH since 1999. He was an associate editor for the Journal of Abnormal Psychology and an Executive Editor for Appetite. He was a consultant to Weight Watchers from 1991-2014 and a member of their Scientific Advisory Board from 1997-2014. He has been a research consultant to the Renfrew Center for eating disorders since 2005, and a training consultant there since 2012.


Michael Lowe, PhD, Professor of Psychology

Learn more about the Lowe Lab

Nezu Stress & Coping Research Lab

In general, the Nezu Stress and Coping Research Lab is interested in better understanding the deleterious effects of stress on both health and mental health and ways to mitigate negative outcomes. In particular, a good portion of our research focuses on the role of social problem solving as a moderator and mediator of this stress-distress relationship, as well as the efficacy of its associated intervention, Emotion-Centered Problem-Solving Therapy, in reducing psychopathology and health problems. Our current research emphasis focuses on the prevention and treatment of suicidality, particularly among U.S. veterans and college students.

Current Health Psychology Research Projects in the Nezu Stress and Coping Research Lab

  • Assessing differences in social problem solving (SPS) as a function of type of real-world problem and sex
  • Assessing relationships among models of problem solving and their association with mood
  • Assessing the role of SPS as a moderator between emotion regulation and both suicide ideation and deliberate self-harm among undergraduates


Arthur M Nezu, PhD, DHL, ABPP, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology; Professor of Medicine and Community Health and Prevention

Christine Maguth Nezu, PhD, ABPP, Professor of Psychology and Medicine

Visit the Nezu Stress & Coping Research Lab Website

The Women's Health Psychology Lab

The Women's Health Psychology Lab's research focuses on health psychology, specifically women's reproductive health. 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. 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.

Current Health Psychology Research Projects in the Women’s Health Psychology Lab

  • Mother Baby Connections program
  • Newborn/infant intensive care unit projects at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Minority women’s experience of pregnancy loss


Pamela Geller, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology

Learn more about the Women's Health Psychology Lab