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Holt-Lunstad, Julianne

Holt-Lunstad, Julianne


Julianne Holt-Lunstad, born in Minneapolis, United States, in 1971. Ph.D. from the University of Utah. Associate Professor of Psychology at the Brigham Young University.

Theme Group Fellow (1 February 2015 – 30 April 2015)

Social Support: Channels, Contexts, Health Consequences, and Technological Applications

Research Question

Technology has the potential to both enhance and detract from face-to-face social interactions. Despite increases in use of technology, subsequent increases in social isolation and loneliness raise important questions. Most importantly, do technology-mediated social interactions have the same salubrious health effects that have previously been well-documented? If so, can we utilize these tools to effectively intervene to increase social support?

Project Description

The primary scientific goal of our theme group is to further identify the conscious and unconscious mechanisms underlying social support, and to develop technological applications that can potentiate or approximate “real” social support. Our work will focus on social support (a) through conscious and nonconscious channels (e.g., verbally vs. nonverbally, controllably vs. automatically), (b) in various relational contexts (e.g., significant other, family, friends, colleagues), (c) at multiple levels (e.g., within a person’s mental construal, between relational partners, among group members, or as part of a cultural syndrome), and (d) in multiple contexts (e.g., face-to-face interaction, computer-mediated communication) that may complement one another. The causal and predictive effects on psychological and physical health outcomes will be assessed by behavioral and physiological measures.

Selected Publications

1) Holt-Lunstad, J., Smith, T.B., Layton, B. (2010). Social Relationships and Mortality: A meta-analysis. PLoS Medicine 7(7): e1000316. doi:10.1371.

2) Holt-Lunstad, J., Birmingham, W.A., & Light, K.L. (2008). The influence of a “warm touch” support enhancement intervention among married couples on ambulatory blood pressure, oxytocin, alpha amylase and cortisol. Psychosomatic Medicine, 70, 976-85.

3) Holt-Lunstad, J., Birmingham, W., & Jones, B.Q. (2008). Is there something unique about marriage? The relative impact of marital status, relationship quality, and network support on ambulatory blood pressure and mental health. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 35, 239-244.

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