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Huntsman Cancer Institute - Appointed Member, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Cancer Control and Population Sciences Program.


Disability Advocacy & Research Network (DARN)   

Research Interests

My research interests include the study of self-regulation (how people plan, control, and revise their own actions as they pursue long-term goals that are important to them) and the roles played by emotions and expectations in this process. Specific areas of interest include future-oriented thinking (optimism, proactive coping, preventive behaviors), positive affect, and the processing of negative events and information. 
My current research examines these processes in the context of cancer genetic testing and other health-risk communications that offer people the opportunity to proactively manage cancer risk through prevention and early detection. I am also interested in how people think about genetic causes (for example, of mental and physical health outcomes) and whether they are modifiable through behavioral or environmental factors.

Opportunities for Graduate Students

Dr. Aspinwall will be reviewing applications to our PhD program in Social Psychology.

If you are interested in future-oriented thinking, health cognitions (how people think about genetic causes, family history, and risk), and/or preventive health behaviors, please consider applying. We have projects in collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Institute and the Comprehensive Weight Management Clinic at the University of Utah.

For more information, please see Health Cognitions Lab

Apply in Fall 2022 to start in Fall 2023.


Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles (Psychology, 1991)
M.A. University of California, Los Angeles (Psychology, 1988)
B.A. Stanford University (Psychology, 1987)

Selected Publications

Aspinwall, L.G., Drummond, D.M., Stump, T. K., Kohlmann, W.K., & Leachman, S.A. (2022). Interactive beliefs about genes and behavior predict improved sun protection following melanoma genetic counseling. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Electronic publication February 18, 2022.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J.M., Kohlmann, W., & Bautista, L. B. (2022). Psychological aspects of hereditary cancer risk counseling and genetic testing: Toward an expanded and more equitable view.  In J. Steel & B. Carr (Eds.), Psychological Aspects of Cancer, 2e, pp. 359-398. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

Taber, J.M., Aspinwall, L. G., Drummond, D., Stump, T. K., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., Cassidy, P. B., & Leachman, S. A. (2021).Priority of risk (but not perceived magnitude) predicts improved sun-protection behavior following genetic counseling. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 55(1), 24-40. Electronic publication, May 16, 2020. doi: 10.1093/abm/kaaa028.

Wu, Y.P., Aspinwall, L.G., Parsons, B., Stump, T.K., Nottingham, K., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., Cassidy, P., & Leach­­man, S.A. (2020). Parent and child perspectives on family interactions related to melanoma risk and prevention after CDKN2A/p16 testing of minor children. Journal of Community Genetics. Electronic publication, January 18, 2020, doi: 10.1007/s12687-020-00453-9.

Stump, T. K., Aspinwall, L. G, Drummond, D., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., Cassidy, P. B., Petrie, T., & Leachman, S. A. (2020). CDKN2A testing and genetic counseling promote reductions in objectively measured sun exposure one year later. Genetics in Medicine.  Electronic publication, August 2, 2019, 22(1): 26-34. PMID: 31371819. doi: 10.1038/s41436-019-0608-9

Aspinwall, L. G, Stump, T. K., Taber, J. M., Drummond, D., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., & Leachman, S. A. (2018). Genetic test reporting of CDKN2A provides informational and motivational benefits for managing melanoma risk.  Translational Behavioral Medicine, 8(1), 29-43.

Stump, T. K., Aspinwall, L.G., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., Hauglid, J., Wu, Y., Scott, E., Cassidy, P., Leachman, S.A. (2018). Genetic test-reporting of melanoma risk in minors may improve sun protection without inducing distress Journal of Genetic Counseling,

Wu, Y. P., Aspinwall, L. G., Nagelhout, E., Kohlmann, W., Kaphingst, K.A., Homberger, S., Perkins, R. D., Grossman, D., Harding, G., Cassidy, P., & Leachman, S. A. (2018). Development of an educational program integrating concepts of genetic risk and preventive strategies for children with a family history of melanoma.  Journal of Cancer Education, 33(4), 774-781. Electronic publication, November 26, 2016.

Wu, Y. P., Nagelhout, E., Aspinwall, L. G., Boucher, K. N., Parsons, B.G., Kohlmann, W., Kaphingst K. A., Homburger S., Perkins R. D., Grossman D., Harding G., & Leachman S. A. (2017). A novel educational intervention targeting melanoma risk and prevention knowledge among children with a familial risk for melanoma. Patient Education and Counseling.

Taber, J. M., Aspinwall, L. G., Stump, T. K., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., & Leachman, S. A. (2015). Genetic testing enhances understanding of risk information and acceptance of prevention recommendations compared to family history-based counseling alone. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 740-753.

Aspinwall, L. G., Stump, T. K., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2015). Impact of melanoma genetic test reporting on perceived control over melanoma prevention. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 754-765.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2014). Perceived risk following melanoma genetic testing: A 2-year prospective study distinguishing subjective estimates from recall. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 23, 421-437.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J. M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S. L., & Leachman, S. A. (2014). Unaffected family members report improvements in daily routine sun protection 2 years following melanoma genetic testing. Genetics in Medicine, 16, 846-853.

Aspinwall, L. G., Taber, J. M., Leaf, S. L., Kohlmann, W., & Leachman, S. A. (2013). Melanoma genetic counseling and test reporting improve screening adherence among unaffected carriers 2 years later. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 22, 1687-1697.

Aspinwall, L. G., Brown, T. R., & Tabery, J. (2012). The double-edged sword: Does biomechanism increase or decrease judges' sentencing of psychopaths? Science, 337, 846-849.

A related article: 
Brown, T. R., Tabery, J., & Aspinwall, L. G. (May 2016). Understanding validity in empirical legal research: The case for methodological pluralism in assessing the impact of science in court. Hastings Law Journal, 67(4).

Aspinwall, L. G., & Tedeschi, R.G. (2010). The value of Positive Psychology for Health Psychology: Progress and pitfalls in examining the relation of positive phenomena to health. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 4-15.


Lilly Bautista

View Lab Alumni

Last Updated: 4/11/24