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Vernessa Clark

Clark, Vernessa, PhD

Research Methods; Personality Psychology

Associate Professor & Coordinator, General Psychology Program

Phone: 804-524-5940
Fax: 804-524-5460
Location: Hunter McDaniel, Rm 102S-E
Email: vrclark@vsu.edu

Education

  • PhD in Personality Psychology, Howard University, Washington, DC
  • MS in Psychology, Howard University, Washington, DC
  • BS in Psychology, Virginia State University, Petersburg, VA

Expertise

  • Personality Psychology/Research Methods

Research Interests

  • Biobehavioral Health
  • Racism and Health
  • Cardiovascular Reactivity to Stress
  • Obesity and Diabetes
  • Psychological and Behavioral Mediators of Cardiovascular Health

Courses Taught

  • Graduate and Undergraduate:  Experimental psychology, Personality psychology
  • Graduate: Pro-seminar

Selected Publications

  • Clark, V.R., Boyd-Starke, K., Hill, O.W., Serpell, Z. (2013). Cognitive Skills and BMI on Cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Journal of Food and Nutritional Disorders, 2, 6-11 
  • Clark, V.R., Perkins, P., Jefferson, T., Carson, B.L., Boyd, K. (in press). Serum cholesterol and fasting serum glucose as risk factors of cardiovascular disease in African Americans. Journal of Ethnicity & Disease.
  • Clark, V.R., Greenberg, B., Harris, T.S., & Carson, B.L. (2012). Body mass index and waist circumference predictors of cardiovascular risk in African Americans. Ethnicity & Disease, 22, 162-167.
  • Clark, V. R. & Hill, O. W. (2009). Body mass and cardiovascular reactivity to racism in African American college students. Ethnicity & Disease, 19, 2-6.
  • Clark, V.R., Cobb, R.E. B., Hopkins, R., Smith, C. (2006). Black racial identity as a mediator of cardiovascular reactivity to racism in African American college students. Ethnicity & Disease,16, 108-113.
  • Clark, V.R. (2001). The perilous effects of racism on Blacks. Ethnicity & Disease, 11, 769-772.
  • Clark, R., Adams, J.H., & Clark, V.R. (2001). Effects of John Henryism and anger coping on mean arterial pressure changes in African American females. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 8, 270-281.
  • Adams, J., Aubert, R., & Clark, V. R. (1999). The relationship among John Henryism, hostility, perceived stress, social support and blood pressure in African American college students.Ethnicity & Disease, 9, 359-368.
  • Clark, R., Anderson, N.B., Clark, V. R., & Williams, D. R. (1999). Racism as a stressor for African Americans: A biopsychosocial model. American Psychologist, 54, 805-816.
  • Clark, V. R., Moore, C.L. & Adams, J. H. (1998). Cholesterol concentrations and cardiovascular reactivity to stress in African American college volunteers. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21, 505-515.
  • Clark, V. R. & Harrell, J.P. (1992). The relationship among Type A behavior, styles utilized in coping with racism and blood pressure. (reprint) In Burlew, K., Banks, C., McAdoo, H. & Azibo, D. (Eds.), African American Psychology, SAGE Publishers.
  • Harrell, J.P., Clark, V. R. & Allen, B. A. (1991). That ounce of value: Visualizing the application of psychophysiological methods in Black Psychology. In R. Jones (Ed.), Black Psychology (3rd edition); Berkeley, California: Henry-Cobb.
  • Harrell, J.P., Clark, V. R. & Sellers, R. (1987). The effects of posture on cardiac dynamics during visual search. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 5, 19-23.
  • Clark, V. R. & Harrell, J.P. (1986). Predicting cardiac reactivity to physical and psychological challenges. Psychophysiology, 23, 428-429.
  • Harrell, J.P. & Clark, V. R. (1985). Cardiac responses to psychological tasks: Impedance cardiographic studies. Biological Psychology, 20, 261-283.
  • Clark, V. R. & Harrell, J.P. (1982). The relationship among Type A behavior, styles utilized in coping with racism and blood pressure. Journal of Black Psychology, 8, 89-99.

Dr. Clark’s research falls within the area of behavioral health. She is particularly interested in examining predictors of cardiovascular disease in African Americans. The ultimate goal of her research is to determine which African Americans are most susceptible to cardiovascular disease. She began her professional career conducting a study that examined the effects of aerobic fitness level on cardiovascular reactivity to stress. In this study, she examined differences in cardiovascular reactivity to stress between physically fit and non- physically fit individuals. In 1997, the focus of Dr. Clark’s research shifted to examine racism as a stressor in African Americans (Clark, R., Anderson, N.B., Clark, V. R., & Williams, D. R. (1999). Racism as a stressor for African Americans: A biopsychosocial model. American Psychologist, 54, 805-816; Clark, V.R. (2001). The perilous effects of racism on Blacks. Ethnicity & Disease, 11, 769-772). Later, she examined cholesterol concentrations and cardiovascular reactivity to stress. In that study, cholesterol levels and cardiovascular responses to emotionally arousing stimuli were examined in 60 African American college students. This study lead to a publication in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, (Clark, V. R., Moore, C.L. & Adams, J. H. (1998). Cholesterol concentrations and cardiovascular reactivity to stress in African American college volunteers. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 21, 505-515.). Dr. Clark also conducted a study that examined Black Racial Identity as a mediator of cardiovascular reactivity to racism (Clark, V.R., Cobb, R.E. B., Hopkins, R., & Smith, C. (2006). Black racial identity as a mediator of cardiovascular reactivity to racism in African American college students. Ethnicity & Disease. 16, 108-113).

In 2008, Dr. Clark examined the effects of body mass on cardiovascular reactivity to stress. This study was published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease, (Clark, V. R. & Hill, O. W. (2009). Body mass and cardiovascular reactivity to racism in African American college students. Ethnicity & Disease, 19, 2-6.) Dr. Clark published a study in 2012 that examined the effects of body mass index and central adiposity on cardiovascular hyperactivity in African American men and women. This study was published in the journal Ethnicity & Disease (Clark, V.R., Greenberg, B., Harris, T.S., & Carson, B.L. (2012). Body mass index and waist circumference predictors of cardiovascular risk in African Americans. Ethnicity & Disease, 22, 162-167). Continuing this line of research, Dr. Clark published a study in 2013 that examined the ability of BMI and cognitive skills to predict cardiovascular activity Clark, V.R., Boyd-Starke, K., Hill, O.W., Serpell, Z. (2013). Cognitive skills and BMI on cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Journal of Food and Nutritional Disorders, 2, 6-11.) Her next study examined the ability of serum cholesterol and fasting serum glucose to predict cardiovascular disease in African Americans (Clark, V.R., Perkins, P., Jefferson, T., Carson, B.L., Boyd, K. (in press). Serum cholesterol and fasting serum glucose as risk factors of cardiovascular disease in African Americans. Journal of Ethnicity & Disease).

In the 29 years that she has been teaching, she has trained over 250 students to conduct behavioral health research. Dr. Clark has over 70 research presentations with undergraduate and graduate students. Each year, Dr. Clark trains 5-8 undergraduate students in the research area of Behavioral Health. The students present at least one National/Regional conference and at one local conference each year. Dr. Clark’s research assistants have been accepted into graduate programs at many universities including the University of Connecticut, Virginia State University, Wayne State University, Duke University, University of Michigan, Howard University, Duke University, Wayne State University and others.

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