Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Michael Poulin

Michael Poulin

I am currently an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University at Buffalo. My primary research interests are in prosocial motivation and in stress and coping. I am particularly interested in the role of the caregiving behavioral system in motivating prosocial behavior and buffering the effects of stress on health and well-being. Adversity seldom strikes only one individual at a time; people experiencing stress are surrounded by close and non-close others who are similarly burdened. What individual and contextual factors predict a caregiving response towards others, and what implications might that have for individual adjustment? Current research in our lab seeks to address these questions, as well as the biological and motivational mechanisms by which the caregiving system exerts its influence.

I am also interested in the social context of stress and trauma more broadly, including the interplay between traumatic events and socially-significant worldviews such as just world beliefs, religiosity, political attitudes, and beliefs about the benevolence of others.

Primary Interests:

  • Close Relationships
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Evolution and Genetics
  • Health Psychology
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Neuroscience, Psychophysiology
  • Person Perception
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Political Psychology

Research Group or Laboratory:

Journal Articles:

  • Adler, J. M., & Poulin, M. J. (2009). The political is personal: Narrating 9/11 and psychological well-being. Journal of Personality, 77, 903-932.
  • Brown, S. L., Fredrickson, B. L., Wirth, M. M., Poulin, M. J., Meier, E. A., Heaphy, E. D., Cohen, M. D., & Schultheiss, O. C. (2009). Social closeness increases salivary progesterone in humans. Hormones and Behavior, 56, 108-111.
  • Brown, S. L., Smith, D. M., Schulz, R., Kabeto, M. U., Ubel, P. A., Poulin, M. J., Yi, J., Kim, C., & Langa, K. M. (2009). Caregiving behavior is associated with decreased mortality risk. Psychological Science, 20, 488-494.
  • Gil-Rivas, V., Silver, R. C., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., & Poulin, M. J. (2007). Parental response and adolescent adjustment to the September 11th terrorist attacks. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 20, 1063-1068.
  • Holman, E. A., Silver, R. C., Poulin, M. J., Pizarro, J., Gil-Rivas, V., & McIntosh, D. N. (2008). Early predictors of cardiovascular health over three years following September 11. Archives of General Psychiatry, 65, 73-80.
  • Poulin, M. J., Brown, S. L., Ubel, P. A., Smith, D. M., Jankovic, A., & Langa, K. M. (2010). Does a helping hand mean a heavy heart? Helping behavior and well-being among spouse caregivers. Psychology and Aging, 25, 108-117.
  • Poulin, M. J., & Heckhausen, J. (2007). Stressful events compromise goal striving during a major life transition. Motivation and Emotion, 31, 300-311.
  • Poulin, M. J., & Silver, R. C. (2008). World benevolence beliefs and well-being across the life span. Psychology and Aging, 23, 13-23.
  • Poulin, M. J., Silver, R. C., Gil-Rivas, V., Holman, E. A., & McIntosh, D. N. (2009). Finding social benefits after a collective trauma: Perceiving societal changes and well-being following 9/11. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 22, 81-90.
  • Silver, R. C., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Poulin, M. J., & Gil-Rivas, V. (2002). Nationwide longitudinal study of psychological responses to September 11. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 288, 1235-1244.
  • Silver, R. C., Poulin, M. J., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Gil-Rivas, V., & Pizarro, J. (2005). Exploring the myths of coping with a national trauma: A longitudinal study of responses to the September 11th terrorist attacks. Journal of Aggression.

Other Publications:

  • Poulin, M. J., Haase, C., & Heckhausen, J. (2005). Engagement with and disengagement from goals across the life span: A comparison of two-process models of developmental regulation. In W. Greve, K. Rothermund, & D. Wentura (Eds.), The adaptive self: Personal continuity and intentional self-development (pp. 117-136). Göttingen/New York: Hogrefe/Huber Publisher.
  • Poulin, M. J., & Heckhausen, J. (in press). The life-span theory of control. In R. Schulz, L. Noelker, K. Rockwood, & R. Sprott (Eds.), The encyclopedia of aging (4th ed.). New York: Springer.
  • Silver, R. C., Holman, E. A., McIntosh, D. N., Poulin, M. J., Gil-Rivas, V., & Pizarro, J. (2006). Coping with a national trauma: A nationwide longitudinal study of responses to the terrorist attacks of September 11. In Y. Neria, R. Gross, R. Marshall, & E. Susser (Eds.), 9/11: Mental health in the wake of terrorist attacks (pp. 45-70). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Michael Poulin
Department of Psychology
University at Buffalo, Park Hall
Buffalo, New York 14260
United States

  • Phone: (716) 645-0518

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