Engagement With Threatening Health Communications
To address health disparities, one common intervention strategy is to target relevant information to high-risk audiences to increase information access and motivate behavior change. However, I theorize that these efforts can backfire when they elicit identity threat for recipients.
In my primary line of research, I use experimental methodology to test how members of minoritized (versus majority) groups respond to targeted health information when relevance is signaled through their social identities (e.g., their race or weight status). Moreover, I examine how (a) the dimensions on which recipients are targeted (e.g., identities vs health goals), and (b) shifts in social and temporal context (e.g., the New Year’s holiday) can influence responses to targeting. I am currently investigating interventions that improve engagement with targeted health communication and threatening communications more broadly.
Examining Features that Reduce the Efficacy of Health Promotion Efforts and Physician-Patient Communication
In another area of research, I examine factors that undermine health promotion efforts. For instance, I assess processes through which perceived social norms influence health behavior and the extent to which these processes are moderated by social identities (e.g., weight status). In other work, I investigate features of clinical encounters (e.g., inaccurate perceptions of patients' beliefs) that can subsequently undermine physician-patient communication.
In ongoing work, I investigate why racially-discordant interactions between non-Black physicians and Black patients are characterized by worse health outcomes, as well as physician behaviors that may improve the quality of these interactions.
Addressing Disparities in Academic Outcomes
In a third area of research, I investigate gender inequities in academic achievement by examining how environmental factors (e.g., being numerically underrepresented or witnessing discrimination) negatively impact women’s outcomes in STEM settings. These studies inform intervention development by offering insight into additional processes that may undermine belonging and drive women out of STEM settings.
To learn more or discuss ongoing projects, please email me>>
I am the recent recipient of an IU Racial Justice Fund Award with Drs. Eva Pietri and India Johnson. In this work, we investigate the types of organizational messages that may be used to communicate solidarity with the Black community. In particular, we focus on specific features of the message that may foster trust and feelings of identity safety (versus beliefs that these efforts are disingenuous). Although this work is ongoing, I am happy to answer questions via email.