Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Kate Sweeny

Kate Sweeny

My research examines threat management: how people give news of, prepare for, and respond to negative life events. People often face the possibility or reality of undesirable outcomes in domains ranging from their health, career, and relationships to the most mundane arenas of life. The processes by which people anticipate the possibility of bad news, pass along bad news to others, and respond to the events that ultimately occur are the subjects of my diverse but interconnected research program. These lines of research incorporate the study of risk judgments, coping, decision-making, emotions, social cognition, and communication.

Primary Interests:

  • Communication, Language
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Health Psychology
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Self and Identity
  • Social Cognition

Research Group or Laboratory:

Journal Articles:

  • Sweeny, K., & Vohs, K. D. (2012). On near misses and completed tasks: The nature of relief. Psychological Science, 23(5), 464-468.
  • Sweeny, K. (2012). Waiting well: Tips for navigating painful uncertainty. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 258-269.
  • Sweeny, K., & Cavanaugh, A. G. (2012). Waiting is the hardest part: A model of uncertainty navigation in the context of health news. Health Psychology Review, 6, 147-164.
  • Sweeny, K., & Miller, W. (2012). Predictors of information avoidance: When does ignorance seem most blissful? Self & Identity, 11, 185-201.
  • Cavanaugh, A. G., & Sweeny, K. (2012). Hanging in the balance: The role of self-construal abstractness in navigating self-relevant uncertainty. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.
  • Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2010). The costs of optimism and the benefits of pessimism. Emotion, 10, 750-753.
  • Sweeny, K., Melnyk, D., Miller, W., & Shepperd, J. A. (2010). Information avoidance: Who, what, when, and why. Review of General Psychology, 14, 340-353.
  • Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2009). Responding to negative health events: A test of the bad news response model. Psychology & Health, 24, 895-907.
  • Sweeny, K., Shepperd, J. A., & Carroll, P. J. (2009). Expectations for others’ outcomes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 160-171.
  • Shepperd, J. A., Malone, W., & Sweeny, K. (2008). Exploring causes of the self-serving bias, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 895–908.
  • Sweeny, K. (2008). Crisis decision theory: Decisions in the face of negative events. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 61-76.
  • Shepperd, J. A., Sweeny, K., & Cherry, L.C. (2007). Influencing audience satisfaction by manipulating expectations. Social Influence, 2, 98-111.
  • Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2007). Do people brace sensibly? Risk judgments and risk prevalence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1064-1075.
  • Carroll, P. J., Shepperd, J. A., Sweeny, K., Carlson, E., & Benigno, J. P. (2007). Disappointment for others. Cognition and Emotion, 11, 1565-1576.
  • Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2007). Being the best bearer of bad tidings. Review of General Psychology, 11, 235-257.
  • Sweeny, K., Carroll, P. J., & Shepperd, J. A. (2006). Thinking about the future: Is optimism always best? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 302-306.
  • Carroll, P., Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2006). Forsaking optimism. Review of General Psychology, 10, 56-73.
  • Sweeny, K., & Legg, A. M. (2011). Predictors of interest in direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Psychology & Health, 26(10), 1259-1272.

Other Publications:

  • Shepperd, J. A., Sweeny, K., & Carroll, P. J. (2006). Abandoning optimism in predictions about the future. In L. J. Sanna & E. Chang (Eds.), Judgments over time: The interplay of thoughts, feelings and behaviors, pp.13-33. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Shepperd, J. A., Carroll, P. J., & Sweeny, K. (2007). A functional approach to explaining fluctuations in future outlooks: From self-enhancement to self-criticism. In E. Chang (ed.), The complexities of self-criticism and self-enhancement: Theory, research and clinical implications, pp. 161-180. Washington, DC: APA press.

Kate Sweeny
Department of Psychology
University of California
900 University Avenue
Riverside, CA 92521
United States

  • Phone: (951) 827-7165
  • Fax: (951) 827-3985

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