Marcellus M. Merritt

Marcellus M. Merritt

Associate Professor

Office: Garland Hall 216
Phone: (414) 229-6145
Curriculum Vita: pdf 210k


Ph.D., Howard University, 1997

Teaching and Research Interests:

My research program on stress and cardiovascular health disparities is comprised of two corresponding lines of work: 1) analysis of underlying social psychological and physiological stress mechanisms for excess rates of cardiovascular disease among diverse populations, and; 2) analysis of health protective behaviors that are linked with reduced risk for adverse health outcomes. My research focuses on settings, such as community health care centers, primary medical care settings, and laboratory contexts. My recent research examines how neuroendocrine (e.g., DHEA and cortisol) and immune responses to examination stress are related to blood pressure and heart rate responses to mental stressors for college students. Along with other aging scholars, I have also examined coping, psychological stress and daily cortisol responses among diverse Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia family caregivers. Currently, I am preparing clinical research trials which will examine how tailored relaxation interventions enhance cardiovascular and neuroendocrine recovery to mental stress among adults with a history of cardiovascular disease. My colleagues and I believe that providing proper coping skills training and improving cardiovascular recovery to psychosocial stress will reduce future risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. I teach undergraduate research methods and the psychology of race, ethnicity and health and a graduate seminar in social psychology. I plan on accepting new graduate students for Fall 2012.

Courses Taught:

Psych 325: Research Methods in Psychology
Psych 611: Race, Ethnicity, and Health
Psych 930: Seminar in Social Psychology

Recent Publications:

McCubbin, James A., Loveless, James P., Graham, Jack G., Hall, Gabrielle A., Bart, Ryan, Moore, DeWayne D., Merritt, Marcellus M., Lane, Richard D., and Thayer, Julian F. “Emotional dampening in persons with elevated blood pressure: Affect dysregulation and risk for hypertension.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine 47.1 (2014): 111-119.
Merritt, Marcellus M., McCallum, T. J., and Fritsch, Thomas. “Too much of a good thing?: Positive religious coping predicts worse diurnal salivary cortisol patterns for overwhelmed African-American female dementia family caregivers.” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 21.1 (2013): 46-56.
Merritt, Marcellus M., and Dillon, Sarah. “Depression and estimated functional aerobic capacity in young women: The good and the bad of John Henryism active coping.” Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research 17.1 (2012): 23-37.
McCubbin, James A., Merritt, Marcellus M., Sollers III, John J., Evans, Michele K., Zonderman, Alan B., Lane, Richard D., and Thayer, Julian F. “Cardiovascular Emotional Dampening: Blood Pressure Control and Accuracy of Emotion Recognition.” Psychosomatic Medicine, Society of Behavioral Medicine 73.9 (2011): 743-750.
Merritt, Marcellus M., McCallum, TJ, and Fritsch, Thomas. “How much striving is too much? John Henryism active coping predicts worse daily cortisol responses for African-American but not White female dementia family caregivers (in press).” American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 19.5 (2011): 451-460.