Research Interests and Publications

Professor Gil’s research over the past 20 years has been in the area of health psychology with an emphasis on the study of coping and adjustment in medical illness.  The ultimate objective of this research is to develop more effective means to assess and treat pain and distress in individuals with medical diseases. Professor Gil developed a coping skills intervention designed to reduce pain and distress in African Americans with sickle cell disease through the use of daily distraction, relaxation, and behavioral pain management skills.  She has tested the efficacy of this intervention in several age groups – school-aged children, adolescents, and adults.  More recently, with colleagues in the cancer center, she has modified and expanded the coping skills intervention for use in women who have survived breast cancer.  Beyond the intervention research, she is also conducting a series of  diary studies examining daily positive and negative mood, stress, pain and coping in several chronic illness groups — sickle cell disease, arthritis, or cancer.  The aim of these studies is to determine the extent to which negative mood and stress contribute to pain and health care use.  The studies are also examining the contribution of positive mood to day-to-day health behaviors and psychological adjustment.