Doctoral Candidate, Social Psychology
Office: 311B Psychology Building
Department of Psychology
University of Florida
P.O. Box 112250
Gainesville, FL 32611
Areas of Interest/Research
My research interests include topics related to health, information avoidance and decision making, and impression management. Through all of my lines of research, my aim is to better understand how people make decisions about potentially threatening information. I am primarily interested in studying the interpersonal influences various audiences may have on one’s information decisions. For example – how do people factor powerful audiences such as health insurance companies into their decisions to seek or avoid important health information? Fear of discrimination or harm from insurance companies or employers, or fear that medical providers might view them negatively may prompt people to forgo medical screenings.
However, insurance companies and employers are not the only audiences people consider when making health decisions. Fear that one’s decision to undergo screening might become public to friends, family, or acquaintances may dissuade screening for sexually transmitted infections, mental illnesses, or other stigmatizing health conditions. I am currently testing the hypothesis that people engage in proactive impression management by avoiding health information when they believe that the information could lead to unfavorable impressions.
The ultimate goal of my research is to inform interventions and policy. I am a basic, theory-driven social psychologist with a strong interest in translating social psychology into behavioral change. As self-presentation literature makes clear, people place a premium on being liked, accepted, and respected, and the pressure to manage impressions and avoid harm can influence health information decisions substantially.
I am a fourth year Ph.D student in working with Dr. James Shepperd. I received my undergraduate degree from Furman University working with Dr. Beth Pontari, and my Master’s degree from University of Florida.