Leslie_Acana2_CROPLeslie Acuna, B.S. Leslie is a first year student in the Health Behavior Research and Evaluation Masters Program. She has worked in Case Management for VA Medical Compensation and Pension. She is eager to participate in research surrounding various aspects of health persuasion. Her fields of interests within healthcare include: chronic and genetic disability management, reproductive health in women, and overall health management in young adults. She is also interested in the relationship dynamics between providers, staff, patients, and vendors as well as their interactions and accessibility within larger healthcare entities.

Alexis Alabastro, M.A. Alexis examines resistance to social influence and persuasion, and holds a strong interest in research methodology and statistical analysis. Her current research includes a study on persuasive sarcasm, minority influence, and the black sheep effect. She also collaborates with other research assistants to investigate components involved in adolescents’ resistance to persuasive anti-drug campaigns and is responsible for designing and executing research using the National Survey of Parents and Youth (NSPY).


Blazek, DanielleDanielle Blazek: Danielle is a second-year doctoral student in the basic and applied social psychology program.  She is interested in organ donation.  More specifically, she is interested methods to increase rates of organ donor registration.  Her current research is focused on distinguishing between discrete positive emotions and their effects on donor registration outcomes.



Candice D. Donaldson, M.A. Candice is a Ph.D. student in the applied social psychology program, specializing in health behavior. She is interested in topics such as motivation, attitude change, persuasion, health behavior change, and substance use. She is currently the Project Manager on a grant funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that is focused on understanding and overcoming adolescent resistance to anti-marijuana ads by tailoring persuasive appeals based on characteristics of the message receiver.


Sara Hollar, M.A. Sara is a Ph.D. student in Social Psychology. She’s currently studying the effects of goal disruption, as well as messages that may increase help seeking among people with depression.



Lori Garner, M.A. Lori’s research focuses primarily on risk perception and applying social psychological principles in the development of risk-moderating messages. Specifically, she studies risk perceptions regarding and subsequent decision making about health and prosocial behaviors such as organ donation registration. She also studies the role of social context on risk perceptions and behavioral responses to threat.


Amanda Keeler, M.A. Amanda is interested in applying social psychological theories to health promotion. Her current research focuses on encouraging depressed Hispanic populations to seek help from their loved ones by addressing common barriers such as stigma, efficacy, and behavioral capabilities. In addition, she is interested in HIV education and prevention for at risk populations.


Chris Lamb, M.A. Chris is most interested in interpersonal dynamics and how our social relationships influence our attitudes and behaviors (e.g. how parent expectancies can influence youth marijuana use); he is also interested in the application of research exploring prominent social issues, health behavior, and education. Chris is currently exploring how people conceptually understand marriage and the malleability of attitudes toward same-sex marriage. He is concluding an international study exploring the attitudes toward adoption of students in Europe and the United States training in the applied sciences.


Elena A. Lyrintzis, M.A. Elena is interested in applying social psychological principles to health behaviors, specifically the nonmedical use of prescription drugs. Her other research interests include motivation, state-based change, and systemic attitudes.



MillerStephenStephen Miller, M.A. Stephen is an advanced PhD student in the social psychology program at Claremont Graduate University.  His research interests focus on attitudes, outcome expectancies, and adolescent health behavior.  Specifically, he has worked on examining the psychosocial correlates to adolescent substance abuse for both licit and illicit substances.  Recently, he has published on the connection between parent cannabis use and child cannabis initiation.  He works under the mentorship of Dr. Jason Siegel and Dr. William Crano as a member of the Health Psychology and Prevention Science Institute at Claremont Graduate University.


Mario Navarro, M.A. is interested in health behavior and health promotion specifically in the realm of organ donation. His research interests include attitude-behavior consistency and purposive behavior within the total adult population and familiasm and abnegation within Hispanic populations.



Andrea L. Ruybal, M.A. Andi is a PhD student of Social Psychology and Health Behavior Research. She is interested in conducting applied research related to health psychology, communication, and persuasion, which is heavily theory and data driven. Her research interests also include depression in minority populations, postpartum depression, drug abuse, and minority influence.



Straszewski, TashaTasha Straszewski, M.A. Tasha is a second-year, doctoral student in applied social psychology. She is interested in depression, specifically in developing interventions that may increase help-seeking for individuals with depression. Tasha also has an interest in positive psychology and is currently working on incorporating positive psychology elements in help-seeking interventions.


Cara N. Tan, M.A. Cara is interested in exploring the variables that influence the consistency of attitudes and behavior with a special focus on prosocial behavior.  Her current research is focused on understanding the relationship between vested interest and attitude strength.  She is also interested in developing new methods of persuasion based on attitude strength to promote positive health behavior and prosocial behavior.


unnamedEmily Warren, M.A. Emily is a Ph.D. student in Applied Social Psychology.  She holds a Masters degree from DBOS in Organizational Behavior.  She has conducted research on individual factors that affect responses to goal expectation violations using goal disruption theory (Siegel, 2013).  She is working toward a professional path in program development and assessment.  Two recent examples are the DBOS Peer Mentoring Program and the CGU Alumni Teaching Community.  Both programs aim to facilitate access to important resources and build sense of community among program participants.




Adjunct Members

Tatiana Basáñez, Ph.D., studies intergroup processes and health disparities with a focus on persuasion and Hispanics.  She has investigated acculturation and substance abuse and is now seeking to apply research from embodiment and implicit cognitions to health and academic achievement interventions.



Yuliyana Beleva, Ph.D. Yuliyana’s research focuses on persuasion and attitude change in health-related settings, as well as using the power of mass media to promote healthy behaviors. She is interested in applying theoretical frameworks from psychology to increase the effectiveness of health communications and develop social marketing campaigns. Currently, she studies at-risk adolescents’ motivation to accept or reject persuasive messages related to obesity and drug abuse.


Erin K. O’Brien, Ph.D. Erin is interested in understanding why many large-scale health campaigns do not work, and proposes that this is because their targets are experiencing psychological bleakness, which reduces their likelihood of processing health information. Erin is also interested in studying the relationship between culture and health—how health behaviors are perceived differently based on culture. She is particularly interested in understanding what factors account for Latino health disparities and Latino health advantages.


061c124-1Ian Johnson, Ph.D. is studying attitude-behavior consistency and ways to increase (pro-health) attitude-behavior consistency through persuasive messages. Ian is also interested in preventing and curbing adolescent drug use via media campaigns, reactance, motivations for nonmedical prescription drug use, and differences in perceived norms surrounding prescription and illicit drugs.



Brianna Alyssa Lienemann, Ph.D. Brianna is a Social Psychology and Health Psychology doctoral student. Her research interests focus on improving stigma, attitudes, intentions, and behavior related to depression, suicide, and substance use. This is achieved through the application of persuasion and psychological theories to the creation and evaluation of public service announcements.



Benjamin D. Rosenberg, Ph.D. Ben is in interested in applying social psychological and communication research to address social and health problems. Particularly, Ben’s research focuses on health attitudes, messaging, and persuasion; adolescent obesity; heightened drive state; and the interplay between technology and behavior.



Julia Tang, Ph.D., M.S.W., is a developmental psychologist interested in understanding how decision making about health behaviors occur during the transition between adolescence to adulthood. Julia’s past research has also involved examining needs of cancer patients and survivors and the relationship between health related quality of life (HRQOL) and survivorship. She is currently working on studying the trajectories of healthy and health risk behaviors during adolescence and young adulthood using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health).