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Kristel Gallagher

Kristel Gallagher, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology

📞 724-589-2070
 Academic Center Room 249

“We should judge teaching not by the amount of knowledge it passes on, but by the enduring excitement it generates. Knowledge, when it comes, is a later arrival, flaring up, when the time is right, from the sparks good teachers have implanted in their students’ souls.” –Gary Gutting 


  • Ph.D. in Experimental Social and Health Psychology (2012) – Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
  • M.A. in Experimental Social and Health Psychology (2009) – Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
  • B.A. in Psychology (2007) – Waynesburg University, Waynesburg, Pa.

Courses Typically Taught:

  • General Psychology (PSY 150)
  • Research Methods (PSY 222)
  • Applied Health Psychology (PSY 257)
  • Social Psychology (PSY 360)
  • Experimental Social Psychology (PSY 364)
  • Statistics for the Social Sciences (MATH 202)

What do I love most about Thiel College?

“Every person who works on the Thiel College campus shares a single passion – that is, to help our students succeed. When I joined Thiel, I joined a community of people who put their students first and strive to help them discover their individual gifts and talents so that they may share those with the rest of the world. Lives are transformed here, and I am thrilled to play a small part in that magic.”

Research Interests:

How do we motivate people to live healthy lives and make healthy choices? This “million dollar” question is what guides my research, in addition to being a focal point for many top national health organizations. I am a social and health psychologist, which means I apply theories and principles from the field of social psychology to the promotion of healthy behaviors. I am especially interested in the promotion of behaviors related to obesity – specifically, physical activity and diet.

Some of the issues I have examined include:

  • Whether our clothing has an effect on our choice of healthy and/or unhealthy behaviors.
  • How small changes in the wording of health messages influences persuasion.
  • What kinds of exercise ‘outcomes’ are most persuasive.
  • How our motivation to be healthy changes as we age.

Selected Publications and Presentations:

Gallagher, K. M. (2015) –Helping older adults sustain their physical therapy gains:A theory-based intervention to promote adherence to home exercise following rehabilitation. Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy. doi: 10.1519/JPT.0000000000000040 

Gallagher, K.M. (2015, Jan.) –Taking social psychology to the streets, “The Humans of Northeast Pennsylvania Project”: Poster presented at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology, St. Pete Beach, Fla. 

Gallagher, K.M. (2014) –Retrieval cues on tests, A strategy for helping students recall information?: In W.S. Altman & L. Stein (Eds.), Essays from E-xcellence in Teaching (Vol. 13). Society for the Teaching of Psychology website: http://teachpsych.org/Resources/Documents/ebooks/eit2014.pdf

Gallagher, K.M. (2014, Feb.) –Students teaching wellness ‘from the shoulders of giants’: Assessment of a social and health psychology action teaching project. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Austin, Texas

Jellison, J.L. & Gallagher, K.M. (2013, July) –Educating while entertaining, Remembering why you love it and getting them to do the same: Symposium presented at the International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology, Vancouver, Canada.

Gallagher, K.M. & Updegraff, J.A. (2012) –Health message framing effects on attitudes, intentions, and behavior: A meta-analytic review. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 43 (1), 101-116.

Gallagher, K.M. & Updegraff, J.A. (2011) –When “fit” leads to fit, and when “fit” leads to fat: How message framing and intrinsic v. extrinsic exercise outcomes interact in promoting physical activity. Psychology and Health, 26 (7), 819-834.