Research

My research focuses on the effects of different coping strategies on reactivity and recovery from stressful events. My work primarily builds upon two theories, the Reactivity Hypothesis (Krantz & Manuck, 1984) and the Transactional Model of Stress and Coping (Folkman, 1982). The reactivity hypothesis suggests that both repeated exaggerated activation of the cardiovascular system during stress and repeated delayed recovery from stressful events can lead to cardiovascular disease. Moreover, the transactional model of stress and coping suggests that one’s reaction to an event is determined by one’s evaluation of the event and one’s ability to cope with the event. In other words, if an event is considered stressful, the individual will react to the stressor, and their recovery from the event will depend on their ability to cope with the stressful event. One known relaxation technique, used for over 3,000 years in eastern cultures as a spiritual practice, is meditation. Research into meditation began in the 1970s and is marked by numerous design flaws (e.g., one group pre-post designs, lack of randomization, unclear study methods). One of my long-term research goals is to explore the effects of meditation on the cardiovascular system while also improving the quality of research in this area.