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.

I am interested in taking a thesis student for the Fall 2017 semester.

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