Patrice G. Saab

Professor, Health Division
Ohio University, 1983

Hypertension, Coronary Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Stress Effects, Health Disparities, Primary and Secondary Prevention, Health Education

Research Interests

My research interests center on factors contributing to cardiovascular risk and on prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular reactivity and cardiovascular risk

I am interested in cardiovascular reactivity protocols for their capacity as a research tool that informs about mechanisms underlying blood pressure regulation under stress-induced conditions as well as for their capacity to distinguish individuals at differential risk for cardiovascular disease. I have demonstrated that groups at elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, e.g., menopausal women, hypertensive adults, and Black Americans exhibit exaggerated cardiovascular (and neuroendocrine) responses to laboratory stressors. Within the context of early detection, I extended this work to adolescents.  I was interested in determining whether adolescents at risk for hypertension and future heart disease (and primarily from minority backgrounds) would show the same characteristic stress response as adults at risk for hypertension.  Adolescents with persistently elevated casual blood pressure were more vascularly reactive across stressors than adolescents with labile blood pressure, who were more reactive than those with normal blood pressure. This finding suggests that enhanced vascular responsiveness to stress may be involved earlier in the development of hypertension than previously thought.

My research has also examined the cardiovascular risk factors, hemodynamic characteristics, metabolic syndrome rates, and target organ abnormalities of adolescents with elevated blood pressure compared with their normal blood pressure peers. Adolescents with elevated blood pressure have higher rates of clinically significant risk factors and target organ abnormalities than their peers.  These findings indicate that elevated BP functions as an indicator of multiple risks in adolescents.


My prevention experience includes involvement in two major multicenter trials, the ENRICHD trial and the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP).  In addition, I have extended my work with adolescents with elevated blood pressure by conducting a randomized controlled trial to improve lifestyle (related to nutrition, physical activity, and stress management) as well as lower blood pressure.  The analyses indicated that a brief 1-session intervention that required parental involvement was more effective than the longer group-based interventions emphasizing adolescent self-management in lowering blood pressure.

This finding stimulated my current interest in brief interventions for youth as well as my interest in 'translating' the intervention to a field setting.  In February 2010, I began data collection for a randomized controlled trial comparing a brief and novel intervention on cardiovascular health knowledge, readiness for behavior change, self-efficacy for behavior change, and behavior (pertaining to nutrition, physical activity, and stress management) in high school students.  The centerpiece of the intervention is the 'Heart Smart' bilingual (English and Spanish) interactive exhibit that my collaborators at the Miami Science Museum and I have developed. The study investigates the extent that a museum-based health exhibit can lead to improved health-related outcomes and address a primary prevention need.

I conceptualize the exhibit as a community-based intervention that enhances health literacy and educates general museum visitors about the impact of behavioral choices (related to nutrition, physical activity, and stress) on heart health in a relaxed and nonthreatening setting.  The exhibit extends my reach, as an investigator to more individuals than would be feasible in a laboratory-based study. A unique feature of the exhibit is that it also invites visitors to anonymously contribute their data on body mass index, blood pressure, waist circumference, and self-reported health habits to the exhibit database through a series of interactives.

Selected publications

Saab, P.G., Bang, H., Williams, R.B., Powell, L.H., Schneiderman, N., Thoresen, C., Burg, M., & Keefe, F. (2009). The impact of cognitive behavioral group training on event-free survival in patients with myocardial infarction; The ENRICHD experience. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 67, 45-56.

Cugnetto, M. L., Saab, P.G., Llabre, M.M., Goldberg, R., McCalla, J.R., & Schneiderman, N. (2008). Lifestyle factors, body mass index, and lipid profile in adolescents. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 33, 761-771.

Kline, K.A., Saab, P.G., & Llabre, M.M. (2005). Behavioral indices of threat and challenge in Hispanic adolescents and hemodynamic responses during a speech stressor. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 55, 343-348.

Rozanski, A., Blumenthal, J.A., Davidson, K.W., Saab, P.G., & Kubzansky, L. (2005). The epidemiology, pathophysiology, and management of psychosocial risk factors in cardiac practice: The emerging field of behavioral cardiology. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 45, 647-651.

