Lisa G. Aspinwall, Ph.D.

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.


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

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.

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., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2013). Perceived risk following melanoma genetic testing: A 2-year prospective study distinguishing subjective estimates from recall. Journal of Genetic Counseling. Electronic publication date, December 10, 2013.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J. M., Leaf, S. L., Kohlmann, W., & Leachman, S. A. (2013). Genetic testing for hereditary melanoma and pancreatic cancer: A longitudinal study of psychological outcome. Psycho-Oncology, 22, 276-289.

Aspinwall, L. G., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2012). Meaning and agency in the context of genetic testing for familial cancer. In P.T.P. Wong (Ed.), The Human Quest for Meaning: Theories, Research, and Applications (2nd Edition, pp. 457-494). New York: Routlege.

Aspinwall, L. G. (2011). Future-oriented thinking, proactive coping, and the management of potential threats to health and well-being. In S. Folkman (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Stress, Health and Coping. New York: Oxford University Press (pp. 334-365).

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