Sarah Pressman is a Professor of Psychological Science at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on the interplay between positive emotions, stress, and health, with a focus on the physiological processes and behaviors that underlie these associations.
Sarah D. Pressman, Ph.D.
4322 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway
Key Research Area
Stress, Positive Emotions, Physiological Pathways (e.g., endocrine, cardiovascular), Health Psychology, Facial Expression, Social Relationships, Positive Health Behaviors (e.g., vacation, sleep)
Generally, my research examines the role that positive emotions and other positive factors play in influencing stress and health outcomes. I am especially interested in exactly how these factors “get under the skin” to influence our well-being and protect us against the harmful effects of stress. Pathways that I have examined include physiological processes such as stress hormone reactivity, cardiovascular response, immune system change, as well as health behaviors like sleeping, exercise, and other leisure activities. I also do research on the role of these positive psychosocial factors in buffering the detrimental effects of stress. For example, I am interested in whether happiness is associated with an improved ability to handle stress, both from a psychological and a physiological standpoint. I am also very interested in using relationship and emotion markers outside of self-report as predictors of health. For example, computerized word encoding of writing, or positive facial emotion expression (e.g., smiling) as alternative, unobtrusive methods of understanding individual differences. More recently, my work has focused on the importance of positive energy restoration (e.g., via vacations and sleep), as well as trying to understand the concept of vigor.
Post Doctoral Fellowship in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
MS and PhD in Social, Personality & Health Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University
BSc (honors) in Biopsychology, Mount Allison University
The STEP (STress, Emotion, & Physical health) Laboratory
Looking to join the Pressman lab? We are always eager to find intelligent and hard working students to volunteer (currently we have no open paid lab positions). You can find more information by going here: http://sarahpressman.wixsite.com/ucisteplab
Prospective Graduate Students
I will be considering taking a new PhD student next year. Interviews are typically in January with a deadline to apply of December 1. You can learn more about our PhD program in Psychological Science here . You can find more information on our FAQ website. I generally do not meet with students prior to them being invited to the University for an interview, but feel free to reach out to my graduate students (listed on the lab website above) or myself with specific questions. You can find information on my current projects on the laboratory website as well.