Marcellus M. Merritt
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.
Psych 325: Research Methods in Psychology
Psych 611: Race, Ethnicity, and Health
Psych 930: Seminar in Social Psychology
Merritt, M. M., McCallum, T. J., Fritsch, T. (2011). 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. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 19(5), 451-460.
O'Connell, C., Edwards, C., Pearce, M., Wachholtz, A., Wood., M., Muhammad, M., Leach-Beale, B., Shelby, R., McDougald, C., Harrison, M., Feliu, M., Edwards, L., Whitfield, K., Merritt, M. et al. (2009). Religious coping and pain associated with Sickle cell disease: Exploration of a non-linear model. Journal of African American Studies, 13(1), 1-13.
Merritt, M. M., Bennett, G. G., Williams, R. B., Edwards, C. L., Sollers, J. J. III (2006). Perceived racism and cardiovascular reactivity and recovery to personally-relevant stress. Health Psychology, 25(3), 364-369.
Merritt, M. M., Bennett, G. G. Jr., Williams, R. B., Sollers, J .J. III, & Thayer, J. F. (2004). Low educational attainment, John Henryism and cardiovascular reactivity and recovery to personally-relevant stress. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66(1), 49-55.
Thayer, J. F., Merritt, M. M., Sollers, J .J. III, Zonderman, A. B., Evans, M. K., Yie, S., & Abernethy, D. R. (2003). Effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme insertion/deletion polymorphism DD genotype on high-frequency heart rate variability in African- Americans. American Journal of Cardiology, 92, 1487-1490.