Leia Harper

Assistant Professor of Psychology
Health psychology, health informatics, psychophysiology and the social determinants of health

Office Hours

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Education and Professional Positions

2005, B.S., Mathematics, Clark Atlanta University

2005, B.A., Religion, Clark Atlanta University

2009, M.Div., Theological Studies, Duke University

2015, M.S., Health Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University

2016, Ph.D., Health Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University

2018-2019, Postdoctoral Trainee, Biomedical and Health Informatics, University of Washington

2019-2021, Scholar in Residence, Reed College

2021-present, Assistant Professor, Reed College


I teach courses on stress and resilience, health psychology, and psychophysiology. These courses focus on the dynamic interplay between the biological, psychological, and social factors in health and disease. Follow the links below for course descriptions.

PSY 225 Psychology of Stress and Resilience

PSY 324 Health Psychology

PSY 337 Psychophysiology


Research in the Reed Psi-Phi lab (short for psychophysiology) focuses on how stress affects cardiovascular health and what factors help mitigate risk. Using psychophysiology as our primary research method, we examine autonomic nervous system responses to stress and the psychosocial factors that influence these responses. In addition to the use of self-report measures of psychological and social stress, our lab uses physiological measures such as impedance cardiography, cortical hemodynamics, and heart-rate variability to investigate the dynamic interplay between the heart and mind. Advancing our ability to understand the complex biobehavioral processes that determine individual differences in stress responses and the susceptibility to disease has the potential to address the persistent disparities in cardiovascular health. Bringing together theories and methods from across the behavioral and biomedical sciences, the lab’s long-term goal is to establish a behaviorally and physiologically plausible understanding of stress-health connections in disparity populations.

Select Publications

(Student co-authors in bold)

Harper, L.A., & Fitzgerald, D.I (2020). Sexual orientation effects in health information technology usage: Increasing equity in access while physical distancing. Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health.

MacCalman M., Harper L.A., & Anderson K.G. (2020). Perceived gender match and accepting alcohol offers from peers in emerging adulthood. Alcohol & Alcoholism. 

Garrison, E., MacCalman, M., Clifton, R., Harper, L., Zapolski, T., & Anderson, K.G. (2020). The effects of sex, gender identity, and dimensional gender expression on drinking behavior. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44 (s1), 174a.

Harper, L.A., An, K.A., Zyzniewski, L.A., & Belgrave, F.A. (2016). Exploring sexual orientation and cardiovascular disease risk in women. Circulation, 134 

Harper, L.A., Coleman, J.A., Perrin, P.B., Olivera, S.L., Perdomo, J.L., Arango, J.A., & Arango-Lasprilla, J.C. (2014). Comparison of mental health between individuals with spinal cord injury and able-bodied controls in Neiva, Colombia. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 51(1), 127-36

Dedert, E.A., Harper, L.A., Dennis, M.F., Calhoun, P.C., & Beckham, J.C. (2012). The impact of race on metabolic syndrome and body mass index in women with and without posttraumatic stress syndrome. Journal of Psychology in Medical Settings, 20(1), 46–55.