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:

  • Carroll, P. J., Shepperd, J. A., Sweeny, K., Carlson, E., & Benigno, J. P. (2007). Disappointment for others. Cognition and Emotion, 11, 1565-1576.
  • Carroll, P., Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2006). Forsaking optimism. Review of General Psychology, 10, 56-73.
  • 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.
  • Shepperd, J. A., Malone, W., & Sweeny, K. (2008). Exploring causes of the self-serving bias, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2, 895–908.
  • Shepperd, J. A., Sweeny, K., & Cherry, L.C. (2007). Influencing audience satisfaction by manipulating expectations. Social Influence, 2, 98-111.
  • Sweeny, K. (2012). Waiting well: Tips for navigating painful uncertainty. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 258-269.
  • Sweeny, K. (2008). Crisis decision theory: Decisions in the face of negative events. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 61-76.
  • 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.
  • 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., & Legg, A. M. (2011). Predictors of interest in direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Psychology & Health, 26(10), 1259-1272.
  • 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., & Miller, W. (2012). Predictors of information avoidance: When does ignorance seem most blissful? Self & Identity, 11, 185-201.
  • Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2010). The costs of optimism and the benefits of pessimism. Emotion, 10, 750-753.
  • 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. (2007). Being the best bearer of bad tidings. Review of General Psychology, 11, 235-257.
  • Sweeny, K., & Shepperd, J. A. (2007). Do people brace sensibly? Risk judgments and risk prevalence. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1064-1075.
  • Sweeny, K., Shepperd, J. A., & Carroll, P. J. (2009). Expectations for others’ outcomes. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 160-171.
  • Sweeny, K., & Vohs, K. D. (2012). On near misses and completed tasks: The nature of relief. Psychological Science, 23(5), 464-468.

Other Publications:

  • 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.
  • 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.

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

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

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