Henrietta Logan, Ph.D.
Department of Community Dentistry and Behavioral Science
- Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1976
Current Research Interest
My research has focused on psychological and biological correlates including immune changes of the human stress and pain response. This work has had both theoretical and clinical applications. This series of studies included development and validation of a scale to measure individual’s perception of personal control. We proposed that individual differences in perceived dental pain are related to elevated levels of desire for personal control coupled with predictions of having little control available. We showed that conceptually desiring control is related to the individual’s perception of potential threat and harm. The level of predicted control is related to some extent with the ‘resources’ available during the aversive treatments to the individual. Work shows that this conceptual framework extends to other potentially aversive settings including child birth and laboratory pain. Our published research showed that directing patients’ attention away from their emotions, specifically to the characteristics of the physical sensations, resulted in less immediate and recalled pain for the most stressed individuals. My group and I have extended our stress and pain research to understanding the etiology of pain memory and the impact of memory on subsequent pain response.
My work in head and neck cancer was a natural extension of my interest in stress, pain and health outcomes. My colleagues and I have conducted several studies related to early detection and prevention of oral and pharyngeal cancer. These studies provided baseline data on attitudes and beliefs including cultural mistrust about undergoing cancer screenings among ethnoracial minorities. We also assessed the effectiveness of a media campaign designed to increase knowledge and participation in head and neck cancer screenings. Most recently, these data have provided the theoretical framework and pilot data for two NIH-funded studies. The first project on which I am co-investigator developed and tested a social marketing intervention. The second multi-disciplinary project examines head and neck survivorship and seeks to advances our knowledge of cancer survivorship research methodology (CA111593 awarded to HL). We are currently conducting research studying the late effects of cancer treatment and examines the contribution of associated-pain level to quality of life and psychosocial distress. Both of these projects have significance for clinical care and research methodology.
My research strategies are multidisciplinary and collaborative involving public health dentists, epidemiologists, endodontists, general dentists, oral medicine, physicians, psychologists, immunologists, anthropologists, and statisticians. This collaborative strategy has led to better understanding of the connection between stress and pain and health. I would, however be remiss if I failed to recognize the many undergraduate, dental, and graduate students with whom I have worked over my 30 year career and acknowledge the joy and excitement they have brought to my field of inquiry.