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College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Faculty and Staff Profile

James McCubbin

Professor, Psychology, Public Health Sciences

Office: 312-E Brackett Hall

Phone: 864 656 3929


Vita: View

Educational Background

PhD Psychology and Neurobiology
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 1980

MA Psychology
Wake Forest University 1976

BA Psychology
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill 1974

Courses Taught

Health Psychology
Introductory Psychology
Laboratory Based Research Training
Honors Research
Honors Stress and Health

Survey of Occupational Health Psychology
Medical Behavioral Science
Medical Communication and Interviewing
Health Psychology
Applied Health Psychology


I recently served as President of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. Organized under the auspices of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1978, the academy’s mission is to provide a forum for leaders in behavioral medicine to promote excellence in science, contribute guidance for the direction of the field and serve as a resource for governmental and academic leaders and for the general public. The top killers in the U.S. and other industrialized nations are chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The risk, expression and clinical course of each of these diseases is directly linked to our behavior, including lifestyle factors related to stress, diet, exercise and sleep patterns. This means we have valuable new biobehavioral tools and strategies for prevention and more effective treatment of these diseases and clearer pathways to a more healthy and happy citizenry and a more cost-effective national health care system.

Research Interests

Funded by the National Institutes of Health for over 20 years, I have focused on neuroendocrine mechanisms that contribute to exaggerated blood pressure reactions during stress. I have studied stress and blood pressure control in young adults at risk for hypertension, pregnant women, animal models of circulatory function, chronic pain patients, and postmenopausal women on hormone replacement therapy. Over the years, I have examined the role of endorphins and enkephalins in sympathetic nervous system function, pain sensitivity, relaxation therapy and aerobic fitness. I am interested in responses to laboratory stressors as well as reactions to naturally occurring occupational and psychosocial stressors. Most recently, I have discovered that persons with elevated blood pressure have emotional dampening, and are less able to perceive and respond to emotional content, such as facial expressions, text narratives, and photographic scenes with emotionally meaningful content.

Research Publications

(since 2008)

McCubbin, J.A., Nathan, A., Hibdon, M.A., Castillo, A.M., Graham, J.G., Switzer, F.S. III. (2018) Blood Pressure, Emotional Dampening, and Risk Behavior: Implications for Hypertension Development. Psychosomatic Medicine, 80(6), 544-550,doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000598.

Loveless, J. P., Nicoletta, A. J., Winters, A. R., Carels, R. A., Wuensch, K. L., Whited, M. C., McCubbin, J.A. & Everhart, D. E. (2017). Exploring the relationship between frontal asymmetry and emotional dampening. International Journal of Psychophysiology, in press.

Switzer, F.S. III, Cheung, J.H., Burns, D.K., Sinclair, R.R., Roth, P.L., Tyler, P., McCubbin, J.A. (2017). Carrots, Not Sticks: Adverse Impact and Wellness Programs. J Occupational & Environmental Med. 59(3):250-255. DOI: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000940

Horing, B., McCubbin, J.A., Moore, D., and Muth, E.R. Resting blood pressure differentially predicts time course in a tonic pain experiment. Psychophysiology, in press 2016. DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12724

McCubbin, J. A., Zinzow, H. M., Hibdon, M. A., Nathan, A. W., Morrison, A. V., Hayden, G. W., Lindberg, C. and Switzer, F. S. (2016). Subclinical Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: Relationships with Blood Pressure, Hostility, and Sleep. Cardiovascular Psychiatry and Neurology, 2016, Article ID 4720941, 9 pages,

Pilcher, J. J., Jennings, K. S., Phillips, G. E., and McCubbin, J. A. (2016). Auditory Attention and Comprehension During a Simulated Night Shift: Effects of Task Characteristics. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 0018720816654377.

McCubbin, J.A., Loveless, J.P., Graham, J.G., Hall, G.A., Bart, R.M., Moore, D.D., Merritt, M.M., Lane, R.D., Thayer, J.F. Emotional dampening in persons with elevated blood pressure: Affect dysregulation and risk for hypertension. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 47:111-119, 2014, DOI: 10.1007/s12160-013-9526-2,

Allen, A.J., McCubbin, J.A., Loveless, J.P. and Helfer, S.G. Effects of estrogen and opioid blockade on blood pressure reactivity to stress in postmenopausal women. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 2012. DOI 10.1007/s10865-012-9468-3,

McCubbin, J.A. Endogenous opioids/Endorphins/Enkephalin. In Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine, Gellman, G . and Turner, R. (Eds). In press, 2013, LXXVIII. ISBN 978-1-4419-1004-2.

Pilcher, J. J., Burnett, M. L., & McCubbin, J. A. Measurement of Sleep and Sleepiness. In M. Wang, R. R. Sinclair, & L. Tetrick (eds.), Research Methods in Occupational Health Psychology: State of the Art in Measurement, Design, and Data Analysis, Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis, 2012.

McCubbin, J.A., Peach, H., Moore, D.D. and Pilcher, J.J. Decreased cognitive/CNS function in young adults at risk for hypertension: Effects of sleep deprivation. International Journal of Hypertension, Volume 2012, Article ID 989345,, 2012, doi:10.1155/2012/989345.

McCubbin, J.A., Merritt, M.M., Sollers, J.J., Evans, M.K., Zonderman, A.B., Lane, R.D., Thayer, J.F. Cardiovascular emotional dampening: Blood pressure and recognition of emotion. Psychosomatic Medicine, 73(9), 743-750, 2011, doi:10.1097/PSY.0b013e318235ed55.

McCubbin, J.A., Pilcher, J.J, Moore, D.D. Blood pressure increases during a simulated night shift in persons at risk for hypertension. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17, 314-20, 2010. PMID: 20878512.

Vincent, E., Battisto, D., Grimes, L. and McCubbin, J.A. Effects of nature images on pain in a simulated hospital patient room. Health Environments Research and Design Journal, 3m 42-55, 2010.

McCubbin, J.A. Prenatal maternal stress hormones, risk for hypertension, and the neonatal pain response: Comment on France et al., ‘‘Maternal family history of hypertension attenuates neonatal pain response”. Pain, 142, 173-4, 2009.

McClelland, L.E. and McCubbin, J.A. Social influence and pain response in men and women. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31(5), 413-420, 2008.

Honors and Awards

Fellow, American Psychological Association
Fellow, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research
Fellow, Society for Behavioral Medicine
University Research, Scholarship, and Artistic Achievement Award (2018)
President, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research (2016)
President, Clemson University Faculty Senate (2015)
College of Business and Behavioral Science Undergraduate Teaching Award (2014)
Award of Distinction, Clemson University National Scholars Program (2012)
Trustees' Award for Faculty Excellence (2001, 2006, 2010)
Provost's Award for Scholarly Achievement (2000)

College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
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