Steven Barger, PhD

Steven Barger Professor
Northern Arizona University
Social Psychology
Blg 60 Rm #315
Phone: 928-523-9619
Personal Page

BA 1987 Southern Methodist University
MA 1988 Southern Methodist University
PhD 1995 University of Utah
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine, 1996-1998 University of Pittsburgh


Professional interests

I study population health, particularly the association between one's social relationships and health. I am examining different social relationship domains (such as perceived emotional support; how frequently we are in contact with others - social integration) and a broad range of health resources. These include health knowledge, psychological well-being, health risk factors and "hard" health endpoints such as mortality. I hope to better understand how social relationships affect health (i.e., through established risk factors like blood pressure) as well as to characterize patterns of social connections.

I am also interested in health disparities, i.e., identifying modifiable differences in health and well-being across social groups. These group differences are marked by both racial/ethnic boundaries as well as by socioeconomic status (SES-education, income, etc.). I examine disparities utilizing both physical (i.e., chronic disease risk) and psychosocial (well-being, social ties) endpoints.

In our lab we emphasize rigorous data analytic workflow. Workflow, as defined by J. Scott Long, is the process of documenting your data activities, creating and verifying variables, conducting replicable, defensible and transparent statistical analyses, outputting analyses for presentation, and archiving this work. ( We use Stata for workflow and data analysis.

Recent publications 

  • Barger, S.D., & Uchino, B. (2017). Racial and ethnic variation in the association of social integration with mortality: Ten-year prospective population-based US study. Scientific Reports, 7, 43874. < > doi: 10.1038/srep43874
  • Barger, S.D., Cribbet, M.R., & Muldoon, M.F. (2017). Leukocyte telomere length and cardiovascular risk scores for prediction of cardiovascular mortality. Epidemiology, 28, e13-e15. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000588 [PubMed abstract]
  • Barger, S.D., & Cribbet, M.R., & Muldoon, M.F. (2016). Participant-reported health status predicts cardiovascular and all-cause mortality independent of established and nontraditional biomarkers: evidence from a representative US sample. Journal of the American Heart Association, 5, e0034741. <> Doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116003741
  • Barger, S.D., & Cribbet, M.R. (2016). Social support sources matter: Increased cellular aging among adults with unsupportive spouses. Biological Psychology, 115, 43-49. doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.01.003 [PubMed abstract]
  • Barger, S.D., Messerli-Bürgy, N., & Barth, J. (2014). Social relationship correlates of major depressive disorder and depressive symptoms in a representative sample of adults in Switzerland: Nationally representative cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health14, 273. [PubMed abstract]
  • Barger, S.D. (2013). Social integration, social support and mortality in the US National Health Interview Survey. Psychosomatic Medicine75, 510-517. [PubMed abstract]
  • Larson, N.C., Barger, S.D., & Sydeman, S.J. (2013). Type D personality is not associated with coronary heart disease risk in a North American sample of retirement-aged adults. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 277-285. [PubMed abstract] *
  • Barger, S.D. (2012). Perceived emotional support and frequent social contacts are associated with greater knowledge of stroke warning signs: Evidence from two U.S. population surveys. Journal of Health Psychology17, 169-178. [PubMed abstract]
  • Lutes, L.D., Daiss, S.R., Barger, S.D., Read, M., Steinbaugh, E., & Winett, R.A. (2012). Small changes approach promotes initial and continued weight loss with a phone-based follow-up: Nine-month outcomes from ASPIRES II. American Journal of Health Promotion26, 235-8.[PubMed abstract]
  • Wayment, H.A., Barger, S.D., Tolle, L.W., & O’Mara, E.M. (2010). Who gets blamed for a collective tragedy? The role of distress, identification with victims, and time. Journal of Loss and Trauma15, 481-497. *
  • Barger, S.D., Donoho, C.J., & Wayment, H.A. (2009). The relative contributions of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health, and social relationships to life satisfaction in the United States. Quality of Life Research, 18, 179-189. [PubMed abstract] *
  • Barger, S.D., & Gallo, L.C. (2008). Ability of ethic self-identification to partition modifiable health risk among US residents of Mexican ancestry. American Journal of Public Health98, 1971-1978. [PubMed abstract]
  • Lutes, L.D. , Winett, R.A., Barger, S.D., Wojcik, J.R., Herbert, W.G., Nickols-Richardson, S.M., & Anderson, E.S. (2008). Small changes in nutrition and physical activity promote weight loss and maintenance: Three-month evidence from the ASPIRE randomized trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 35, 351-357. [PubMed abstract]
  • Barger, S.D., Burke, S.M., & Limbert, M.J. (2007). Do induced moods really influence health perceptions? Health Psychology,26, 85-95. [PubMed abstract] *
  • The null induced mood effect on global self rated health in our work was replicated by Karademas, E.C. (2009). Effects of exposure to the suffering of unknown persons on health-related cognitions, and the role of mood. Health13(5), 491-504.
  • Croyle, R.T., Loftus, E.F., Barger, S.D., Sun, Y-C., Hart, M., & Getting, J. (2006). How well do people recall risk factor test results? Accuracy and bias among cholesterol screening participants. Health Psychology25, 425-432. [PubMed abstract]
  • Barger, S.D., & Muldoon, M.F. (2006). Hypertension labelling was associated with poorer self-rated health in the Third US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Journal of Human Hypertension20, 117-123. [PubMed abstract]
  • This study was replicated by researchers at the CDC: Hayes, D.K, Denny, C.H., Keenan, N.L., Croft, J.B., & Greenlund, K.J. (2008). Health-related quality of life and hypertension status, awareness, treatment, and control: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2004. Journal of Hypertension26(4), 641-647.
*Student co-authored papers