Frederick X. Gibbons

Degree: Ph.D., 1976, University of Texas at Austin
Contact information:
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Research Interests:
Health and clinical applications of social psychology, social comparison, and health-risk behaviors
Research Synopsis: Applies social psychology to the study of health (e.g., substance use, risky sex, cancer-risk behavior), with a particular focus on the effects of racial prejudice. Other interests include health decision-making among adolescents and young adults (from a dual-processing perspective), long-term health effects of interpersonal stress during adolescence, and the effects of gene by environment interactions on health.
Recent News:
  • Began appointment as Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut, August 2012
  • Third NIDA R01 research grant focusing on factors influencing health behavior of young African American adults (link)
Recent Publications: Publications since 2010, indexed on Google Scholar
Representative Publications:
      Roberts, M.E.,* Gibbons, F.X., Gerrard, M., Weng, C.-Y., Murry, V.M., Simons, L.G., Simons, R.L., & Lorenz, F.O. (2012). From racial discrimination to risky sex: Prospective relations involving peers and parents. Developmental Psychology, 48, 89-102. DOI: 10.1037/a0025430


    O’Hara, R.E.,* Gibbons, F.X., Weng, C-Y., Gerrard, M., & Simons, R.L. (2012) Perceived racial discrimination as a barrier to college attendance for African Americans: Mediation by academic orientation and expectations Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 77-89. DOI: 10.1177/0146167211420732

    Gibbons, F.X., Roberts, M.E., Gerrard, M., Li, Z., Beach, S.R.H., Simons, R.L., Weng, C-Y., & Philibert, R.A. (2012). The impact of stress on the life history strategies of African American adolescents: Cognitions, genetic moderation, and the role of discrimination. Developmental Psychology, 48, 722-739 (special issue on evolutionary-developmental psychology). DOI: 10.1037/a0026599

    Gibbons, F.X., O’Hara, R.E., Stock, M.L., Gerrard, M., Weng, C-Y., Wills, T.A. (2012). The erosive effects of racism: Reduced self-control mediates the relation between perceived racial discrimination and substance use in African American adolescents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102, 1089-1104. DOI: 10.1037/a0027404

    Gerrard, M., Stock, M.L., Roberts, M.E., Gibbons, F.X., O’Hara, R.E., Weng, C-Y & Wills, T.A. (2012). Coping with racial discrimination: The role of substance use. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 26, 55 -560. DOI: 10.1037/a0027711

    Stock, M.L., Gibbons, F.X., Gerrard, M., Houlihan, A.E., Simons, R.L. & Weng, C.-Y. (2013). Racial identification, racial composition, and substance use vulnerability among African American adolescents and young adults. Health Psychology, 32, 237-247. DOI: 10.1037/a0030149

    Stock, M.L., Gibbons, F.X, Peterson, L.M., & Gerrard, M. (2013). The effects of racial discrimination on the HIV-risk cognitions and behaviors of Black adolescents and young adults. Health Psychology, 32, 543-550 (special issue on social psychology theory and health behavior). DOI:

    O’Hara, R.E.,* Gibbons, F.X., Li, Z., Gerrard, M., & Sargent, J.D. (2013). Specificity of early movie effects on adolescent sexual behavior and alcohol use. Social Science & Medicine, 96, 200-207. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.07.032

    Roberts, M.E.,* Gibbons, F.X., Gerrard, M., & Kingsbury, J.H. (2014). Not intending but somewhat willing: The influence of visual primes on risky sex decisions. British Journal of Health Psychology, 19(3), 553-565. DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12055

    Gibbons, F.X., Kingsbury, J.H., Weng, C.-Y., Gerrard, M., Cutrona, C.E., Wills, T.A., & Stock, M.L. (2014). Effects of perceived racial discrimination on health status and health behavior: A differential mediation hypothesis. Health Psychology, 33, 11-19 (for a special issue on racial discrimination and health). DOI:

    Kingsbury, J.H.,* Gibbons, F.X., & Gerrard, M. (2015). The effects of social and health consequence framing on heavy drinking intentions among college students. British Journal of Health Psychology, 20(1), 212-220. DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12100

    Beach, S.R.H., Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F.X., Brody, G.H., & Philibert, R.A. (2015). A role for epigenetics in broadening the scope of pediatric care in the prevention of adolescent smoking. Epigenetic Diagnosis & Therapy, 1(2), 91-97. DOI: 10.2174/2214083201999140320153918

    Stock, M. L., Gibbons, F. X., Beekman, J. B., & Gerrard, M. (2015). It only takes once: The absent-exempt heuristic and reactions to comparison-based sexual risk information. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(1), 35-52. DOI:10.1037/a0039277

    Gibbons, F.X., Stock, M.L., Gerrard, M., & Finneran, S. (2015). The Prototype – Willingness Model. In. M Conner & P. Norman (Eds.) Predicting and changing health behaviour: Research and practice with social cognition models. (3rd Ed.; pp. 189 – 224). Berkshire, UK: Open University Press.

    Gibbons, F.X. & Gerrard, M. (2016). Reactions to the meta-analyses of the Prototype-Willingness Model. Health Psychology Review (10), 44-46. DOI: 10.1080/17437199.2015.1116020

    Gibbons, F.X., Kingsbury, J.H., Wills, T.A., Finneran, S.D., Dal Cin, S., Gerrard, M. (2016). Impulsivity Moderates the Effects of Movie Alcohol Portrayals on Adolescents’ Willingness to Drink. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30 (3), 325-334. DOI: 10.1037/adb0000178

    Wills, T.A., Gibbons, F.X., Sargent, J.D., & Williams, R.J. (2016). How Is the Effect of Adolescent E-cigarette Use on Smoking Onset Mediated: A Longitudinal Analysis. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30, 876-886. DOI: 10.1037/adb0000213

    Gerrard, M., Gibbons, F.X., Fleischli, M., Cutrona, C.E., & Stock, M.L. (2017). Moderation of the effect of stress-induced affective responses to discrimination on health outcomes. Psychology and Health, 32.

    Gibbons, F.X., & Stock, M.L. (in press) Perceived racial discrimination and health behavior: Mediation and Moderation. In B. Major, J.F. Dovidio, & B.G. Link (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Stigma, Discrimination, and Health. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

    * Graduate student first author