Matthias R. Mehl, PhD

Associate Professor
Email Address: 
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-2374
(520) 621-9306

Internal Contact Information

UACC Organizational Unit: 
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Mehl is a social and health psychologist with interest in psychosocial oncology. In his role as Associate Investigator at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, he collaborates with other members of the cancer center (e.g., Karen Weihs) on studies around how everyday social interactions are related to coping with cancer. In most collaborations, he oversees the implementation of the Electronically Activated Recorder or EAR method, a naturalistic observation method for studying everyday social interactions. As the developer of the EAR method, Dr. Mehl has extensive experience in the administration of the EAR, the coding of the sound files, and the management and analysis of the EAR data. Further,he has extensively published about and given workshops on the method. Finally, as a trained social/personality and health psychologist, Dr. Mehl has pertinent research expertise in the area of social integration and health.

Dr. Mehl joined the faculty of the Psychology Department of the University of Arizona in 2004 where he is currently a tenured Associate Professor. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and an Associate Investigator at the Arizona Cancer Center. His prior EAR research has been published in various high impact journals (incl. Science, Psychological Science, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Psychological Assessment, and Health Psychology) and has been funded, among other sources, by the American Cancer Society and the NIH (National Cancer Institute, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institute for Child Health and Human Development).

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Prevention and Control
Member Status: 
Research Member
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
Summary of Research Activity: 

Dr. Mehl is interested in the role that people’s daily social lives play in coping with upheavals. A thread that runs through his research is an emphasis on ecological validity and the development of behavioral assessment strategies that can complement psychology’s reliance on self-reports. His work in this area has focused on naturalistic observation and quantitative text analysis.

Selected Publications: 
  1. Robbins, M. L., López, A. M., Weihs, K. L., & Mehl, M. R. (2014). Cancer conversations in context: Naturalistic observation of couples coping with breast cancer. Journal of Family Psychology, 28, 380-390. DOI: 10.1037/a0036458
  2. Rentscher, K. E., Rohrbaugh, M. J., Shoham, V., & Mehl, M. R. (2013). Asymmetric partner pronoun use and demand-withdraw interaction in couples coping with health problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 27, 691-701.
  3. Robbins, M. L., Mehl, M. R., **Smith, H. L., & Weihs, K. L. (2013). Linguistic indicators of patient, couple, and family adjustment following breast cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 22, 1501-1508. DOI: 10.1002/pon.3161
  4. Mehl, M. R., *Robbins, M. L., & *Deters, g. F. (2012). Naturalistic observation of health-relevant social processes: The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) methodology in psychosomatics. Psychosomatic Medicine, 74, 410-417. PMID: 22582338 PMCID: PMC3351696
  5. Robbins, M. L., Focella, E. S., Kasle, S., Weihs, K. L., Lopez, A. M., & Mehl, M. R. (2011). Naturalistically observed swearing, emotional support and depressive symptoms in women coping with illness. Health Psychology, 30, 789-792.
  6. Mehl, M. R., Vazire, S., Holleran, S. E., & Clark, C. S. (2010). Eavesdropping on happiness: Well-being is related to having less small talk and more substantive conversations. Psychological Science, 21, 539–541.
Collaborative Research: 
  • 09/09 to 09/11 National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Title: “Mechanisms of Meditation” (3R01AT004698-01A1S1, PI: Dr. Raison), Role: Co-investigator, PI on Subcontract, Amount of Subcontract: $297,753.
  • 07/09 to 06/11 National Cancer Institute; Title: “The Daily Interactions of Couples Coping with Breast Cancer: With Whom, About What, and Links to Adjustment” (1R03CA137975-01A1), Role: PI, Amount: $147,465.

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
08/06 Young Investigator Travel Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft [German Research Foundation] for traveling to a conference in Germany
04/07 The Honors College Outstanding Professor and Advisor of Psychology Award; University of Arizona
05/07 Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute Faculty Summer Research Grant Development Award, University of Arizona
05/07 Foreign Travel Grant, Office of International Affairs, University of Arizona
01/08 Listed in Dialogue, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s newsletter, as one of the ten most cited Assistant Professors in Social/Personality Psychology
09/08 Elected onto the Board of the Association for Research in Personality.

Academic Information

Master's Degree: 
University of Erlangen
Undergraduate School: 
University of Erlangen