L Alison Phillips

L. Alison Phillips

  • Associate Professor
  • Director, Healthy Habits Lab
With the ultimate goal of helping individuals and their healthcare providers to prevent and/or manage chronic illness, our lab’s work aims to:

1) Identify the universal and behavior-specific processes and mechanisms of health-habit development. From this information, we aim to design, test, and implement tailored interventions for a particular behavior (e.g., medication adherence, physical activity), in particular populations (e.g., cancer survivors, patients with Type 2 diabetes, healthy young adults), and for particular individual characteristics (e.g., personality, morningness-eveningness).

2) Create a communication system, or protocol, through which healthcare providers can utilize knowledge of health-habit developmental processes to: a) promote adherence to newly prescribed behaviors; and b) identify the existence of and reasons for non-adherence to previously prescribed behaviors, so that the provider can refer “non-adherent” individuals to problem-specific interventions. We have several ongoing and planned research projects specific to exercise habits and medication/supplement adherence.

3) Design interventions to promote healthy behaviors in the long-term, such as regular exercise! For example, using mobile phone applications and accelerometers (e.g., Fitbits) to help individuals set up new routines, gain self-confidence, development intrinsic motivation to engage in the behavior (i.e., get the individual to WANT to do the behavior!), and form a self-identity that includes that behavior.

A special sub-category of our research involves researching the effect of military veterans’ perceptions of their medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) on their recovery from or management of the symptoms; the effect of perceived disagreement between veterans and their physicians’ regarding the cause and control of the MUS; and the effect of physicians’ communication about MUS to veterans on these factors.


Contact Info

0020 Office And Lab
2401 Osborn Dr


  • B.A., Mathematics and Psychology, Grinnell College, 2003
  • M.S., Psychology, Rutgers University, 2008
  • Ph.D., Psychology, Rutgers University, 2011

Selected Publications:

Phillips, L. A., & McAndrew, L. M. (Accepted). Empirical evaluation of veterans’ perceived non-concordance with providers regarding medically unexplained symptoms. Special issue (major contribution) to The Counseling Psychologist.

Phillips, L. A., Johnson, Ma., & More, K. R. (In Press). Experimental test of a planning intervention for forming a “higher order” health-habit. Psychology and Health. doi:10.1080/08870446.2019.1604956

Phillips, L. A. (In Press). Challenging assumptions about habit: A response to Hagger (2019). Psychology of Sport & Exercise. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2019.03.005 JIF: 2.878 (1yr), 3.297 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., & Duwe, E.A.G. (In Press). Prescribing providers estimate patients’ adherence to hypertension and type-2 diabetes medications from patients’ medication-taking routines: An observational study. Journal of General Internal Medicine. JIF: 3.49 (1yr), 4.04 (5yr)

Orbell, S., & Phillips, L. A. (2019). Automatic processes and self-regulation of illness. Health Psychology Review. doi:10.1080/17437199.2018.1503559 JIF: 8.60 (1yr), 8.40 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., & Johnson, Me. (2018). Interdependent Effects of Autonomous and Controlled Regulation on Exercise Behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 44(1), 49-62. doi:10.1177/0146167217733068  JIF: 2.56 (1yr), 3.79 (5yr)

Dillon, P., Phillips, L. A., Gallagher, P., Smith, S. M., Stewart, D., & Cousins, G., (2018). Assessing the multidimensional relationship between medication beliefs and adherence using polynomial regression in older adults with hypertension. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 52(2), 146-156. doi:10.1093/abm/kax016  JIF: 4.2 (1yr), 4.88 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., McAndrew, L. M., Laman-Maharg, B., & Bloeser, K. (2017). Evaluating challenges for improving medically unexplained symptoms in US Military Veterans via provider communication. Patient Education and Counseling, 100(8), 1580-1587. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2017.03.011 JIF: 2.23 (1yr), 2.89 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Leventhal, H., & Burns, E. A. (2017). Choose (and use) your tools wisely: "Validated" measures and advanced analyses can provide invalid evidence for/against a theory. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 40(2), 373-376. doi:10.1007/s10865-016-9807-x  JIF: 2.5 (1yr), 4.3 (5yr)

