Jeffrey L. Birk, PhD

Location and Contact Information

622 W. 168th Street PH9-319
New York, NY 10032
United States

Principal Investigator

Dr. Jeffrey Birk is an Instructor in Medical Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center in the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health (CBCH). His research focuses on the influence of emotions and their regulation on cardiovascular health. One goal of this research is to investigate how negative emotions that arise due to serious medical conditions may reduce patients’ engagement in health behaviors. In this area Dr. Birk and colleagues are currently testing whether fear of recurrence is a modifiable mechanism of adherence to heart medication in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) using a cognitive-affective intervention to reduce this fear. A second research goal concerns the health effects of different strategies for regulating emotion. For example, perseverative thinking involves ruminating about the past or worrying about the future and is generally regarded as a maladaptive regulatory strategy. Dr. Birk and colleagues investigate how the occurrence and duration of perseverative thoughts may contribute to heightened blood pressure by cognitively prolonging the stress response. A third research goal is to understand the behavioral and physiological pathways by which depression and post-traumatic stress disorder have adverse effects on long-term health outcomes.

Select Publications

  • Cornelius T, Birk JL, Edmondson D, Schwartz JE. The joint influence of emotional reactivity and social interaction quality on cardiovascular responses to daily social interactions in working adults. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 2018;108:70-77.

  • Birk JL, Rogers AH, Shahane AD, Urry HL. The heart of control: Proactive cognitive control training limits anxious cardiac arousal under stress. Motivation and Emotion. 2018;42(1):64-78.

  • Birk JL, Opitz PC, Urry HL. Distractibility as a precursor to anxiety: Preexisting attentional control deficits predict subsequent autonomic arousal during anxiety. Biological Psychology. 2017;122:59-68.

  • Birk JL, Bonanno GA. When to throw the switch: The adaptiveness of modifying emotion regulation strategies based on affective and physiological feedback. Emotion. 2016;16(5):657-670.