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Social and Health Overview


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Program of Study

The Doctoral Program in Social and Health Psychology offers courses and research training leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. This program is a good choice for students who are interested in a research career in social psychology, health psychology, or the interface between these two disciplines (e.g., application of social psychology theory to health problems). Social psychology focuses on topics such as social comparison processes, social support processes, prejudice and racism, stereotyping, the representation and processing of social experience, social cognition, and social neuroscience.  Health psychology focuses on identifying, evaluating, and enhancing the psychosocial and behavioral factors that promote health, prevent disease, or affect adjustment to disease. Students also have the opportunity to participate in a departmental close relationships concentration that includes faculty members and students in other areas. Students in our graduate program work collaboratively with faculty members on research projects of mutual interest.

A variety of courses are offered so that students can fulfill requirements by selecting the courses that best fit their interests and needs. Within the first three years, students are required to take Statistics.  They also select 3 courses within the Social and Health Area, and three departmental breadth courses. In addition, students have the opportunity to receive training in methodological and quantitative techniques such as structural equation modeling and meta-analysis and they may elect to complete a quantitative concentration. Students may also take courses in other departments of the university. Some students complete a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies. A noteworthy feature of the program is that considerable emphasis is placed on professional socialization. Seminars are offered on topics such as career issues, teaching methods, and grant writing.  Another important feature of our program is its cultural and ethnic diversity.  Every effort is made to recruit members of underrepresented groups.  We strive to integrate cultural and ethnic concerns into all aspects of graduate training.  Students also receive guidance and practice in teaching, including at least two semesters of direct instruction of undergraduates.  A second-year research paper is required. Students are expected to complete a Specialties Project (e.g., literature review, meta-analysis, grant proposal, or research project) and to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. at the end of the third year. The dissertation is ordinarily completed in the fourth or fifth year (see Social and Health Area Requirements for further information).

The Faculty and Their Research

Areas of particular strength in the faculty’s research in social psychology include the study of close relationships in adults and children; prejudice, racism, and stereotyping; and the representation and processing of social experience, motivation, and self-regulation. Faculty research topics in health psychology include the impact of stress on health; the role of social support in dealing with health problems; and women’s health issues, such as coping with breast cancer, pregnancy, or the loss of a spouse.

Antonio Freitas, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Yale, 2002. Social cognition, motivation, self-regulation.

Johanna Jarcho, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., UCLA, 2008.  Neural mechanisms of social rejection, risk factors for social anxiety, eye-tracking and facial expressoin-based decoding of psychopathology, predictors and consequences of peer victimization and aggression.

Sheri Levy, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Columbia, 1998. Development, maintenance, and reduction of prejudice among adults and children; social cognition and prosocial behavior.

Marci Lobel, Professor and Area Head; Ph.D., UCLA, 1989. Stress, coping, and physical health; psychosocial factors in women’s reproductive health; social comparison processes.

Bonita London, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Columbia University, 2006.  Social identity, stereotyping and prejudice, gender- and race-based marginalization, stress and coping, social and motivational factors in academic engagement.

Anne Moyer, Associate Professor; Ph.D., Yale, 1995. Psychosocial issues surrounding cancer risk and treatment, women’s health, research synthesis, research methodology.

Stacey B. Scott, Assistant Professor; Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2009. Stress, emotions, health, lifespan development, longitudinal and intensive measurement designs and analysis.

Everett Waters, Professor; Ph.D., Minnesota, 1977. Social and personality development, parent-child and adult-adult attachment relationships.

Harriet Salatas Waters, Professor; Ph.D., Minnesota, 1976. Social cognitive development, parent-child co-construction of event representations, representation of early experience in memory.

Camille Wortman, (Emerita) Professor; Ph.D., Duke, 1972. Reactions to stressful life experiences, particularly bereavement; role of social support and coping strategies in ameliorating the impact of life stress; others’ reactions to those who experience life crises. 

Associated Faculty in Other Stony Brook Departments

Barbara Burkhard, Ph.D., University at Stony Brook, 1976. Child abuse and neglect.

Peter Caprariello, Ph.D., University of Rochester,  2012. Consumer relationship processes; how consumers spend money pursuing happiness.

Judith A. Crowell, M.D., University of Vermont, 1978. Child and adolescent psychiatry; the attachment system across the life span; parent-child and adult-adult interactions.

Manuel London, Ph.D., The Ohio State University,1974. Performance management, career development, group learning.

Joyce Sprafkin, Ph.D., University at Stony Brook, 1978. Child psychopathology; AHDH; tic disorders; effects of television on child behavior.

Sarah Sternglanz, (Emerita) Ph.D., Stanford University, 1973. Stress, coping, and illness; immune system functioning and health. 

Research Facilities

The Social and Health Area maintains active laboratories with state-of-the-art facilities for research and graduate training. At present, researchers are conducting laboratory and field studies on attachment, reproductive health, close relationships, social neuroscience, stress and coping, social/cognitive development, prejudice, social cognition, academic engagement, volunteerism, meta-analysis, and medical decision making. Social and Health Area faculty members also have affiliations with a number of other departments in the university, including Stony Brook University Medical School.

Financial Aid

Ph.D. students are normally admitted with four years of financial support, which is approximately $17,502 for the 9-month academic year. This funding is associated with teaching or research responsibilities. Social and Health students making good progress receive additional summer funding from sources such as summer teaching assignments, work-study programs, and faculty research grants; summer support currently averages $2,500.

Student Group

The Department of Psychology is one of Stony Brook’s largest graduate departments. More than 600 Ph.D. degrees have been awarded since the program began more than forty years ago.

Student Outcomes

The Social and Health program prepares students who are highly competitive for top research and teaching positions in academic institutions, research organizations, policy institutes, government agencies, and health-care settings. Most students graduate with publications in top journals, including Psychological Bulletin, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Health Psychology, and the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Placements include assistant professor positions at Case Western Reserve University, University of Maryland, University of Vermont, Syracuse University, Cornell Medical School, Penn State University, SUNY Oswego, California State University, Chanel Islands, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Pace University, City University of New York, as well as postdoctoral or research positions at Ohio State University, Yale University, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, the National Institutes of Health, and other institutions.

Location

Stony Brook is located on the North Shore of Long Island in a region of beaches and small historic villages. It is 60 miles east of New York City, conveniently connected by the Long Island Railroad (which stops at the edge of campus). Nearby research facilities at Cold Spring Harbor and Brookhaven National Laboratories provide additional advantages for the scientific community.

The University

Stony Brook University , flagship campus of the SUNY system, is a world-class, student-centered research university. Stony Brook is ranked in the top 1 percent of the world's higher education institutions by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The University has more than 20,000 students, including nearly 8,000 graduate students.

Applying

The application deadline is December 15. The GRE General Test is required; the Subject Test in Psychology is optional. For more information, prospective students can visit http://www.stonybrook.edu/commcms/psychology/. Online applications are required.  They may be submitted online to the Graduate School at http://www.grad.sunysb.edu/admissions/app_info.shtml.  The Department of Psychology requires an additional application page, available on the Web site.

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