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Cardiac Psychology Research

Dr. Samuel F. Sears, Jr.

Professor, East Carolina University
Departments of Psychology and Cardiovascular Sciences
Director of Health Psychology
  • 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 electrophysiology clinic at the East Carolina Heart Institute
  • Among the most published authors in the world on ICD patient outcomes; has published over 100 articles and chapters in the medicine literature on the psychological aspects of cardiology
  • Served on the faculty at the University of Florida for 12 years and now at East Carolina University since 2007; received numerous teaching and research mentor awards from the students in his departments
  • Co-authored book with Dr. Wayne Sotile, You Can Make a Difference:  Brief Psychosocial Interventions for ICD Patients and Families, which has been distributed to over 4,000 health care providers worldwide
  • Currently serves as principal or co-investigator on numerous national and international studies examining psychological and behavioral aspects of quality of life and patient acceptance of cardiovascular device therapies
Link to the Cardiac Psychology Research Lab at East Carolina University
Click the link above to access information for patients, healthcare providers, researchers, and students who are interested in the care of ICD patients.
Contact Info | Background | Research | In the Spotlight

Contact Info

Contact Information

East Carolina University
Departments of Psychology and Cardiovascular Sciences
215 Rawl Hall
Greenville, North Carolina 27858-4353
Phone: (252) 328-6118
Clinical referrals: (252) 744-4400
Fax: (252) 328-6283


Education & Academic Background

Ph.D. - University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (1995)
Major: Clinical and Health Psychology
Minor: Medical Psychology
Residency - University of Mississippi Medical Center/Veterans Affairs (1994-95); Medical Center Consortium, Jackson, MS
M.S. - University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (1992)
Major: Clinical and Health Psychology  
B.S. - University of Florida, Gainesville, FL (1990)
Major: Psychology


Current Research

Dr. Sears is currently overseeing many research projects conducted at East Carolina University and other universities around the country. These multi-disciplinary studies are examining topics such as:

  • The Effects of Brief Peri-Operative ICD Patient Education
  • Pros and Cons of Receiving an ICD
  • Psychosocial Adjustment of Young ICD Patients
  • Acute Patient Response to ICD Shocks
  • Sleep Quality and ICD Patients
  • Post-traumatic Stress and Cardiac Patients
  • Activities and Avoidance Behaviors in ICD Patients
  • Quality of Life in Cardiac Surgery Patients

In the Spotlight

In the Spotlight

In March 2010, Dr. Sears returns to Tilburg University, Netherlands, to present on "Overcoming the Shock of the ICD". To view the entire program, click here.

Dr. Samuel Sears provides keynote lecture - Dr. Sears, ECU Professor, Departments of Psychology and Cardiovascular Sciences, was invited to provide a keynote lecture to the First Nordic Symposium on Psychological Aspects of ICD Treatment in Lund, Swede in December, 2009. Dr. Sears addressed the state of the art approaches and research on the psychological and behavioral aspects of living with cardiac arrhythmias and implantable cardioverter defibrillators.

Sears Researches Psychological Care for Heart Patients - Dr. Sears was featured in the October Edition of East Carolina University's Pieces of Eight Faculty and Staff Newspaper." The article highlights Dr. Sears contributions to the care of cardiovascular patients. To read the entire article, click here.

The ICD Stress and Shock Management Program: Interview with Dr. Sam Sears, Jr., Ph.D. - Dr. Sears and colleagues (2007) recently published an article titled The ICD Stress and Shock Management Program:A Randomized Trial of Psychosocial Treatment to Optimize Quality of Life in ICD Patients, which demonstrated that structured interventions for shocked ICD patients involving education and cognitive- behavioral strategies reduced the psychological distress and improved the quality of life of these patients. EP Lab Digest recently interviewed Dr. Sears in regards to his work and this article. To read this interview, click here.


Photo Gallery

Click the thumbnails below to view a slideshow highlighting Dr. Sears' research and contributions to the field of Cardiac Psychology.

Dr. Sears with Dr. Kubo at the Japanese Society of Psychosomatic Cardiology in Tokyo, Japan in November of 2007. Dr. Sears gives frequent speeches to ICD patient support groups, as seen here in Hickory, NC in December of 2009. Dr. Sears provided a keynote lecture at the First Nordic Symposium on Psychological Aspects of ICD Treatment in Lund, Sweden on December 4, 2009.  The conference was co-chaired by Dr. Carl Johan Hoijer (pictured). Dr. Sears speaking at the 8th International Dead Sea Symposium (2006) in Tel Aviv, Israel.