LEAF Lab welcome showing healthy lifestyle behaviors

The Lifestyle, Environment, and Flourishing lab is interested in studying how lifestyle choices impact mental health and well-being. We conduct quantitative and qualitative research to explore…

  • how common lifestyle behaviors predict mental health in daily life
  • how lifestyle behaviors cluster together
  • the role of engaging with nature for mental health and well-being
  • how people make sense of the relationship to nature and the outdoors
  • what factors contribute to disparities in engaging in health behaviors

The team is located at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

There is an opening for a doctoral student to join the team for Fall 2024. Please see the Counseling Psychology Doctoral program website for more details.

I would also consider accepting a research-oriented master’s student into the Lab in Fall of 2024. Please see the Counseling Psychology Masters program website. Note that this is a fully funded program and leads to clinical licensure in the state of Mississippi.

Latest News

Advancing LGBTQ+ Health Advocacy and Research at the New York Academy of Medicine Conference

Title Slide

Lindsey Ostermiller, a current 2nd year PhD student, recently had the opportunity to attend and present at the Advocacy in Medicine Conference hosted by the New York Academy of Medicine. This conference provided a forum focused on patient-centered, humanistic social justice advocacy related to LGBTQ+ health. Lindsey presented her research on mental health disparities and engagement in healthy behaviors among LGBTQ+ graduate students to an engaged audience. She discussed important implications of her findings, including policy changes needed at higher education institutions, implementation of lifestyle screenings, and development of tailored interventions to improve sleep quality. Her work highlighted the bidirectional relationship between mental and physical health in this community.

High psychological distress for LGBTQ+ students

Lindsey connected with other passionate students interested in advocacy and policy change to improve LGBTQ+ health. She received positive feedback on her research and its potential to shape collaboration between medical fields and psychology to better serve marginalized communities. Lindsey’s research manuscript is currently under review for publication in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine journal. Overall, presenting at this impactful conference allowed Lindsey to advance her advocacy work and share her findings on health disparities and needed interventions with key stakeholders focused on humanistic social justice in medicine. The experience has empowered Lindsey to continue pursuing meaningful work improving LGBTQ+ health outcomes.