Department of Psychology
Faculty Members

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Samuel F. Sears, Jr., Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Doctoral Studies

Office: Rawl 132
Phone: 252-328-6118
Clinical Referrals: 252-744-4400
Fax: 252-328-6283

Mailing Address:

104 Rawl Building
Department of Psychology
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353

Willing to consider taking a doctoral student in 2018-19: Yes


Ph.D., Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida (1995)
M.S., Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida (1992)
B.S., Psychology, University of Florida (1990)

Research Interests:

Dr. Sears is currently overseeing research projects conducted at East Carolina University and the University of Florida. These studies are examining:

  • Shock Acceptance Strategies: Sedation in DFT Testing
  • The Female Perspective: Women & ICDs
  • Peri-Operative ICD Patient Education
  • Pros and Cons of Receiving an ICD
  • Psychosocial Adjustment of Young ICD Patients
  • Acute Patient Response to ICD Shocks
  • Patient Perceptions of ICD-OptiVol Technology in the Treatment of Heart Failure
  • Sleep Quality and ICD Patients

Professional work:

  • Nationally recognized expert in the psychological care and quality of life outcomes of implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) patients
  • Provides clinical services to cardiac and ICD patients in a fully integrated cardiac clinic at the East Carolina Heart Institute at ECU
  • Among the most published authors in the world on ICD patient outcomes.Has published over 100 articles in the medicine literature on the psychological aspects of cardiology
  • Regularly appears in PBS TV series, Second Opinion, on topics such as Long QT Syndrome, Artificial Hearts, and psychological aspects of cardiac disease
  • Founded "ICD Coach" to produce mobile phone apps for cardiac and ICD patients and families
  • Dr. Sears was honored by the University of North Carolina system as the O. Max Gardner Award winner for 2013.This award is given to the faculty member deemed to have made "the greatest contribution to the welfare of the human race" and is considered the highest honor for a faculty member in the state. 

Selected Publications in peer refereed journals:

  1. Sears, S.F., Woodrow, L.K., Cutitta, K., Ford, J., Shea, J.B., & Cahill, J. (2013). A patient's guide to living confidently with chronic heart failure. Circulation, 127, E525-528.
  2. Sears, S. F., Ford, J., & Cahill, J. (2013). Modern-day patient challenge: manage cardiac disease, accept devices, and minimize distress. Europace, 15, 311-312.
  3. Ford, J., Finch, J., Woodrow, L., Cutitta, K., Shea, J., Fischer, A., Hazelton, G., & Sears, S. F. (2012). The Florida shock anxiety scale for patients with ICDs: Factor structure, reliability, and validity of an established measure. Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 35, 1146-1153.
  4. Sears S.F., Hauf, J.D., Kirian, K., Hazelton, A.G., Conti, M.D. (2011). Post-traumatic stress and the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator patient: What the electrophysiologist needs to know. Circulation: Arrhythm Electrophysiol, 4, 242-250.
  5. ears, S.F. & Kirian, K. (2010). Shock and patient-centered outcomes research: Is an ICD shock still a critical event? Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology, 33, 1437-1441.

Click here for full curriculum vitae (.pdf).

For more information about Dr. Sears's work: