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Cleopatra M. Abdou, PhD

TitleAssistant Professor of Social Work, Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families
InstitutionUniversity of Southern California
DepartmentSocial Work
AddressUSC Building 1420
University Park Campus
Los Angeles CA 90089-1400
Phone+1 213 740 6678
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    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    What factors allow individuals, families, communities, and societies to be positive outliers; that is, to be healthy, happy, and successful against the odds? This is the question at the heart of Dr. Abdou’s global health and human flourishing research program.

    Dr. Abdou’s interdisciplinary research highlights cultural and psychosocial resources which promote flourishing and buffer stress. She investigates how these effects are reflected in the body, brain, and behavior to improve mental and physical health during critical lifespan developmental phases, including pregnancy and early childhood, thereby reducing social status-based health disparities within the U.S. and health inequity globally. Dr. Abdou currently pursues two lines of inquiry in her global health and human flourishing research: 1) Maternal-child-family/intergenerational health as a function of socioecological change, as in rapid political change and migration and 2) Health care-related stereotype threat. Alongside her collaborator, Dr. Adam Fingherhut, Dr. Abdou was the first to develop experimental methods to examine stereotype threat—a threat to important aspects of the self, including ethnic and gender identity—as a social barrier that contributes to different patterns in health care decision-making and utilization among different populations. As a product of these two intersecting lines of research, Dr. Abdou developed the Culture and Social Identity Health Theory.

    Dr. Abdou’s work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Michigan Center for Integrative Approaches to Health Disparities, and is published in scientific journals in psychology, public health, and medicine. Dr. Abdou is engaged in multiple international collaborations, including with the American University in Cairo.


    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Healthcare stereotype threat, health disparities, and minority aging
    NIH/NIA K01AG051756Aug 15, 2017 - Mar 31, 2022
    Role: Principal Investigator

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    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
    List All   |   Timeline
    1. Wheaton FV, Thomas CS, Roman C, Abdou CM. Discrimination and Depressive Symptoms Among African American Men Across the Adult Lifecourse. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2018 Jan 11; 73(2):208-218. PMID: 28977662.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Abdou CM. Age-Based Reproductive Healthcare Stereotype Threat (HCST) as a Stressor Affecting Prenatal Mental Health in Pregnant Women of Advanced Maternal Age: Measurement, Process, Outcomes, and Interactions with Ethnicity/Race, SES, and Other Social Identities. Curr Epidemiol Rep. 2017 Jun; 4(2):133-144. PMID: 30345220.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Mezuk B, Ratliff S, Concha JB, Abdou CM, Rafferty J, Lee H, Jackson JS. Stress, self-regulation, and context: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey. SSM Popul Health. 2017 Dec; 3:455-463. PMID: 29130063.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Needham BL, Hicken MT, Govia IO, Mitchell C, Abdou CM. Maternal Social Disadvantage and Newborn Telomere Length in Archived Dried Blood Spots from the Michigan Neonatal Biobank. Biodemography Soc Biol. 2017; 63(3):221-235. PMID: 29035107.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Abdou CM, Fingerhut AW, Jackson JS, Wheaton F. Healthcare Stereotype Threat in Older Adults in the Health and Retirement Study. Am J Prev Med. 2016 Feb; 50(2):191-8. PMID: 26497263; PMCID: PMC4755717.
    6. Abdou CM, Fingerhut AW. Stereotype threat among black and white women in health care settings. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2014 Jul; 20(3):316-23. PMID: 25045944.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Uzogara EE, Lee H, Abdou CM, Jackson JS. A comparison of skin tone discrimination among African American men: 1995 and 2003. Psychol Men Masc. 2014 Apr 01; 15(2):201-212. PMID: 25798076.
      View in: PubMed
    8. Lincoln KD, Abdou CM, Lloyd D. Race and socioeconomic differences in obesity and depression among Black and non-Hispanic White Americans. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2014 Feb; 25(1):257-75. PMID: 24509025; PMCID: PMC4830390.
    9. Mezuk B, Abdou CM, Hudson D, Kershaw KN, Rafferty JA, Lee H, Jackson JS. "White Box" Epidemiology and the Social Neuroscience of Health Behaviors: The Environmental Affordances Model. Soc Ment Health. 2013 Jul 01; 3(2). PMID: 24224131.
      View in: PubMed
    10. Lee H, Kershaw KN, Hicken MT, Abdou CM, Williams ES, Rivera-O'Reilly N, Jackson JS. Cardiovascular disease among Black Americans: comparisons between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the 50 U.S. states. Public Health Rep. 2013 May-Jun; 128(3):170-8. PMID: 23633732; PMCID: PMC3610069.
    11. Mezuk B, Johnson-Lawrence V, Lee H, Rafferty JA, Abdou CM, Uzogara EE, Jackson JS. Is ignorance bliss? Depression, antidepressants, and the diagnosis of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Health Psychol. 2013 Mar; 32(3):254-63. PMID: 23437855; PMCID: PMC3725143.
    12. Abdou CM, Dominguez TP, Myers HF. Maternal familism predicts birthweight and asthma symptoms three years later. Soc Sci Med. 2013 Jan; 76(1):28-38. PMID: 23142569.
      View in: PubMed
    13. Zeki Al Hazzouri A, Haan MN, Osypuk T, Abdou C, Hinton L, Aiello AE. Neighborhood socioeconomic context and cognitive decline among older Mexican Americans: results from the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging. Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Aug 15; 174(4):423-31. PMID: 21715645; PMCID: PMC3159426.
    14. Mezuk B, Rafferty JA, Kershaw KN, Hudson D, Abdou CM, Lee H, Eaton WW, Jackson JS. Reconsidering the role of social disadvantage in physical and mental health: stressful life events, health behaviors, race, and depression. Am J Epidemiol. 2010 Dec 01; 172(11):1238-49. PMID: 20884682; PMCID: PMC3025628.
    15. Abdou CM, Dunkel Schetter C, Campos B, Hilmert CJ, Dominguez TP, Hobel CJ, Glynn LM, Sandman C. Communalism predicts prenatal affect, stress, and physiology better than ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2010 Jul; 16(3):395-403. PMID: 20658883; PMCID: PMC2911647.
    16. Kershaw KN, Mezuk B, Abdou CM, Rafferty JA, Jackson JS. Socioeconomic position, health behaviors, and C-reactive protein: a moderated-mediation analysis. Health Psychol. 2010 May; 29(3):307-16. PMID: 20496985; PMCID: PMC2881158.
    17. Settles IH, Navarrete CD, Pagano SJ, Abdou CM, Sidanius J. Racial identity and depression among African American women. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2010 Apr; 16(2):248-55. PMID: 20438163.
      View in: PubMed
    18. Abdou CM, Schetter CD, Jones F, Roubinov D, Tsai S, Jones L, Lu M, Hobel C. Community perspectives: mixed-methods investigation of culture, stress, resilience, and health. Ethn Dis. 2010; 20(1 Suppl 2):S2-41-8. PMID: 20629246.
      View in: PubMed
    19. Campos B, Schetter CD, Abdou CM, Hobel CJ, Glynn LM, Sandman CA. Familialism, social support, and stress: positive implications for pregnant Latinas. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2008 Apr; 14(2):155-62. PMID: 18426288; PMCID: PMC2859297.
    20. Hilmert CJ, Schetter CD, Dominguez TP, Abdou C, Hobel CJ, Glynn L, Sandman C. Stress and blood pressure during pregnancy: racial differences and associations with birthweight. Psychosom Med. 2008 Jan; 70(1):57-64. PMID: 18158373; PMCID: PMC3736981.