The overarching goal of this Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) project is to utilize an experimental medicine approach to develop an efficient, ecologically valid, within-person approach to measuring and intervening on the deleterious effects of everyday stress on meeting recommended levels of two health behaviors: physical activity and sleep patterns. In Phase 1, we will develop, validate and deliver a stress assay that assesses malleable components of the stress process that drive health behavior decisions and enactment as they unfold, in real-time and in individuals' natural environments. In Phase 2, we will use this assay to evaluate "just-in-time" intervention approaches that target specific stress response components at times and in contexts when they are most malleable and can positively impact health behaviors. In contrast to previous daily stress studies, we will conduct coordinated analyses in 10 intensive longitudinal datasets separating effects of stressor reactivity, recovery and pile-up on health behaviors. By replicating the results across 10 studies we will ensure identification of the most reliable and potent targets for intervention.

OSF: https://osf.io/njpbj/

David M. Almeida, PhD

Principal Investigator

dalmeida@psu.edu

The Pennsylvania State University

College of Health and Human Development

University Park, PA

Dr. Almeida is a developmental psychologist with a primary focus on stress and coping during middle adulthood. His research interests center on the general question of how daily stressful experiences, such as work deadlines and arguments with family members, influence individual health and well-being. Almeida currently directs the NIA funded National Study of Daily Experiences (NSDE) a 20 year longitudinal study daily stress and health that is part of the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) study.  He is also the PI of the Penn State Site of the NICHD funded Work Family Health Network.  Both of these projects utilize intensive repeated measures embedded in a longitudinal design to examine daily stressors and health. Almeida developed the Daily Inventory of Stressful Events (DISE) as a tool for assessing multiple dimensions daily stressors Using this instrument, he has investigated how cumulative exposure and responses to daily stressors predict changes in global health reports (e.g., chronic conditions, functional impairment) and correlate with biological markers of health.

Joshua M. Smyth, PhD

Principal Investigator

jms1187@psu.edu

The Pennsylvania State University

College of Health and Human Development

University Park, PA

Dr. Joshua Smyth is a Professor of Biobehavioral Health and Medicine at Penn State and Hershey Medical Center. He also serves as Associate Director of Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute. Most broadly, Dr. Smyth’s research reflects the application of the biopsychosocial model to meaningful health-related processes, contexts, and outcomes. Three more narrowly defined areas – and the integration between them – comprise the bulk of his research program: 1. What are the effects of experiencing stress or trauma on psychological and physical well-being and how can such effects be observed? 2. Can stress, affect, and health be assessed in a manner that permits the understanding of biopsychosocial processes in real time and in context? 3. Can psychological interventions improve health and well-being, both in healthy individuals and individuals with existing physical or psychiatric illness? Having published approximately 200 articles and chapters in both medical and psychological journals and books, Dr. Smyth has made important contributions to the understanding of stress and coping, psychological interventions, ambulatory naturalistic monitoring, pain, immune disorders, chronic illness, and eating behaviors. He has served as an editorial referee for more than three dozen journals, and is an active member of the American Psychosomatic Society, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Smyth has shared his research in interviews with ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, PBS, Newsweek, Time and the New York Times. Dr. Smyth received his Ph.D. in Health and Social Psychology from Stony Brook University and his B.A. in Cognitive Science from Vassar College.

Martin J. Sliwinski, PhD

Director of the Center for Healthy Aging

mjs56@psu.edu

The Pennsylvania State University

College of Health and Human Development

University Park, PA

Dr. Sliwinski is a neuropsychologist whose research examines how aspects of everyday experiences influence a person’s ability to memorize, reason and concentrate. Dr. Sliwinski studies the developmental pathways leading from stressful experiences to cognitive impairment in middle and older aged adults. His research links environmental influences (e.g., daily stressors, life events) to physiological dysregulation and cognitive decline via ruminative processes (e.g., intrusive thoughts). Dr. Sliwinski has also developed tools that use mobile technology to embed brief ambulatory cognitive assessments into ecological momentary assessment (EMA) and daily diary designs. His current research projects examine whether ambulatory approaches to cognitive assessment improve test reliability, ecological validity, and ultimately, the early detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

Paige Green, PhD, MPH

NIH/NCI

Project Scientist

Paige.Green@nih.gov

Catherine Stoney, PhD

NIH/NHLBI

Lead Project Scientist

stoneyc@nhlbi.nih.gov

Lisa Onken, PhD

NIH/NIA

Project Scientist

lonken@mail.nih.gov

Jonathan W. King, PhD

NIH/NIA

Program Official

kingjo@nia.nih.gov

Smyth, J. M., Sliwinski, M. J., Zawadzki, M. J., Scott, S. B., Conroy, D. C., Lanza, S. T., ... & Buxton, O. M. (2017). Everyday stress response targets in the science of behavior change. Behaviour Research and Therapy.