Why is it that people who need the most help, often receive the least? Why do illnesses and injuries have such a profound impact on our emotional health? Why are disgust, shame, anxiety, and so many other unpleasant emotions activated in the context of illness? The work done by my students and I in the Health and Stigma Lab at the University of Findlay is trying to answer these and other questions in order to build an understanding of the psychological factors related to the causes and consequences of physical health, illness, and injury. We approach these questions from an empirical mindset and draw on behavioral and biological theories of human psychology.
Of current interest is the strong social stigma that surrounds certain acute and chronic illnesses such as physical injury and obesity. Recent populations of interest include healthcare professionals, college students, and individuals in supervisory roles. We publish our work in peer-reviewed journals, present at national and international conferences, share our work for the benefit of the campus and the community at local presentations, and strive to serve our university and community in volunteer activities.
In the Health and Stigma Lab, we focus on professional development, mentoring, and doing work that will build students’ analytical and interpersonal skills. Students work as research apprentices and junior colleagues as they prepare for careers in business, clinical psychology, counseling, law, medicine, management, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and research.
Current Research Assistants
Lauren is a senior biology major and chemistry minor. She is working toward a career as a physician assistant where she looks forward to using the research skills she’s obtained to offer evidence based care. She has worked on projects investigating health-related stigma in the medical field.
Kylie is a senior psychology major with a focus on clinical and counseling psychology. She is researching health and mental health stigma as well as parenting practices and gender differences.
Gabriella is a psychology major working toward a career in clinical or counseling psychology. She is researching the sometimes-subtle factors that affect stigma such as information about how and why a person became ill or injured.
Tatum is a senior psychology major. She recently completed an experimental study of the effects of images of injuries on viewer sympathy. She is interested in clinical psychology and research focused on the intersections between physical health and autism spectrum disorders, personality disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Jessica is a senior psychology major preparing to apply to graduate programs in occupational therapy. Her work in the lab has focused on how coping with health problems affects occupational and employment outcomes. She is currently working on a study of sick day use and coping.
Recent Lab Alumni
Natalia was a member of the Health and Stigma Lab from 2017 to 2019 when she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Findlay. She presented research on the unhealthy correlates of binge-watching behavior at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana in 2018.
Alex joined the lab in the summer of 2017 and will be beginning her graduate studies in psychology at John Carroll University in fall 2019. Alex presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine New Orleans, Louisiana in 2018. She looks forward to a career in veterans counseling.
Students’ Recent Presentations and Publications
Sanders, Prokop, Yonkers, Hollingsworth, Seibert, and Burmeister J. M. (2019). Emergency Medical Workers' Stigmatizing Attitudes Toward Bariatric Patients. Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.
Prokop, N., Carroccio, J., Sanders, A., Rivetti, D., Parker, C., Lawler, T., & Burmeister, J. M. (2018). Physical health and binge watching. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52. Presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference in New Orleans, LA.
Longstreth, M. E., & Burmeister, J. M. (2018). Stigma and avoidant coping in college students with chronic illness. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52. Presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference in New Orleans, LA.
Sanders, A., Rivetti, D., Prokop, N., Carroccio, J., Parker, C., Lawler, T., & Burmeister, J. M. (2018). Binge Watching: A sedentary behavior associated with increased anxiety and depression. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52. Presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Conference in New Orleans, LA.
Parker, C., Hunt, C., Fadoir, N., Reeb, R., & Burmeister, J. M. (2018). Mindfulness for more: Feasibility of mindfulness with homeless populations. Presented at the annual conference of the American Psychological Association in San Francisco, CA.