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Stephen L. Ristvedt, PhD

Current Position
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Education and Training
B.A.: Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1981
M.A.: Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1983
PhD: University Of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1989

Areas of Clinical Interest
Health psychology, anxiety disorders, depression, pain management, bariatric surgery


Areas of Research Interests
Symptom appraisal in physical disease,
particularly psychological impediments and cues to seeking diagnosis for signs or symptoms.

Psychological predictors of nonadherence with cancer screening recommendations and medical treatments.

Dispositional and constitutional influences on health-related behaviors.

Sex differences in health and health behavior.

My research has focused on the role of stable dispositional characteristics that are associated with maladaptive health-related perceptions and behaviors. Initial studies found that individuals who scored low on measures of trait anxiety (i.e. who tend to be complacent in the face of threatening situations) took significantly longer than others to recognize the seriousness of developing cancer symptoms and thus seek help. On the other hand, those cancer survivors who scored high on the same measures of trait anxiety (i.e. who tend toward excessive worry and negative rumination) reported significantly poorer quality of life 2-5 years following treatment. Additional research has found that higher endogenous testosterone levels in males are associated with tendencies to minimize the significance of unfavorable health information. Findings from these studies will inform future efforts to educate and motivate the public toward more adaptive health-related behaviors.


Key Publications
Ristvedt SL (2014 Jan). The evolution of gender. JAMA Psychiatry. 71(1): 13-4.  Full Article ->

Ristvedt SL, Pruitt SL, Trinkaus KM (2013 May 28). Appraisal of emerging symptoms of colorectal cancer: associations with dispositional, demographic, and tumor characteristics. J Behav Med.   Full Article ->

Ristvedt SL, Josephs RA, Liening SH (2012). Endogenous testosterone levels are associated with assessments of unfavourable health information. Psychol Health. 27(4): 507-14.  Full Article ->

Ristvedt SL, Trinkaus KM (2009 Nov). Trait anxiety as an independent predictor of poor health-related quality of life and post-traumatic stress symptoms in rectal cancer. Br J Health Psychol. 14(Pt 4): 701-15.  Full Article ->

Ristvedt SL, Trinkaus KM (2008 Nov 1). Sex differences in responding to rectal cancer symptoms. Psychol Health. 23(8): 935-944.  Full Article ->

Ristvedt SL, Trinkaus KM: Psychological factors related to delay in consultation for cancer symptoms. Psycho-Oncology 2005; 14: 339-350.  Full Article ->


Funded Research Projects
NHLBI(PI):Promoting Uptake of a Usual Source of Care among African American Men
NHLBI(Key Personnel):Treatment of Functional Impairment in Patients with Heart Failure and Comorbid Depression