Jennifer Taber

Jennifer Taber

Department of Psychological Sciences
Associate Professor
Office Location:
Room 309 Kent Hall
Contact Information



Does Dr. Taber plan to recruit a doctoral student for the next incoming class?


My research is focused on understanding and promoting health behaviors. My research goals include understanding why people may not hold accurate perceptions of their disease risk, when and why risk perceptions predict behavior, and how to intervene to increase the likelihood that providing risk information will lead to behavior change. Another research interest is reducing defensive responses to threat through strategies such as self-affirmation. I am also interested in identifying and targeting motives unrelated to health – in particular affective motives – that lead to attitudinal ambivalence and goal conflict and may interfere with health behaviors. Much of my work has been conducted in the context of genetic testing for disease risk, and I am interested in exploring how people think about genetic risk information and when and why genetic risk information is likely to lead to behavior change.

Postdoctoral Training: National Cancer Institute, Behavioral Research Program

Courses Frequently Taught:

  • Health Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Social Psychology (graduate)
  • Psychology of Risk Communication (graduate seminar)

Representative PUBLICATIONS:

  • Taber, J.M., Dickerman, B.A., Okhovat, J.P., Geller, A.C., Dwyer, L.A., Hartman, A.M., Perna, F.M. (2018). Skin Cancer Interventions Across the Cancer Control Continuum: Review of technology, environment, and theory. Preventive Medicine, 111, 451-458.
  • Cameron, L.D., Biesecker, B.B., Peters, E., Taber, J.M., Klein, W.M.P. (2017). Self-Regulation Principles Underlying Risk Perception and Decision Making within the Context of Genomic Testing. Social and Personality Psychology Compass;11:e12315
  • Segar, M.L., Taber, J.M., Thai, C.L., Patrick, H., & Oh, A. (2017). Rethinking Physical Activity Communications: Using Focus Groups to Understand Women’s Goals, Values, and Beliefs to Improve Public Health. BMC Public Health, 17(1), 462.
  • Klein, W.M.P., Grenen, E.G., O’Connell, M., Blanch-Hartigan, D., Chou, W.S., Hall, K.L., Taber, J.M., Vogel, A.L. (2017). Integrating Knowledge across Domains to Advance the Science of Health Behavior: Overcoming Challenges and Facilitating Success. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 7(1), 98-105.
  • Taber, J.M., Klein, W.M.P., Ferrer, R.A., Augustson, E, & Patrick, H. (2016). A pilot test of self-affirmations to promote smoking cessation in a national smoking cessation text messaging program. JMIR mHealth & uHealth, 4(2), e71.
  • Taber, J.M., Howell, J.L., Emanuel, A.S., Klein, W.M.P, Ferrer, R.A., & Harris, P.R. (2016). Associations of spontaneous self-affirmation with health care experiences and health information seeking in national survey of US adults. Psychology & Health, 31(3), 292-309.
  • Taber, J.M. & Klein, W.M.P. (2016). The role of conviction in personal risk perceptions: What can we learn from research on attitude certainty? Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 10(4), 202-218.
  • Taber, J.M., Aspinwall, L.G., Stump, T.K., Kohlmann, W., Champine, M., & Leachman, S.A. (2015). Genetic testing enhances understanding of risk information and acceptance of prevention recommendations compared to family history-based counseling alone. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 740-753. Full Text
  • Taber, J.M., Klein, W.M.P., Ferrer, R.A., Han, P., Lewis, K.L., Biesecker, L.G., & Biesecker, B.B. (2015). Perceived ambiguity as a barrier to intentions to learn genome sequencing results. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 38, 715-726. Full Text
  • Aspinwall, L.G., Taber, J.M., Kohlmann, W., Leaf, S.L., & Leachman, S.A. (2014). Perceived risk following melanoma genetic testing: A 2-year prospective study distinguishing subjective estimates from recall. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 23(3), 421-437. Full Text


Ph.D., University of Utah (2013), B.A., American University (2008)


Social Psychology, Health Psychology, Risk Perceptions, Self-Affirmation, Genetic Testing, Sun Protection, Cancer Prevention Behaviors