The UC Merced Health Behaviors Research Lab investigates the psychological and social underpinnings of health behaviors. Behaviors we commonly study include tobacco use (including e-cigarettes), marijuana use, and dietary/weight maintenance behaviors.

Within these behaviors, we are interested in understanding why some groups are more vulnerable to these risk behaviors, especially youth. Moreover, we are particularly interested in identifying who is most vulnerable to these behaviors and their effects, including racial/ethnic and socioeconomic status groups.

Our lab is also linked to the UC Merced Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center (NCPC), the first research center funded by California’s Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program. NCPC’s mission is to conduct community-engaged research to support strong tobacco and cannabis policies for the San Joaquin Valley and Sierra Foothills.

The Lab is led by Anna V. Song, PhD. Dr. Song is an Associate Professor of Health Psychology and the director of the Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center. Her research program is focused on health risk behaviors, including youth tobacco use and weight maintenance. She is primarily interested in how societal-level factors (e.g., policies) impact individual-level decision-making surround health behaviors. For her current work, see access her Google Scholar profile or her CV.

The Health Behaviors Research Lab is comprised of Postdoctoral researchers, PhD students, and undergraduate research assistants, including:

Deanna Halliday, MA

Allison Temourian, MA

Anna Epperson, PhD