Lisa G. Aspinwall, Ph.D., Chair

Chair, Professor, Social Psychology, Health Psychology

Contact Information

Office: 804 BEHS
Phone: (801) 587-9021

Research Interests

My research interests include the study of self-regulation (how people plan, control, and revise their own actions as they pursue long-term goals that are important to them) and the roles played by emotions and expectations in this process. Specific areas of interest include future-oriented thinking (optimism, proactive coping, preventive behaviors), positive affect, and the processing of negative events and information.
My current research examines these processes in the context of cancer genetic testing and other health-risk communications that offer people the opportunity to proactively manage cancer risk through prevention and early detection. I am also interested in the different ways in which people think about genetic causes (for example, of mental and physical health outcomes) and whether they are modifiable through behavioral or environmental factors.


Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles (Psychology, 1991)
M.A. University of California, Los Angeles (Psychology, 1988)
B.A. Stanford University (Psychology, 1987)

Selected Publications

Taber, J. M., Aspinwall, L. G., Stump, T. K., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., & Leachman, S. A. (2015). Genetic testing enhances understanding of risk information and acceptance of prevention recommendations compared to family history-based counseling alone. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 740-753.

Aspinwall, L. G., Stump, T. K., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2015). Impact of melanoma genetic test reporting on perceived control over melanoma prevention. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 754-765.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2014). Perceived risk following melanoma genetic testing: A 2-year prospective study distinguishing subjective estimates from recall. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 23, 421-437.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2014). Unaffected family members report improvements in daily routine sun protection 2 years following melanoma genetic testing. Genetics in Medicine, 16, 846-853.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J. M., Leaf, S. L., Kohlmann, W., & Leachman, S. A. (2013). Melanoma genetic counseling and test reporting improve screening adherence among unaffected carriers 2 years later. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 22, 1687-1697.

Aspinwall, L. G., Brown, T. R., & Tabery, J. (2012). The double-edged sword: Does biomechanism increase or decrease judges’ sentencing of psychopaths? Science, 337, 846-849.

A related article is forthcoming:
Brown, T. R., Tabery, J., & Aspinwall, L. G. (May 2016). Understanding validity in empirical legal research: The case for methodological pluralism in assessing the impact of science in court. Hastings Law Journal, 67(4).

Aspinwall, L. G., & Tedeschi, R.G. (2010). The value of Positive Psychology for Health Psychology: Progress and pitfalls in examining the relation of positive phenomena to health. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 4-15.

My current graduate students

Tammy Stump
Dexter Thomas
Emily Scott
Danielle Drummond