Schneiderman, N., Saab, P.G., Catellier, D.J., Powell, L.H., DeBusk, R.F., Williams, R.B., Carney, R.M., Raczynski, J.M., Cowan, M.J., Berkman, L.F., & Kaufmann, P.G. (2004). Psychosocial treatment within gender by ethnicity subgroups in the Enhancing Recovery in Coronary Heart Disease (ENRICHD) Clinical Trial. Psychosomatic Medicine, 66, 475-483.

Suarez, E.C., Saab, P.G., Llabre, M.M., Kuhn, C.M., & Zimmerman, E. (2004). Ethnicity, gender, and age effects on adrenoceptors and physiological responses to emotional stress. Psychophysiology, 41, 450-460.

Kline, K. A.. Saab, P. G., Llabre, M. M., Spitzer, S. B., Evans, J. D., McDonald, P. A. G., & Schneiderman, N. (2003). Hemodynamic response patterns: Responder type differences in reactivity and recovery. Psychophysiology, 39, 739-746.

Llabre, M. M., Spitzer, S. B., Saab, P. G., & Schneiderman, N. (2001). Piecewise latent growth curve modeling of systolic blood pressure reactivity and recovery from the cold pressor test. Psychophysiology, 38, 951-960.

Saab, P.G., Llabre, M.M., Ma, M., DiLillo, V., McCalla, J.R., Fernander-Scott, A., Copen, R., Gellman, M., & Schneiderman, N. (2001). Cardiovascular responsivity to challenge in adolescents with and without persistently elevated blood pressure. Journal of Hypertension, 19, 21-27.

Peckerman, A., Saab, P. G., Llabre, M. M., Hurwitz, B. E., McCabe, P. M., & Schneiderman, N. (1998). Cardiovascular and perceptual effects of reporting pain during the foot and forehead cold pressor tests. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 5, 106-117.

Saab, P. G., Llabre, M. M., Schneiderman, N., Hurwitz, B. E., McDonald, P. G., Evans, J., Wohlgemuth, W., Hayashi, P., & Klein, B. (1997). Influence of ethnicity and gender on cardiovascular responses to active coping and inhibitory-passive coping challenges. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59, 434-446.

Baggett, H. L., Saab, P.G., & Carver, C.S. (1996). Appraisal, coping, task performance, and cardiovascular responses during the evaluated speaking task. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22, 483-494.

Schneiderman, N., & Saab, P. G. (1996). Anxiety after myocardial infarction predicts in-hospital complications: Important association highlights need for research on rapid psychosocial intervention after infarction. Psychosomatic Medicine, 58, 402-403.

Peckerman, A., Hurwitz, B., Saab, P.G., Llabre, M.M., McCabe, P.M., & Schneiderman, N. (1994). Stimulus dimensions of the cold pressor test and the associated patterns of cardiovascular response. Psychophysiology, 31, 282-290.

Llabre, M. M., Saab, P. G., Hurwitz, B. E., Schneiderman, N., Frame, C. A., Spitzer, S., & Phillips, D. (1993). The stability of cardiovascular parameters under different behavioral challenges: One year follow-up. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 14, 241-248.

Saab, P. G., Llabre, M. M., Hurwitz, B. E., Schneiderman, N., Wohlgemuth, W., Durel, L. A., Massie, C., & Nagel, J. (1993). The cold pressor test: Vascular and myocardial response patterns and their stability. Psychophysiology, 30, 366-373.

Saab, P. G., Llabre, M. M., Hurwitz, B. E., Frame, C., Reineke, L. J., Fins, A. I., McCalla, J., Cieply, L., & Schneiderman, N. (1992). Myocardial and peripheral vascular responses to behavioral challenges and their stability in Black and White Americans. Psychophysiology, 29, 384-397.

Peckerman, A., Saab, P. G., McCabe, P. M., Skyler, J. S., Winters, R. W., Llabre, M. M., & Schneiderman, N. (1991). Blood pressure reactivity and perception of pain during the forehead cold pressor test. Psychophysiology, 28, 485-495.

Saab, P. G., Tischenkel, N., Spitzer, S. B., Gellman, M. D., Pasin, R. D., & Schneiderman, N. (1991). Race and blood pressure status influences cardiovascular responses to challenge. Journal of Hypertension, 9, 249-258.

Saab, P. G., Matthews, K. A., Stoney, C. M., & McDonald, R. H. (1989). Premenopausal and postmenopausal women differ in their cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to behavioral stressors. Psychophysiology, 26, 270-280.


Sample Syllabi
PSY 301 Psychology of Gender
PSY 662 Health Psychology Interventions‌