About the Center

We are a multidisciplinary group that draws upon the disciplines of anthropology, behavioral medicine, education, psychology, public health, and sociology to pioneer research on psychosocial phenomena involved in healthy living. Basic research on wellness within a chronic illness context provides a foundation for the future development of psychosocial and behavioral interventions that encourage health-related behavioral change. As chronic illness can affect anyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status – we strive to identify, from a multicultural perspective, psychosocial factors critical to the development of effective interventions. Factors may include health-compromising/enhancing behaviors, social support, quality of life, stress and coping strategies, depression, anxiety, stigma and workplace issues. We also examine positive psychological constructs such as optimism, hopefulness, forgiveness, spirituality/religiosity and meaning making that may contribute to resilience in people living with chronic illnesses.

Additionally, we provide psychoeducational services to communities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Our service component offers education and training to community agency personnel and health care providers as well as chronically ill individuals motivated to learn adaptive coping strategies.

University students play a crucial role in the operations of the Center for Psychosocial Health Research and participate in all stages of research, service and outreach processes. In addition, didactic instruction and opportunities to collaborate with members of various communities throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area provide a comprehensive learning experience for students.

Mission Statement

The Mission of the Center for Psychosocial Health Research (CPHR) is: 1) to provide a forum for interdisciplinary UNT scholars to collaborate on health-related research and intervention/prevention development; 2) to produce world-class research on psychosocial factors associated with chronic disease; 3) to train undergraduate and graduate students to be rigorous health researchers; 4) to provide service to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex community; and 5) to attract external financial support for the activities of the Center.

Our research focuses on understanding factors that compromise well being and on improving lives through improving health in the broadest sense, both at the individual and community levels. The Center focuses on diverse health experiences across race, class, gender and the life span. Psychological well-being and effective social functioning are important to people of all ages. Often, people living with a chronic disease begin to have difficulties in these areas without clearly understanding that a problem is emerging. Patients with psychosocial dysfunction frequently mention vague complaints that do not easily fit into diagnostic categories. CPHR engages in research that facilitates the discovery of predictors of psychosocial dysfunction and investigate appropriate interventions.

Both undergraduate and graduate students play a crucial role in the operations of CPHR. By involving students at every stage of psychosocial health research, CPHR provides a learning environment that mirrors the real world of healthcare research. Students learn to conceptualize a research problem, design a study, identify and obtain funding for the study, execute the study, analyze the data, present the findings at professional conferences and publish papers based on the research. In addition to the direct benefits of learning how to do psychological research, students have the opportunity to work with members of various communities throughout the Metroplex area in collaborative research.

CPHR also provides service to the greater Dallas/Forth Worth Metroplex by providing in-service trainings to community centers and other service providers who work with people living with chronic diseases.