Hisler, G., Phillips, L. A., & Krizan, Z. (2017). Diurnal preference predicts unique variance in physical activity after accounting for Extended Theory of Planned Behavior variables. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 51(3), 391-401. doi:10.1007/s12160-016-9862-0 JIF: 4.2 (1yr), 4.88 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Chamberland, P-E., Hekler, E. B., **Abrams, J. A., & *Eisenberg, M. H. (2016). Intrinsic rewards predict exercise via behavioral intentions for initiators but via habit strength for maintainers. Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology, 5(4), 352-364. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/spy0000071 JIF: 1.76 (1yr)

Leventhal, H., Phillips, L. A., & Burns, E. A. (2016). The Common-Sense Model of Self-Regulation (CSM): A dynamic framework for understanding illness self-management. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39(6), 935-46. doi:10.1007/s10865-016-9782-2  JIF: 2.5 (1yr), 4.3 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Cohen, J., Burns, E. A., Abrams, J., & Renninger, S. (2016). Self-management of chronic illness: The role of 'habit' vs reflective factors in exercise and medication adherence. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39(6), 1076-1091. doi:10.1007/s10865-016-9732-z JIF: 2.5 (1yr), 4.3 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., & Gardner, B. (2016). Habitual exercise instigation (versus execution) predicts healthy adults’ exercise frequency. Health Psychology, 35(1), 69-77. doi:10.1037/hea0000249  JIF: 3.61 (1yr), 4.44 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Diefenbach, M., **Abrams, J. A., & Horowitz, C. R. (2015). Stroke and TIA survivors’ cognitive beliefs and affective responses regarding treatment and future stroke risk differentially predict medication adherence and categorized stroke risk. Psychology & Health, 30(2), 218-232.
doi:10.1080/08870446.2014.964237  JIF: 1.98 (1yr), 2.37 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Diefenbach, M., Kronish, I. M., Negron, R. M., & Horowitz, C. R. (2014). The Necessity-Concerns-Framework: A multi-dimensional theory benefits from multi-dimensional analysis. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 48(1), 7-16. doi:10.1007/s12160-013-9579-2 JIF: 4.2 (1yr), 4.88 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Tuhrim, S., Kronish, I., & Horowitz, C. R. (2014). Stroke survivors’ endorsement of a ‘stress belief model’ of stroke prevention predicts control of risk factors for recurrent stroke. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 19(5), 519-524. doi:10.1080/13548506.2013.855801  JIF: 1.52 (1yr)

Phillips, L. A., Leventhal, H., & Leventhal, E. A. (2013). Assessing theoretical predictors of long-term medication adherence: Patients' treatment-related beliefs, experiential feedback, and habit development. Psychology & Health, 28(10), 1135-1151. doi:10.1080/08870446.2013.793798 JIF: 1.98 (1yr), 2.37 (5yr)

  • Note. This article received the journal editors’ “Choice Pick” designation, for free access to the public

Phillips, L. A. (2013). Congruence research in behavioral medicine: Methodological review and demonstration of an alternative methodology. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 36(1), 61-74. doi:10.1007/s10865-012-9401-9 JIF: 2.5 (1yr), 4.3 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Leventhal, H., & Leventhal, E. A. (2012). Physicians’ communication of the Common-Sense Self-Regulation Model results in greater reported adherence than physicians’ use of interpersonal-skills. British Journal of Health Psychology, 17(2), 244-257. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8287.2011.02035.x  JIF: 2.78 (1yr), 2.91 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., & Chapman, G. B. (2012). Enjoyment and Success: Reciprocal Factors in Behavior Change. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 42(4), 990-1009. doi:10.1111/j.1559-1816.2011.00849.x  JIF: 1.01 (1yr), 1.31 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., & Chapman, G. B. (2011). Consistent behavior development: Is a personal-rule or a deliberation-based strategy more effective? Journal of General Psychology, 138(4), 243-259. doi:10.1080/00221309.2011.592872 
JIF: 1.04 (1yr), 1.31 (5yr)

Phillips, L. A., Leventhal, E. A., & Leventhal, H. (2011). Factors associated with the accuracy of physicians’ predictions of patient adherence. Patient Education and Counseling, 85(3), 461-467. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2011.03.012 JIF: 2.23 (1yr), 2.89 (5yr)