Suzanne Segerstrom

Suzanne C. Segerstrom, PhD, MPH

Suzanne C. Segerstrom, PhD, MPH

Director for the Center for Healthy Aging Research
Jo Anne Leonard Petersen Endowed Chair for Gerontology and Family Studies

Waldo Hall 453
2250 SW Jefferson Way
Corvallis, OR 97331
United States

Curriculum Vitae

Academic interests

My research primarily addresses the interactions among psychological, cognitive, immunological, and physical health in older adults. For example, how does personality affect risk for Alzheimer’s disease? How do psychosocial resources affect immunosenescence? Does infection with latent viruses compromise older adults’ self-regulation and executive cognitive function? How does socioemotional selectivity affect the well-being of people with ALS and their partners?

I am particularly interested in understanding how aspects of self-regulation, including personality, behavior, and executive cognitive function, affect well-being and health. Two large studies funded by the National Institute on Aging have examined these questions. One, with Leslie Crofford, MD, examined the health consequences of motivation and goal pursuit in older women in a longitudinal "burst" design. (See papers to date from the completed study.) The other is a longitudinal study of the effects of self-regulation and especially self-regulatory capacity on immunological and brain health (and vice versa) in older adults. (See papers to date from the ongoing study.)

My students and I are actively pursuing a line of research on cognitive self-regulation as it is manifested in repetitive thought (e.g., worry, rumination, cognitive processing, and related concepts). This research focuses on understanding the structure of repetitive thought, the best ways to measure repetitive thought, its neuropsychological correlates, and its psychological and physiological consequences. (See example papers here and here.)

I am an MPH biostatistician with particular interest in longitudinal data analysis and multilevel modeling. I am also interested in the measurement properties of biomarkers such as diurnal cortisol. (See example papers here and here. See information about biostatistical consulting.)


After growing up and going to college in Oregon (BA, Lewis & Clark College), I received my PhD in clinical psychology from UCLA in 1997 and my MPH in biostatistics from University of Kentucky in 2017. I started a faculty position in 1997 in Psychology at University of Kentucky, where I retired in 2023 to return to Oregon and take up a faculty position at Oregon State University.


Currently recruiting postdoctoral scholar

The School of Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University has an opening for one post-doctoral research scholar with interests in biopsychosocial research in older adults.

The scholar will work closely and collaboratively with Dr. Suzanne Segerstrom; her graduate and undergraduate students; and her colleagues in Human Development and Family Sciences as well as the Center for Healthy Aging Research.

The scholar will primarily work on NIH-funded longitudinal research on the relationships among psychological, psychophysiological, and immunological health in older adults, with possible foci on personality, self-regulation, repetitive thought, cognition, pain, inflammation, and immunological aging. There are other archival data available, as well as the opportunity to collect data and write NIH grants. NIH pay scale, benefits, and funds for annual conference travel provided.

Details and application (pdf)