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Personal Information

California School of Professional Psychology

Clinical Psychology

Sacramento Campus



Alliant International University Sacramento
2030 West El Camino Ave., Suite 200
Sacramento CA 95833


Courses, Research Interests, Publications

International research testing a Model of Health Behavior Change for the Developing World; immigration stress; health psychology: creating and testing evidence-based interventions for underserved minority populations with cardiovascular disease and cancer, health promotion and using computerized interventions for cost effective approaches to health behavior change

Petersen, S. & England, F. S. (2013). Training indigenous women to conduct health promotion in the developing world: empowering women or colluding with multiple oppressions? Women and Therapy (accepted for publication).

Petersen, S., Kirkwood, C., Do, T., Forghany, M., Brake, K., & Washburn, C. (2013) Immigration Stress is Associated with Sub-clinical Symptoms of PTSD in Latino Immigrants. Journal of Latino Studies, in review.

Petersen, Spiga, & Togneri (2013) Using Behavioral Economics for Translational Research in the Developing World, International Psychology Bulletin, accepted for publication.

Petersen, Shaw, Do, Washburn, Brake, Gotts, DeVito, & Chan (2013). Action Research: Model for Sustainable Health Behavior Change in the Developing World, International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Practice and Consultation, in revision.

Petersen, S. (2012). Not just another finding and keeping love book. Psych Critiques. (accepted for publication).

Petersen, S., Hutchings, P., Shrader, G., & Brake, K. (2011). Integrating Psychological Services into Health Care: A Clear Advantage for Underserved Diverse Populations. Psychological Services Journal, 9(2), 69-81.

Petersen, S., Hydeman, J., Flowers, K. (2011) The Decisional Processing Model: How cognitive processing affects compliance to mammography in low-income African American women. Journal of Black Psychology, first published October 8, 2010 as doi: 0.1177/0095798410385680.

Petersen, S., Hydeman, J., Murphy, P. (2009). Deconstucting the Myth of the Cultural Monolith: Differences in Beliefs about Mammography Among Low-Income African American Women, Psychological Services Journal, 6, 126-138.

Rexrode, K. R., Petersen, S., & O'Toole, S. (2008). The Ways of Coping Questionnaire: A Reliability Generalization Study. Psychological Testing and Measurements.

Petersen, S., Homko, C. J., Santamore, W. P., McConnell, T. R., & Bove, A. A. (2006). The role of risk perception in telemedicine. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 105.

Petersen, S., Soucar, B., Sherman-Slate, E., & Luna, L (2005). A Critical Discourse Analysis of Racial Differences in Cancer Themes in the Popular Press. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research, 9(4), 201-229

Tucker, C.M., Petersen, S., Herman, K. C., Fennell, R.S., Bowling, B., & Pedersen, T., & Vosnik, J. R. (2002). Self-regulation predictors of medication non-adherence among ethnically different pediatric patients with renal transplants. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 26(8), 455-462.

Petersen, S., Heesacker, M., Schwartz, R. C., & Marsh, R. DeW. (2000). Medical decision making among cancer patients: A test of theory. Journal of Psychology and Health: An International Journal, 15, 663-675.

My research agenda emerges from the fact that I am deeply disturbed by the health disparities in the world. I believe access to health is a human right. I am equally fascinated with the idea of cross-cultural ways to communicate about health issues. My research is a humble attempt to discover pathways to construct interventions across cultures within the United States and internationally. I conduct Action Research in the field in remote areas of the world as well as inner cities and rural Americ

Validation Study for the Immigration Stress Scale (Spanish Version). $1,600. Awarded July, 2008. Sponsor: Alliant International University

Health Behavior Change in the Developing World: Dragonflies Project Fund-Raising - $4300.

Listening to Dragonflies: Health Behavior Change in the Developing World. $5,500 for pilot study. Sponsor: Freda B. Runyon Foundation. 2010

Health Behavior Change in the Developing World: Phase II of Testing the Model. $3500. Freda B. Runyan Foundation, 2011.

Health Behavior Views in the Developing World. $2700 for qualitative pilot data. Sponsor: Alliant International University. 2010

Video Intervention to Increase Mammography Among African-American Women Grant submitted to the NIH: PI - National Cancer Institute - $150,000 - Awarded August, 2003 - August, 2005.

Patients' Medical Decision Making as a Mediating Variable in the Prediction of Adherence Among Cancer Patients in Clinical Trials for Oral Doses of Chemotherapy -PI - Grant submitted to Temple University - Junior Faculty Research Award - $28,000 - Awarded July, 2003. This grant provided the pilot data for a grant submitted in October, 2004 to NIH.

Academic History and Background

NIH Research Post Doc in Health Psychology - University of Pittsburgh/ Carnegie Mellon University | Consortium (with Karen Matthews, Sheldon Cohen, Charles Schier, Andrew Baum) 2003 - 2004.

MA in Counseling Psychology - University of North Florida, Jacksonville Florida, 1978

PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy - University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, 1997

Wellesley College: Cultural Relational Therapy

Miami Institute of Gestalt Training (with Gertrude Kraus)

Bowenian Institute, New Rochelle NY (with Phil Guerin and Tom Fogarty).

Bio and Links

Personal Philosophy

I am constructivist. Constructivism guides my thinking, my research, and my teaching. Constructivism postulates that truth is relative, constructed through social interactions and influenced by the context. Therefore, constructivism considers that each perspective is critical to a deeper and more complete understanding of any issue. Culture is the mechanism through which all philosophies are understood and all events are interpreted. One cannot extricate oneself from the culture but one can understand it (and themselves) on deeper and deeper levels by truly listening to all the voices, especially those whose voices have been silenced through oppression, within a culture. Attempts at understanding anything are limited by the fact that not all perspectives can be known, as they are filtered through our own lenses. The task of living is learning to truly notice by reducing the density of one's lenses.