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Timothy W. Smith, Ph.D.

Timothy W. Smith, Ph.D.

Professor, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology


Contact Information

Office: 704 BEHS
Phone: 801-581-5087

Research Interests

Most of my research addresses personality and social risk factors for cardiovascular disease. I am interested in the application of theory and methods from the interpersonal tradition in clinical, personality, and social psychology to the conceptualization and assessment of psychosocial risk factors for disease, and to the study of the psychophysiological mechanisms linking risk factors to disease. A basic premise of this perspective is that personality characteristics are reciprocally related to characteristics of the social environment. Over long periods of time and throughout the course of personality and social development, people shape and are shaped by their relationships and the social contexts they inhabit. This transactional process through which people influence and are influenced by social contexts, in turn, can impact the individual's risk for serious illness.

As reflected in the following list of recent publications, I am also interested in risk factors and processes in the specific social context of close personal relationships (e.g., marriage). I am also interested in using the same interpersonal concepts and methods to study the process of adjustment to chronic medical illness.

Recent studies and papers illustrating these interests are listed below. I would particularly recommend the Smith and MacKenzie (2006) *** in the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology; the Smith, Ruiz, and Uchino (2000) Health Psychology paper; the Baron, Smith et al (2007) Journal of Behavior Medicine paper, Smith, Glazer et al (2004) paper in Journal of Personality, and the Smith et al (2007) Psychosomatic medicine paper.

Our current major projects include two studies on marital interaction, cardiovascular reactivity, and cardiovascular risk. One of these involves younger couples, and the other involves middle-aged and older couples. The former, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, examines cardiovascular and Neuroendocrine responses during couple interactions. The latter project - funded by the National Institute of Aging - reflects our growing interest in studying the psychosocial risk process from the perspective of adult development and aging, and examines the association of psychosocial risk factors and physiological reactivity with coronary artery disease assessed with CT scans. In other projects, we are examining a variety of interpersonal determinants of the magnitude and nature of cardiovascular stress responses, such as the personality trait of hostility, the act of anger expression, and internal representations of social ties.


Post-doc, Brown University (Program in Medicine, 1983)
Pre-doc, Brown University (Clinical Psychology, Program in Medicine, 1982)
Ph.D., University of Kansas (Clinical Psychology, 1982)
M.A., University of Kansas (Clinical Psychology, 1980)
B.A., University of Kansas (Psychology, 1977)

Selected Publications

Baron, K. G., Smith, T.W., Butner, J., Nealey-Moore, J., Hawkins, M.W., & Uchino, B.N. (2007). Hostility, anger, and marital adjustment: concurrent and prospective associations with psychosocial vulnerability. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 1-10.

Holt-Lunstad, J., Uchino, B.N., Smith, T.W., & Hicks, A. (2007). On the importance of relationship quality: The impact of ambivalence in friendships on cardiovascular functioning. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 33, 278-290.

Nealey-Moore, J.B., Smith, T.W., Uchino, B.N., Hawkins, M.W., & Olson-Cerny, C. (2007). Cardiovascular reactivity during positive and negative marital interactions. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, in press.

Smith, T.W. (2007). Measurement in health psychology research. In R. Silver & H.S. Friedman (Eds.), Foundations of Health Psychology, (pp 19-51). Oxford Press.

Smith, T.W., & Uchino, B.N (2007). Measuring physiological processes in biopsychosocial research:Basic principles amid growing complexity. In L.J. Lueken and L.C. Gallo (Eds.), Handbook of Physiological Methods in Health Psychology. Sage.

Smith, T.W., Uchino, B.N., Berg, C.A., Florsheim, P., Pearce, G., Hawkins, M., Hopkins, P.N., & Yoon, H.C. (2007). Hostile personality traits and coronary artery calcification in middle-aged and older married couples: Different effects for self-reports versus spouse-ratings. Psychosomatic Medicine, 69, 441-448.

Smith, T.W., & Glazer, K. (2006). Hostility, marriage, and the heart: The social psychophysiology of cardiovascular risk in close relationships. In D.R. Crane and E.S. Marshall (Eds.), Handbook of families and health: Interdisciplinary perspectives. (pp. 19-39). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

My Current Graduate Students

Carolynne Baron
Jeremy Grove
Carlene Deits-Lebehn

Last Updated: 7/8/19