Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Psychology
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Matthew C. Whited, PhD
Office: Rawl 228
104 Rawl Building
Department of Psychology
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Dr. Whited is NOT accepting Students for the 2019-2020 academic year.
Fellow in Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials; 14th Annual Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral RCTs (2014)
Post-doctoral Fellowship in Behavioral Medicine Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine (2012)
PhD, Clinical Psychology, West Virginia University (2009)
MS, Clinical Psychology, West Virginia University (2007)
BA, Psychology (2nd major Biology), Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2003)
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the result of a combination of modifiable health behaviors, environment, and genetic makeup and takes several decades to manifest itself before an individual begins to suffer impairment from this very common class of diseases. My research interests center around the association between mental health and health behaviors that influence risk for cardiovascular disease. I am especially interested in understanding the mechanisms of the association between depression and CVD (e.g. cardiovascular psychophysiology; eating/exercise behaviors; sleep) in order to design and apply interventions to reduce CVD risk via treatment of depression and related mental health issues. The association between mental health and CVD risk is complicated and multifactorial and necessitates strong collaborations between myself and junior and senior colleagues to investigate in multiple settings (e.g. a cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation program, a college campus, the surrounding community, the internet). My program of research represents my attempts to understand this association from various perspectives and approaches in order to determine how mental health treatment can contribute to CVD prevention, and how to implement mental health treatment into CVD prevention settings (e.g cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation programs).
The Cardiovascular Psychophysiology Laboratory
We maintain a very active physical laboratory space that consists of my own graduate students, Dr. D. Erik Everhart's Cognitive Neuroscience laboratory, a rotating cast of undergraduate research assistants, and occasionally ECU Clinical Health Psychology graduate students from other labs. In the lab, we study the influence of behavioral and psychological factors on individuals' psychophysiological responses to stress. My graduate students and I also collaborate with researchers and treatment providers across ECU, most prominently the Vidant Hospital Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
In addition to Thesis and Dissertation projects, we maintain a lab group project that is investigating the influence of mood and health behaviors on overweight and obesity among college students. This is an ongoing data collection which we modify annually based on our results and new developments in the literature at large.
Receiving the majority of my current research effort is the Values Initiative project at Vidant CVPR. Taking a Engaged Scholarship approach, I am designing and implementing a variety of initiatives (e.g. patient education and staff training) that utilize life values to improve health behavior change among CVPR patients. Thinking of values (e.g. staying connected with friends and family) as a patient's guide to behaviors which will be reinforced (e.g. going for a walk with my grandkids every Tuesday) we help patients to make their health behaviors value-consistent. The theory is that values-consistent health behavior is more likely to be experienced as enjoyable and important, and thus patients will be more likely to adhere to their prescribed health behavior (i.e. exercise and dietary) goals.
Student Research Projects and Interests
Taylor Corson is a fifth-year graduate student who earned her MA in
clinical-health psychology from ECU in 2016 and a BA in psychology and
philosophy from Converse College in 2014. Her dissertation project
investigates executive functioning deficits in the transdiagnostic process of
Taylor Freeman is a fifth-year student who earned his MA in
Clinical Psychology from ECU in 2017 and a BA in Psychology and BS in
Biomedical Sciences from the University of South Florida in 2014. His
dissertation project involves using values-based behavior change to
promote exercise in college students. He completed his thesis project
with Dr. Whited in 2017, which involved investigating how depression and other
psychosocial variables affect attendance and completion rates in a
cardiovascular rehabilitation program.
Jordan Ellis is a fourth-year graduate student who earned his BA in
health and wellness promotion from UNC Asheville and his MA in clinical health
psychology from Appalachian State University. His research interests include
values guided health behavior change, picky and selective eating behavior in
adults, and the measurement of transdiagnostic mechanisms of psychopathology.