Suzanne Segerstrom

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Suzanne Segerstrom is Professor of Psychology at the University of Kentucky and known for her clinical research on optimism and other personality traits in relation to health. In 2002, Segerstrom was the first prize recipient of the Templeton Positive Psychology Prize for her work "aimed at understanding the processes behind optimistic dispositions and beliefs and, in particular, how these processes relate to the functioning of the immune system".[1] She has served as President of the American Psychosomatic Society[2] and is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.[3]

Segerstrom attended Lewis and Clark College where she received a bachelor's degree in psychology and music (1990). After completing M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology at UCLA (1997), and a clinical internship in psychology at Vancouver Hospital and Health Sciences Center (University of British Columbia), Segerstrom went on to earn a M.P.H. degree in biostatistics from the University of Kentucky (2017).[4]

Segerstrom became involved in the study of optimism when she was a graduate student studying under the supervision of Shelley E. Taylor at UCLA.[5] Segerstrom was awarded the Martin E. P. Seligman Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research on the Science of Optimism and Hope from the American Psychological Association. More recent longitudinal research, funded through grants from the National Institute on Aging, has focused on well being, self-regulation, and health in older adults.[6]


Segerstrom's research examines the impact of differences in cognition, emotion, and personality factors (e.g., optimism) on psychological well-being, health, and physiological functions (e.g., immune system).[5] She is known for her research on disappointment and emotional approach coping. She is also known for her work drawing a connection between optimism and psychosocial factors in HIV patients. One aspect of Suzanne's research focuses on optimism in relation to the functioning of the immune system. She conducted a research study with Sandra Sephton (University of Louisville) to figure out how law students' expectations for their future affected their immune response. The results of the research study suggested that optimism yields health benefits[7]. Other studies besides Segerstrom's similarly suggest that people who have positive attitudes have better health outcomes.[8]

Segerstrom is the author of Breaking Murphy's Law: How Optimists Get What They Want and Pessimists Can Too[9] and the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Psychneuroimmunology.[10]

Selected works[edit]

  • Segerstrom, S. C. (2007). Optimism and resources: Effects on each other and on health over 10 years. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(4), 772-786.
  • Segerstrom, S. C., & Miller, G. E. (2004). Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological Bulletin, 130(4), 601-630.
  • Segerstrom, S. C., & Nes, L. S. (2007). Heart rate variability reflects self-regulatory strength, effort, and fatigue. Psychological Science, 18(3), 275-281.
  • Segerstrom, S. C., Taylor, S. E., Kemeny, M. E., & Fahey, J. L. (1998). Optimism is associated with mood, coping, and immune change in response to stress. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1646-1655.
  • Segerstrom, S. C., Tsao, J. C., Alden, L. E., & Craske, M. G. (2000). Worry and rumination: Repetitive thought as a concomitant and predictor of negative mood. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 24(6), 671-688.


  1. ^ "Psychologists Receive Profession's Largest Monetary Prize for Research on the Effect Positive Traits Such as Optimism Have on Psychological and Physical Health". APA.
  2. ^ "APS Newsletter". Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  3. ^ "Segerstrom Named APS Fellow for Outstanding Contribution to Psychology | University of Kentucky Research". Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  4. ^ "Suzanne Segerstrom | Psychology". Retrieved 2018-10-10.
  5. ^ a b Crawford, Nicole. "Positivity pays off for winners of psychology's top monetary prize". American Psychological Association.
  6. ^ Suzanne, Segerstrom. "Self-Regulation and Aging: Substrates and Health Consequences". Grantome.
  7. ^ Segerstrom, Suzanne C.; Sephton, Sandra E. (2010-02-24). "Optimistic Expectancies and Cell-Mediated Immunity". Psychological Science. 21 (3): 448–455. doi:10.1177/0956797610362061. PMC 3933956. PMID 20424083.
  8. ^ Allen-West, Catherine. "Optimism Boosts the Immune System". Association for Psychological Science.
  9. ^ C., Segerstrom, Suzanne (2006). Breaking Murphy's law : how optimists get what they want from life-- and pessimists can too. New York: Guilford Press. ISBN 9781593855925. OCLC 62525100.
  10. ^ The Oxford handbook of psychoneuroimmunology. Segerstrom, Suzanne C. New York: Oxford University Press. 2012. ISBN 9780195394399. OCLC 775894214.CS1 maint: others (link)

External links[edit]