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Marci Lobel, Ph.D.

University of California, Los Angeles (1989)
Professor, Social and Health Psychology

Dr. Lobel plans to admit a new graduate student pending approval of funding.


Office: Psychology B-222
Phone: (631) 632-7651

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Research Interests:

Using social psychological theory to understand stress, coping, and health, particularly reproductive health. Also, research on social comparison processes, focusing on the ways that people coping with stress use social comparison to improve their emotional state and preserve positive self-views.

Current Research:

Because pregnancy entails life changes which affect the emotions, behaviors, and physical condition of pregnant women, it represents a rich arena for the study of stress, coping, and their effects.  My research focuses primarily on prenatal maternal stress (PNMS) and its impact on birth outcomes (such as birthweight and gestational age at delivery).  As part of a set of federally-funded investigations that I direct known as The Stony Brook Pregnancy Project, my graduate students and I are examining factors that exacerbate or attenuate the impact of PNMS on birth outcomes, including health behaviors, coping, socioeconomic status, ethnicity or race, and optimism.  In addition, I work with teams of investigators in Iowa, Virginia, and Florida to examine the impact of domestic violence in pregnancy, and to evaluate interventions for socioeconomically disadvantaged pregnant women.  I also conduct basic research on social comparison processes, examining ways that pregnant and non-pregnant individuals use social comparison to cope with stress, and how our self-views influence our selection of social comparison targets. 

Book Chapters and Invited Articles:

Auerbach, M.* & Lobel, M. (In Press).  Failed control of health behaviors. In K. Sweeny & M. Robbins (Eds.),  Encyclopedia of Health Psychology. Wiley.

Lobel, M. & Dunkel Schetter, C. (2016).  Pregnancy and prenatal stress.  In H. S. Friedman (Ed. in Chief),  Encyclopedia of Mental Health, Second Edition (Vol 3, pp. 318-329).  Waltham, MA: Academic Press.  doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-397045-9.00164-6

Dunkel-Schetter, C., & Lobel, M. (2012).  Pregnancy and birth outcomes: A multi-level analysis of prenatal stress and birth weight.  In A. Baum, T. A. Revenson, & J. Singer (Eds.), Handbook of Health Psychology, Second Edition (pp. 431-463). NY: Psychology Press.

Cannella, D. T.,* Hamilton, J. G.*, & Lobel, M. (2010).  Teaching and Learning Guide: Psychosocial Perspectives on Pregnancy.  Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4(2), 159-163.

Representative Publications:

(*Graduate Student, **Undergraduate)

Nicoloro­-SantaBarbara, J.*, Rosenthal, L.*, Auerbach, M.*, Kocis, C., Busso, C.**, &  Lobel, M. Patient­-provider communication predicts lower distress and better self-care in pregnancy. In press, Social Science and Medicine.

van Willenswaard, K. C.,* Lynn, F., McNeill, J., McQueen, K., Dennis, C-L., Lobel, M., & Alderdice, F. (2017). A systematic review and meta-analysis of music interventions to reduce stress and anxiety in pregnancy. BMC Psychiatry, 17:271.

Nicoloro­-SantaBarbara, J.*, Lobel, M., & Bocca, S., Stelling, J., & Pastore, L. M. (2017). Psychological and emotional concomitants of infertility diagnosis in women with diminished ovarian reserve or anatomical cause of infertility. Fertility and Sterility, 108 (1), 161-167.

Nicoloro­-SantaBarbara, J.*, Lobel, M., & Wolfe, D. (2017). Psychosocial impact of mast cell disorders: Pilot investigation of a rare and understudied disorder.  Journal of Health Psychology, 22 (10), 1277-1288.

Auerbach, M.*, Nicoloro, J.*, Rosenthal, L.*, Kocis, C., Weglarz, E.**, Busso, C.**, & Lobel, M. (2017). Psychometric properties of the Prenatal Health Behavior Scale in mid- and late pregnancy.  Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 38 (2), 143-151.

Rosenthal, L.* & Lobel, M.  (2016). Stereotypes of Black American women related to sexuality and motherhood.  Psychology of Women Quarterly, 40(3), 414-427.

