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Paula G. Williams, Ph.D.

Paula G. Williams, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Office: 1301a BEHS
Phone: 801-585-6271

Research Interests

Broadly speaking, my research focuses on individual differences in risk and resilience for adverse mental and physical health outcomes, and potential mechanisms underlying these associations. The individual differences of interest include personality, cognitive (especially executive) functioning, and psychophysiological factors (especially tonic respiratory sinus arrhythmia [RSA]). My program of research focuses on the inter-relations among these individual differences in risk and resilience in the context of stress regulation (i.e., stress exposure, reactivity, recovery, and restoration). Current research is particularly focused on restoration and stress, including 1) phenotypic and endophenotypic characteristics of habitual short sleepers; and 2) individual differences in the experience of aesthetic stimuli (i.e., art, nature, and beauty).


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center (Clinical Psychology, 1994-1996)
Internship, Duke University Medical Center (Clinical Psychology, 1993-1994)
Ph.D., University of Utah (Clinical Psychology, 1995)
M.S., Illinois State University (Clinical Psychology, 1988)
B.S., University of Illinois (Psychology/Genetics and Development, 1986)

Selected Publications

Williams, P.G., Tinajero, R., & Suchy, Y. (2017). Executive functioning and health. Oxford Reviews Online. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935291.013.7

Williams, P.G., Rau, H.K., Suchy, Y., Thorgusen, S., & Smith, T.W. (2017). On the validity of self-report assessment of cognitive abilities: Attentional Control Scale associations with cognitive performance, emotional adjustment, and personality. Psychological Assessment, 29, 519-530.

Curtis, B.J., Williams, P.G., Jones, C.R., & Anderson, J.S. (2016). Sleep duration and resting fMRI functional connectivity:  Examination of short sleepers with and without perceived daytime dysfunction. Brain and Behavior, 0:1–13. e00576, doi: 10.1002/brb3.576

Williams, P.G., Cribbet, M.R., Rau, H.K, Gunn, H.E., & Czajkowski, L. (2013). The effects of poor sleep on cognitive, affective, and physiological responses to a laboratory stressor. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 46, 40-51.

Williams, P. G., Smith, T. W., Gunn, H. E., & Uchino, B. N. (2011). Personality and stress: Individual differences in exposure, reactivity, recovery, and restoration. In Contrada, R. & Baum, A. (Eds.), Handbook of stress science: Biology, psychology, and health (pp. 231-245). New York, NY: Springer.

Williams, P. G., Suchy, Y., & Kraybill, M. L. (2010). Five-Factor Model personality traits and executive functioning in older adults. Journal of Research in Personality, 44, 485-491.

Williams, P. G., Rau, H. K., Cribbet, M. R., & Gunn, H. E. (2009). Openness to Experience and stress regulation. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 777-784.

Williams, P. G., Suchy, Y., & Rau, H. K. (2009). Individual differences in executive functioning: Implications for stress regulation. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 126-140.

My Current Graduate Students

Kimberley Johnson
Ruben Tinajero
Brian Curtis

Last Updated: 1/24/18