Dr. Stetler was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She left the midwest for college in New England, where she developed into a die-hard Red Sox fan. After graduating from college, Dr. Stetler took a position as a research assistant at the National Center for PTSD at the VA Hospital in Boston, Mass. While there, she figured out what she wanted to do with her lifestudy clinical psychology, especially as it relates to physical health.

She began graduate school in 2000 at Washington University in St. Louis where she worked with Dr. Gregory E. Miller on his research examining depression, inflammation, and heart disease. When Dr. Miller took a faculty position at UBC in Vancouver, Canada, Dr. Stetler was able to transfer to their Ph.D. program and continue working with him.

Dr. Stetler earned her Ph.D. in health psychology from UBC in 2007. She began teaching at Furman in 2006, where sheenjoys teaching and conducting research in a small liberal arts setting. She was awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor in 2013.

Name Title Description


What Is Normal?

Humans can display a wide variety of behaviors that reflect a range of thoughts and emotions. Some of these behaviors, thoughts and feelings are considered normal" while others are considered "abnormal". Where do those labels come from? What criteria are used to distinguish normal behavior from abnormal behavior? Who selected those criteria? This course will explore historical and modern examples of mental disorder in order to better understand the biological and socio-cultural forces behind the label "abnormal"."


Health Psychology

Issues of health and illness from a biopsychosocial perspective. Examining how the body responds to stress, the role of personality, social relationships, coping and socio-economic status in health and chronic disease. Students will conduct a term-long personal health behavior project.


Advanced Research Techniques

An introduction to and preparation for independent research in a specific sub-field of psychology . Topics include specialized research methodologies, advanced statistics, oral and written communication of research findings, and ethics. A literature review, research proposal and oral presentation.



Exploration of research linking psychological constructs such as stress, coping and social support, with the endocrine and immune systems, including implications regarding the onset and course of disease. Students will read primary sources and empirical articles to understand how knowledge is obtained in this area of research. Brief reports, mini-presentations and a research proposal will be required.


Placebo Effect

This seminar will investigate the history and nature of the placebo effect. Students will discuss the primary literature in order to better understand topics such as placebo analgesia, the role of placebos in research and clinical settings, ethics, and potential mechanisms underlying the placebo effect. Students will contribute to class discussions and complete a research proposal.

Dr. Stetler has long-standing interests in how stress affects the neuroendocrine and immune systems in such a way that promotes disease risk. Her current research program focuses on psychosocial factors related to the placebo effect- when patients receive clinical benefit from an inert treatment.

  • Crumley, J*., Stetler, C.A., & Horhota, M. (submitted). A meta-analysis of the association between subjective memory reports and objective memory performance in older adults
  • Stetler, C.A. (submitted). Adherence, expectations, and the placebo response: Why is good adherence to an inert treatment beneficial?
  • Stetler, C.A., & Miller, G.E. (2011). Depression and HPA activation: A quantitative summary of four decades of research. Psychosomatic Medicine, 73, 114-126
  • Wegman, H*., & Stetler, C.A. (2009). Child abuse and medical outcomes in adulthood: A meta-analysis. Psychosomatic Medicine, 71, 805-812
  • Stetler, C.A., & Miller, G.E. (2008). A laboratory-based manipulation of daily social contacts and its effect on diurnal cortisol
    secretion. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31, 249-257
  • Stetler, C.A., & Miller, G.E. (2005). Blunted cortisol responses to awakening in mild to moderate depression: Regulatory influences of sleep patterns and social contacts. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 114, 697-705.
University of British Columbia
Washington University in St. Louis
Wellesley College

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