January 24, 2014

Psychology Prof. Jason Siegel receives Early Career Research Award from the Western Psychological Association

Jason Siegel, research associate professor in Claremont Graduate University (CGU’s) School of Social Science, Policy, and Evaluation, has received the Early Career Research Award from the Western Psychological Association (WPA).

Jason SiegelSiegel is a social health psychologist whose primary areas of research focus on organ donation, depression, and drug abuse prevention. The Early Career Research Award is given annually to a WPA member relatively new in his or her career who has demonstrated outstanding promise in research. Such promise can be demonstrated through success in publishing work and in obtaining research grants.

In less than a decade as a professor, Siegel has emerged as one of the most energetic and innovative researchers in his field, and he is unmatched in his dedication to improving and extending people’s lives through science.

He has used theories of persuasion to create campaigns to increase the number of human organs available for transplantation among Hispanics. He has also investigated ways of overcoming psychological and economic barriers to organ donation among recent immigrants.

Siegel has partnered with fellow CGU faculty to examine issues surrounding teen smoking and the abuse of inhalants. In addition to publishing extensively on the topics, he helped to create advertisements designed to reduce adolescent use of inhalants. He has also investigated ways in which parents can play an increased role in reducing marijuana use among teens.

His research in the substance abuse and persuasion domains propelled him to begin a new stream of research focused on influencing people with depression to seek help. Prior to Siegel’s work, little research existed in this area despite statistics showing that about half of people who commit suicide do so without telling another person. Siegel’s efforts in this field helped to reveal that advertising campaigns urging people to seek treatment for depression are often counterproductive and reduce the likelihood that subjects will seek help.

Siegel has presented more than two dozen times at major conferences and has published 41 peer-reviewed articles, a dozen book chapters, two books, and an invited editorial. His research is currently funded by four federal grants, including support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the US Department of health and Human Services.

"Receiving this award is means a great deal because of the admiration I have for those who nominated me," Siegel said. "I am lucky to have such distinguished colleagues. To know they took the time to nominate me for this award is flattering beyond belief."

Stewart Donaldson, dean of CGU’s School of Social Science, Policy, and Evaluation, nominated Siegel for the award, citing Siegel’s extraordinary record of achievement.

"Jason is an exceptionally productive, energetic, and admirable young psychologist," said Donaldson, who received the same award in 2001. "His scholarship, teaching, and mentorship of the next generation of psychological researchers are truly exemplary. I can think of no one who is more deserving of this honor."

The WPA was founded in 1921 for the purpose of stimulating the exchange of scientific and professional ideas and, in so doing to enhance interest in the processes of research and scholarship in the behavioral sciences.