Cleopatra Abdou, Ph.D.
Social Psychology, Health Psychology
Culture, Stress and Coping, Minority Health, Intergroup Relations, Stereotype Threat and Discrimination, Pregnancy, Maternal-Child-Family Health
Cleopatra Abdou received her Ph.D. in social health psychology, with a minor in quantitative psychology, from UCLA in June 2008. She integrates principles and methodologies from the areas of social psychology, stress physiology, and health disparities from a cross-cultural perspective to investigate mechanisms whereby culture and social identities impact healthcare decision-making and health outcomes among minority women and their children across the socioeconomic strata. Her specialized interests are in maternal-child health and in the impact of social identity threat on health-related decisions. She examines four core questions in these two related areas of research: 1) what are the intrapersonal and interpersonal processes whereby social identities, like ethnicity and social class, translate into health? 2) what are the cultural bases of behavior that impact healthcare decisions? 3) how do social identities and cultural beliefs interact to shape stress exposure and the availability of coping resources? and 4) what features of culture promote being healthy and living well? Abdou’s research, largely community-based participatory research, has identified sociocultural mechanisms that bridge ethnic and socioeconomic differences in health and well-being via direct, moderated, and mediated pathways. Her research also examines broader theoretical and measurement issues surrounding the study of culture, socioeconomic status, and health in different ethnic groups.