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Department of Psychology

Faculty and Staff Directory

Cheryl A. Armstead

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Psychology
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-4137
Office: Barnwell College, 429
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]


Ethnicity, cardiovascular psychophysiology, blood pressure, heart rate, stress, racism, hostility, gender, socioeconomic status, cardiovascular disease, STD prevention.

Research Interests

Relationships between racism and cardiovascular reactivity to laboratory stress; hostility and stress reactivity; socioeconomic status and cardiovascular disease, health promotion.

Research Statement

One aspect of my research concerns the relationship between psychological processes and cardiovascular responses. The psychological processes under investigation include exposure to racism, hostility, modes of anger expression, and styles of coping. These characteristics are examined for their relationship to stress-induced increases in blood pressure, cardiac output, and total peripheral resistance. A second aspect focuses on the role of constitutional factors in cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Recent studies have focused on race, gender and socioeconomic status. Our stressors include discussions of racism, discussions of anger experiences, racism film stressors, and naturalistic stressors. Finally, we are beginning new research on the psychophysiology of coping. Other research examines risky sexual behavior among university students and African American women and body image.

USC Behavioral Medicine Laboratory

In my lab, we are currently investigating:

  • Bio-behavioral pathways by which socioeconomic status and racism mediate the development of hypertension.
  • Linkages between hypertension risk factors and cardiovascular hyper-reactivity to laboratory stressors among African Americans.
  • The psychology of risky sexual behavior.
  • The implementation of health promotion strategies targeted toward under-served populations.

Representative Publications

Macera, C., Armstead, C., & Anderson, N. (2000). Sociocultural influences on minority health. In T. Revenson (Eds.), Handbook of Health Psychology. Chapter 6. CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
McNeilly, M., Anderson, N.B., Robinson, E.F., McManus, C.F., Armstead, C.A., Clark, R., Peiper, C.F., Simons, C., & Saulter, T.D. (1996). The convergent, discriminant, and concurrent criterion validity of the perecived racism scale: A multidimensional assessment of White racism among African Americans. In R. L. Jones (Eds.), Handbook Tests and Measurements for Black Populations (Vol., 2, pp. 359-374). Hampton, VA: Cobb and Henry Publishers.
Lawler, K.A., Schmied, L.A., Armstead, C.A., & Lacy, N.E. (1991). Type A Behavior, Desire of Control, and Cardiovascular Reactivity in Young Adult Women. In M.J. Strube (Eds.), Type A Behavior. CA: Sage Publications, Inc.
Armstead, C., & Clark, R. (2001). Assessment of anger expression in pre- and early-adolescent African Americans: Psychometric considerations. Journal of Aolescence, .
Clark, R., & Armstead, C. (2000). Family conflict predicts blood pressure changes in African-American adolescents: A preliminary examination. Journal of Adolescence, 23, 355-358.
Clark, R., & Armstead, C. (2000). A preliminary study examining relationship between family environment and resting mean arterial pressure in African-American youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 27, 3-5.
Good, B.J., Kunitz, S., Armstead, C.A., Bastida, E., Haan, M., Johnson, K., Kramer, B.J., Moss, N., & Wong, M. (1996). Behavioral and sociocultural perspectives on ethnicity and health. Health Psychology, 18, 1502-1601.
McNeilly, M.D., Anderson, N.B., Armstead, C.A., Clark, R.A., Corbett, M., Robinson, E.L., Pieper, C.F., & Lepisto, E.M. (1995). The perceived racism scale: A multidimensional assessment of the experience of white racism among African Americans. Ethnicity and Disease, 5(2), .
Anderson, N.B., & Armstead, C.A. (1995). Toward understanding the association of socioeconomic status and health: A new challenge for the biopsychosocial approach. Psychosomatic Medicine, 23, 3726-3751.
Anderson, N.B., McNeilly, M.D., Armstead, C.A., Clark, R.A., & Pieper, C. (1994). Assessment of Cardiovascular Reactivity: A methodological overview. Ethnicity and Disease, 3(4), .
Lawler, K., Harralson, T., Armstead, C., Schmied, L., & Patton, E. (1993). Gender, and cardiovascular responses: What is the role of hostility. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 37(6), 603-613.
Lawler, K.A., Armstead, C.A., & Patton, E.K. (1991). Type A behavior and intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivational orientation in male college students. Psychological Record. 41(3), 335- 342.
Lawler, K.A., Lacy, J., Armstead, C.A., & Lawler, J.E. (1991). Family history of hypertension, gender, and cardiovascular responsivity during stress. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 14(2), 169-186.
Lawler, K.A., Schmied, L.A., Armstead, C.A., & Lacy, J.E. (1990). Type A behavior, desire for control, and cardiovascular reactivity in young adult women. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality. 5(1), 135-158.
Armstead, C., Lawler, K., Gordon, G., Cross, J., & Gibbons, J. (1989). The relationship of racial stressors to blood pressure responses and anger expressions in ebon college students. Health Psychology, 8, 542-556.
Armstead, C.A., Lawler, K.A., Lawler, J.E., & Anderson, N.B. (under review). Exposure to racial stimuli: Effects on cardiovascular and anger responses among black women. Ethnicity and Disease, .
Armstead, C., Clark, R., & Anderson, N. (under review). A question of color: Relationships between skin tone, perceived stress, racism and resting blood pressure among African American women. Journal of Black Psychology, .
Armstead, C.A., Anderson, N.B., & Lawler, K.A. (under review). The interactive effects of socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and cardiovascular reactivity to a speech stressor in Black and White women. Ethnicity and Disease, .
Armstead, C.A., Anderson, N.B., Muna, W.F.T., Nouedoui, K., Campbell-Adams, L. (in prep.). The interactive effects of urbanicity and central adiposity on cardiovascular reactivity in Cameroonians. Ethnicity and Disease, .


Society for Behavioral Medicine (2001). Best Visual Presentation. The Interactive Effects Of Urbanicity And Body Mass Index On Cardiovascular Reactivity In Cameroonians. Poster Presentation. Annual Meeting Of The Society For Behavioral Medicine. Seattle Washington. March 22-26, 2001
NHBLI Minority Supplement Fellowship (1993-1994). University of North Carolina Alumni Heart Study. Duke University Medical Center, Department of Psychiatry. Division of Medical Psychology, Behavioral Medicine Research Center.
NIMH Post-doctoral Fellowship (1991-1993). Behavioral Medicine Research Center, Duke Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.
Annual Graduate Student Teaching/Research Award (1991). University of Tennessee.
Dissertation Fellowship, American Psychological Association (1990-1991).
Minority Research Fellowship, American Psychological Association (1987-1990).
Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Honorary, St. Louis University Chapter (1987).
Psi Chi, Illinois Wesleyan University (1982).


Centers for Disease Control. Syphilis Community Outreach, Prevention and Education (SCOPE) PH-7-514
Society of the Psychological Study of Social Issues Grants-in-aid. Examining the Effects of Racial Stress: The Midlands Minority Health Study
Centers for Disease Control. Cross-Cultural Activity Participation Study

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.