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Tracey A. Revenson, Ph.D.

Trained as one of the first generation of health psychologists, I bring social ecological and contextual perspective to the study of stress and coping processes as they affect psychosocial adaptation to chronic physical illness. Although the past 30 years brought an abundance of studies in stress and coping processes, few psychologists focused on the interaction between person and environmental factors. By contrast, the central theme of my work has been the identification of contextual factors that optimize adjustment to chronic stress. Instead of focusing on whether coping or social support affect psychological adaptation, the research addresses the questions of when, how, for whom, and under what conditions these effects occur.

The lion’s share of my work has centered on psychosocial adaptation to the stressor of major physical illness.  I have studied stress and coping processes among children, adolescents and adults, married couples, and families facing recently-diagnosed and long-term chronic illnesses; the influence of supportive and non-supportive interpersonal relationship on mental health; and the effects of gender and race on health and quality of life outcomes.  In adopting a contextual perspective, I have chosen to conduct research primarily in naturalistic settings, and to ask questions that have the potential to promote positive social and individual change. 

  My empirical contributions to the field of health psychology fall into four general categories:

  • Stress and coping processes, and their influence on illness adjustment
  • Social support processes as predictors of adjustment in the context of serious illness
  • Dyadic and family-level coping
  • Gender as an influence on stress and coping processes

Representative Publications


Revenson, T.A., Greenwood, R.M., Calcagno, J., Marín-Chollom, A.M., & Vickberg, S.J.M. The long-term trajectory of fear of recurrence among breast cancer survivors. (under review)

Lepore, S.J., Revenson, T.A., Pranikoff, J., & Davey, A. RCT of expressive writing for colorectal cancer patients: Acceptable but not advisable. (under review)

Baum, A., Revenson, T.A., & Singer, J.E. (Eds).  (2012). Handbook of Health Psychology, 2nd edition.  New York: Taylor & Francis.

Badr, H., Carmack, C.L., Kashy, D.A., Cristofanilli, M. & Revenson, T.A. (2010). Dyadic coping in metastatic breast cancer.  Health Psychology, 29 (2), 169-180.

Lepore, S.J., & Revenson, T.A. (2007). Social constraints on disclosure and adjustment to cancer.  Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1 (1), 313–333. doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2007.00013.x

Stanton, A., Revenson, T.A., & Tennen, H. (2007). Health psychology: Psychological adjustment to chronic disease. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 13.1-13.28.