Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Chair of the Behavioral Science Subcommittee of the Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee of the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center
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 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.
Ristvedt SL, Trinkaus KM: Psychological factors related to delay in consultation for cancer symptoms. Psycho-Oncology 2005; 14: 339-350. 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 (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, 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, McFarland EG, Weinstock LB, Thyssen EP: Patient preferences for CT colonography, conventional colonoscopy, and bowel preparation. American Journal of Gastroenterology 2003; 98: 578-585. Full Article ->
Walker MS, Ristvedt SL, Haughey BH: Patient care in multidisciplinary cancer clinics: Does attention to psychosocial needs predict patient satisfaction? Psycho-Oncology 2003; 12: 291-300. 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