School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences;
UT Southwestern Medical Center
PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
My research focuses on understanding how people cope with acute and chronic health threats. My work draws on a self-regulatory framework, which posits that health threats activate a common-sense understanding of health problems; this common-sense understanding then guides ongoing efforts to manage the threat. Within this framework, health threats are represented at both an abstract, rational level (e.g., I have high cholesterol which may increase my risk of heart disease) and a concrete, emotional level (e.g., feeling fear and distress upon remembering my father's heart attack). The general goal of my research is to understand not only how people manage the health threat per se (e.g., change diet and take medication to lower cholesterol), but also how negative emotions are generated by health threats, how emotions influence health threat representations and coping behaviors, and how emotions are regulated to promote illness management and adjustment. Two primary questions guide most of my research: 1) How do stable tendencies to experience negative emotion (e.g., neuroticism, trait anxiety, negative affectivity) influence health behaviors and adjustment to illness?; and 2) How do social/family and developmental factors interface with this self-regulation process? To date, much of my work has focused on these issues in the context of adolescent diabetes management. Understanding factors that contribute to successful diabetes management during adolescence is crucial because this is a time when adherence and metabolic control commonly deteriorate, and skills for a lifetime of independent self-care are established. Identifying factors that promote successful diabetes management during adolescence can thus guide more effective interventions. Insights gained from my research are most directly applicable to adolescents with diabetes; however, the concepts are general and can readily be extended to other illnesses and developmental contexts. For instance, I have recently begun a study of couples coping with prostate cancer.
Wang JT, Wiebe DJ, White PC (2011). Developmental trajectories of metabolic control among White, Black, and Hispanic youth with type 1 diabetes. The Journal of Pediatrics, 159(4), 571-6.
Wiebe DJ, Gelfand D, Butler JM, Korbel C, Fortenberry KT, McCabe JE, Berg CA (2011). Longitudinal associations of maternal depressive symptoms, maternal involvement, and diabetes management across adolescence. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36(7), 837-846.
Tran V, Wiebe DJ, Fortenberry KT, Butler JM, Berg CA (2011). Benefit finding, affective reactions to diabetes stress, and diabetes management among early adolescents. Health Psychology, 30(2), 212-219.
Palmer DL, Osborn P, King P, Berg CA, Butler J, Butner J, Horton D, Wiebe DJ (2011). The structure of parental involvement and relations to disease management for youth with type 1 Diabetes. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36(5), 596-605.
Croom A, Wiebe DJ, Berg CA, Lindsey R, Donaldson D, Foster C, Murray M, Swinyard M (2011). Adolescent and patient perceptions of patient-centered communication while managing type 1 diabetes. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36(2), 206-215.