Laurel M. Peterson

Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology
Laurel M. Peterson headshot


Phone 610-526-5012
Location Bettws Y Coed 200



Postdoc University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D. The George Washington University
B.A. Dickinson College


Laurel Peterson (B.A. Dickinson College, 2006; Ph.D. The George Washington University, 2012; Postdoc University of Pittsburgh, 2014) is a health psychologist trained in applied social psychology and behavioral medicine whose work spans diverse topics from HIV/AIDS to salivary cortisol to substance use. Her research explores the mediating processes linking the experience of discrimination to health outcomes, including increased likelihood of engaging in risky health behavior and physiological wear and tear on the body. A cross-cutting theme of her work focuses on how race and gender and the social experience of these identities (i.e., racial discrimination, masculinity, gender discrimination) impact health cognitions, behaviors, and physiological processes. Her current projects use traditional questionnaire methodologies along with cutting-edge ambulatory data collection, specifically, tracking participants’ health behaviors and blood pressure over the course of their daily life using programmed smartphones and ambulatory blood pressure monitors. She also conducts ongoing work exploring health risk behavior motivations and prevention messaging among college students.