Biobehavioral Health Alumni Profile: Jerod L. Stapleton, Ph.D.

Photo of Jerod Stapleton


B.S 2004 East Tennessee State University
Ph.D. 2010 Biobehavioral Health, The Pennsylvania State University

On the Ph.D. program, in his words:

I cannot envision another Ph.D. program that would have prepared me as well as BBH for my current position as a behavior scientist working at a Comprehensive Cancer Center. Cancer centers are required to have strong and complimentary research programs that span from cells to human populations and I routinely interact with investigators from diverse disciplines. I have found that the rich, multi-disciplinary knowledge gained from my BBH training allows me to appreciate and understand a wide variety of basic and clinical research. I have been able to pursue collaborative projects with basic scientists that would be much more difficult without my BBH training. The research experiences I received outside of the classroom provided a truly unique opportunity to work on multiple nationally funded projects while developing my own independent research. Transitioning to a faculty position is a very difficult task but my extensive research experiences were essential in providing me with real-world insights, prospectives, and skills that made it a successful experience.

Current areas of professional interest are:

Applying and developing decision making models related to health behaviors; the influence of one’s social environment including peers, family members, significant others, and the media in influencing and reinforcing health behaviors; developing programs designed to promote healthy behavior and lifestyles. Much of my current project focuses on studying the use of indoor tanning beds in young adult women.

Current Position

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey & Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Ph.D. Thesis

Pre-College Matriculation Risk Profiles and Freshman Drinking Trajectories

Brief description: This study was designed to understand the complex, naturally occurring patterns of decision-making variables related to alcohol use of incoming college students and how these patterns influence students’ alcohol consumption during their first two years of college. The findings suggested that there was a general increase in drinking upon college matriculation but the amount and consistency of this increase was highly variable for students and depended on their views of alcohol prior to entering college.

Ph.D. advisor

Rob Turrisi, Ph.D.