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Personality

Photograph of James Hittner, Ph.D.

Dr. Jim Hittner

My three basic areas of research are personality-health psychology, substance use and HIV-risky sexual behavior, and statistical methodology. More specifically, I examine (a) how personality variables, such as anxiety and optimism, influence psychological well-being, (b) how alcohol use, drug use, and personality can heighten the probability of engaging in high-risk sexual behavior, and (c) how various statistical methods, such as the correlation coefficient or the pre- to post-intervention gain score, perform under different simulated conditions (e.g., different population distributions, sample sizes, etc.). My first area of research enhances our understanding of how personality affects psychological health, and my second area of research generates new knowledge concerning the predictors and correlates of risky sexual behavior. My third area of inquiry (statistical methodology) provides recommendations to researchers concerning the validity of various statistical techniques under a variety of different scenarios.

Students who work with me participate in all facets of the research project, ranging from library research, to data analysis and interpretation, to surveying and testing research participants, to manuscript preparation and writing.