Hamilton, J. G.* & Lobel, M.  (2015). Psychosocial factors associated with risk perceptions for chronic diseases in younger and middle-aged women. Women & Health, 55 (8), 921-942.

Woods-Giscombé*, C. L., Lobel, M., Zimmer, C., Wiley Cené, C., & Corbie-Smith, G. (2015). Whose stress is making me sick? Network stress and emotional distress in African American women.   Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 36 (9), 710-717.

DeLuca, R.S.* & Lobel, M. (2014). Diminished control and unmet expectations:  Testing a model of adjustment to unplanned cesarean delivery.  Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 14 (1), 183-204. Online:

Auerbach, M.,* Lobel, M., & Cannella, D.* (2014). Psychosocial correlates of health-promoting and health-impairing behaviors in pregnancy.  Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 35 (3), 76–83. DOI: 10.3109/0167482X.2014.943179

Whitaker-Azmitia, P. M., Lobel, M., & Moyer, A. (2014). Low maternal progesterone may contribute to both obstetrical complications and autism. Medical Hypotheses, 82, 313-318.Online:

Cannella, D.,* Auerbach, M.,* & Lobel, M. (2013). Predicting birth outcomes: Together, mother and health care provider know best.  Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 75, 299-304.

Cizmeli, C.,* Lobel, M., Franasiak, J., & Pastore, L. (2013). Levels and associations among self-esteem, fertility distress, coping and reaction to potentially being a genetic carrier in women with diminished ovarian reserve.  Fertility and Sterility, 99(7), 2037-2044.

Grey, N. E.,* Lobel, M., & Cannella, D. T.* (2013). Something to chew on: Psychosocial factors associated with oral health practices.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, E13-E22.

Exline, J. J.*, Zell, A. L.*, & Lobel, M. (2013). Sidestepping awkward encounters: Avoidance as a response to outperformance-related discomfort.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, 706-720.

Rosenthal, L.*, Levy, S. R., London, B., Lobel, M., & Bazile, C.** (2013). In pursuit of the MD: The impact of role models, identity compatibility, and belonging among undergraduate women. Sex Roles, 68, 464-473.

Alderdice, F., Lynn, F., & Lobel, M. (2012). A review and psychometric evaluation of pregnancy-specific stress measures. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 33(2),  62-77. doi: 10.3109/0167482X.2012.673040

Coussons-Read, M. E., Lobel, M., Carey, J. C., Kreither, M. O., D’Anna, K., Argys, L., Ross, R. G., Brandt, C. & Cole, S. (2012). The occurrence of preterm delivery is linked to pregnancy-specific distress and elevated inflammatory markers across gestation.   Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 26(4),  650-659.

Hamilton, J. G. & Lobel, M. (2012). Passing years, changing fears? Conceptualizing and measuring risk perceptions for chronic disease in younger and middle-aged women.   Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 35(2),  124-138. doi:10.1007/s10865-011-9342-8

Darlow, S. D. & Lobel, M. (2012). Smoking behavior and motivational flexibility in light and heavy smokers.   Addictive Behaviors, 37,  668-673. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2012.02.001

London, B., Rosenthal, L., Levy, S. R., & Lobel, M. (2011). The influences of perceived identity compatibility and social support on women in non-traditional fields during the college transition.   Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 33(4),  304-321.

Rosenthal, L. & Lobel, M. (2011). Explaining racial disparities in adverse birth outcomes: Unique sources of stress for Black American women during pregnancy. Social Science and Medicine, 72,  977-983.

Cannella, D., Lobel, M., & Monheit, A. (2010). Knowing is believing: Information and attitudes towards physical activity during pregnancy.  Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 31(4),  236-242.

Current Research Support:

“Gendered Racism and Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Adverse Birth Outcomes,” National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  Co-Investigator.  Submitted.

“Contributors to Couples' Decision-Making on Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss or Single Gene Defects,” National Human Genome Research Institute. Co-Investigator. Submitted.

"Neurodevelopmental Characterization of Behavioral Disinhibition Pathways: Mapping and Modifying the Contribution of Early Life Stress," National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  Consultant.  Submitted.

“FMR1 CGG Repeats in Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Women vs Two Comparison Groups," National Institutes of Health.  Subcontract Investigator.   

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