Staff: Jerry Suls, PhD

Jerry  Suls

Jerry Suls, PhD

Senior Scientist

Jerry Suls, Ph.D., has been appointed Senior Scientist in the Behavioral Research Program. Dr. Suls' research concerns the role of social influence, cognitive, affective, and biological factors in risk and adaptation to cancer and heart disease. Recently, he has been concerned with: (a) how cognitive-affective biases affect peoples' perceptions of population norms for health behaviors (e.g., diet and nutrition); (b) how anxiety and depression influence physical symptom interpretation and treatment-seeking and disease processes; (c) psychological and medical implications of multi-morbidity and the complicated patient; (d) effects of cancer treatment (e.g., chemotherapy) on cognitive impairment; and (e) the role of inflammation as a common disease pathway . An overriding theme (i.e., obsession) is how the behavioral sciences can be better integrated with medicine, the life sciences and public health to facilitate a "full cycle approach" involving "bench to bedside and community" and "from bedside and community to bench."

Dr. Suls received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Temple University in 1973, followed by 40 years on the faculties of Georgetown University (3), the State University of New York at Albany (15) and the University of Iowa (23), where he was Professor, Collegiate Fellow of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Affiliated member of the College of Public Health. He is a former Editor of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (1998-2001) and Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2006-13). He has served on the editorial boards of Annals of Behavioral Medicine, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, Health Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Health Psychology Review. He was a member of the National Science Foundation Social Psychology Advisory Panel (1992-95; 2008-10) and the NIH Behavioral Medicine Interventions and Outcomes Study Section (2004-09, including two years as its Chair). Dr. Suls was elected to the Executive Councils of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and is past Member-at Large and President of Division 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. He is a fellow of APA Divisions 8 and 38, the Association for Psychological Science and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. His research has appeared in more than 150 publications and been supported by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, National Science Foundation and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In 2012, he received the Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from Division 38 (Health Psychology).

Research Areas

  • Role of social influence, cognitive, affective and biological factors in risk and adaptation to cancer and heart disease

Selected Publications and Presentations

To request edits to this profile, please contact us at