Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, Medicine, and Public Health;
Associate Director, ADVANCE Program, Office of Inclusive Excellence

Ph.D. Northwestern University
(949) 824-2192
4336 Social and Behavioral Sciences Gateway



coping with traumatic life events (personal losses and collective traumas), stress, social psychology, health psychology

Curriculum Vitae: 


At some point, most people encounter stressful events that can have a major impact on the course and direction of their lives. They or those they love may be confronted with a disabling accident, serious illness, death, or violent crime. In my work, I attempt to investigate systematically the acute and long-term reactions to these personal traumas, as well as the impact of larger community disasters such as terrorist attacks, earthquakes or firestorms, school shootings, and war. I seek to identify individual, social and societal factors that facilitate successful adjustment to stressful life events and to identify myths concerning the coping process. I also explore the long-term physical, cognitive, emotional, and social effects of traumatic experiences and consider the impact of beliefs and expectations of one's social network on the adjustment process. Finally, my research highlights predictors of individual and community resilience, the cumulative effects of collective traumas, and the role of traditional and social media in transmitting the stress of community disasters beyond the directly impacted community. 

I was principal investigator of a multi-year longitudinal study of the national impact of the September 11th terrorist attacks on mental and physical health. I recently oversaw several other research projects, in collaboration with current and former students and national and international colleagues: a study on resilience and vulnerability following repeated natural disasters in Java, Indonesia (in collaboration with Psychology Beyond Borders, an international nonprofit organization that I co-founded and for which I serve as Chair of the Board of Directors), a study of a nationally representative sample of over 2000 adults following the massive 8.8 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in February, 2010 in Chile (with colleagues at the Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago), an inter-disciplinary project that examined the political impact of the psychological response to the threat of terrorism and responses to turbulence in our society (e.g., the economic meltdown), and a multidisciplinary project to develop a quantitative index of the psychosocial impacts of natural and human-caused disasters (including health, social functioning, and political attitudes) through the use of vital statistics, archival and administrative information, and other secondary sources of data (in collaboration with Fran Norris from Dartmouth Medical School). My current work includes a national longitudinal study of the April, 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, the Ebola public health crisis, and the 2016 Orlando nightclub mass shooting.

Brief Biographical Sketch of Roxane Cohen Silver

Audio of Roxane Cohen Silver on 9/11: Together We Feel (Public Radio International's living on earth; Air Date: September 9, 2011)

Video of Roxane Cohen Silver on Coping with Traumatic Life Experiences

Academic Distinctions  
  • 2016  President, Society of Experimental Social Psychology
  • 2016  Social Responsibility Award, Western Psychological Association
  • 2015  Tom Angell Fellowship Faculty Award for Mentoring, University of California, Irvine (inaugural award recipient)
  • 2014  International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies' Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study
  • 2012  International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ Distinguished Mentorship Award
  • 2011  American Psychological Association's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Psychology in the Public Interest (Senior Career)
  • 2011  American Psychological Association Division 56 (Trauma Psychology) Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Trauma Psychology
  • 2011  Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, University of California, Irvine (inaugural award recipient)
  • 2010  International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies’ Public Advocacy Award for “outstanding and fundamental contributions to advancing social understanding of trauma”
  • 2007  American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science
  • 2001  UC Irvine’s Distinguished Faculty Lectureship Award for Teaching
  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science
  • Fellow, American Psychological Association Division 8 (Society for Personality & Social Psychology), Division 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues), Division 38 (Society for Health Psychology), and Division 56 (Trauma Psychology)
  Web Links

Selected Publications (click on links below to see or download publications)



Last updated: Thursday, July 14, 2016 - 9:00am