Barbara Curbow


Full CV

Dr. Barbara Curbow is a social/health psychologist who received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dr. Curbow’s research interests fall within three general areas: psychosocial oncology, health psychology, and occupational health psychology. Within these broad areas, she has largely explored the following four research questions: (1) How do individuals make medical decisions? In particular, what is the role of persuasive communication theories in explaining how people conceptualize risk information and respond to treatment information. (2) How do individuals respond to life stressors? Her interests include both major life events such as cancer and more chronic, ongoing events such as job stress. This broad theme can encompass quality-of-life research (e.g., which life domains are most affected by a specific medical event?) as well as work and family research (e.g., does stress at work spillover to family life?). (3) What are the social and psychological resources that are important to adaptation to life stressors? She has a particular interest in self-related variables (e.g., self-esteem, self-concept, personal changes). (4) What is the process that people under go to form or change attitudes (including their self-attitudes), beliefs, and behaviors? This can include how they change due to intended events (such as a health communication campaign or information concerning treatment options) and to unintended events (such as an environmental hazard). Currently, her research focuses on health disparities in treatment decision-making for adjuvant chemotherapy among colorectal cancer patients, use of alternative tobacco products, tobacco control, and cancer caregiving.