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Jeff Stein, Ph.D.

Jeff Stein, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Associate Director, Center for Health Behaviors Research

Jeff Stein Ph.D.

“More than half of all deaths are the result of lifestyle choices leading to chronic disease. These deaths are preventable — but how? We first need to understand why unhealthy behavior is so tempting.”


Using behavioral economics to understand and prevent lifestyle-related morbidity and mortality

What drives unhealthy behavior? 

Behavioral economics provides a framework to understand the influence of various costs — including the time, money, and effort required to obtain an outcome — on a wide range of behaviors that impact health (e.g., poor diet, sedentary activity, substance use, medication nonadherence). Dr. Stein and his research team seek to both: (a) understand the behavioral economic processes that influence these health behaviors, and (b) target these decision-making processes to develop practical, highly disseminable interventions to prevent and treat disease. Recent and ongoing research projects include interventions to prevent and manage type 2 diabetes, improve medication adherence in breast cancer treatment, and increase public interest in obtaining clinical preventive services (e.g., cancer screening, vaccine use).

  • Assistant Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Associate Director, Center for Health Behaviors Research
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

View Dr. Stein's complete National Library of Medicine bibliography

Vaughn, J. E., Ammermann, C., Lustberg, M., Bickel, W., & Stein, J.S. (in press). Delay discounting as a potential therapeutic target to improve adjuvant endocrine therapy adherence in hormone-receptor positive breast cancer. Health Psychology.

Epstein, L. H., Paluch, R. A., Stein, J. S., Quattrin, T., Mastrandrea, L. D., Bree, K. A., ... & Bickel, W. K. (2020). Delay discounting, glycemic regulation and health behaviors in adults with prediabetes. Behavioral Medicine, 1-11.

Bechara, A., Berridge, K. C., Bickel, W. K., Morón, J. A., Williams, S. B., & Stein, J. S. (2019). A neurobehavioral approach to addiction: implications for the opioid epidemic and the psychology of addiction. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 20(2), 96-127.

Stein, J. S., Heckman, B. W., Pope, D. A., Perry, E. S., Fong, G. T., Cummings, K. M., & Bickel, W. K. (2018). Delay discounting and e-cigarette use: An investigation in current, former, and never cigarette smokers. Drug and alcohol dependence, 191, 165-173.

Stein, J. S., Koffarnus, M. N., Stepanov, I., Hatsukami, D. K., & Bickel, W. K. (2018). Cigarette and e-liquid demand and substitution in e-cigarette-naïve smokers. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 26(3), 233.

Stein, J. S., Wilson, A. G., Koffarnus, M. N., Daniel, T. O., Epstein, L. H., & Bickel, W. K. (2016). Unstuck in time: episodic future thinking reduces delay discounting and cigarette smoking. Psychopharmacology, 233(21), 3771-3778.

Stein, J. S., Johnson, P. S., Renda, C. R., Smits, R. R., Liston, K. J., Shahan, T. A., & Madden, G. J. (2013). Early and prolonged exposure to reward delay: effects on impulsive choice and alcohol self-administration in male rats. Experimental and clinical psychopharmacology, 21(2), 172.

Stein, J. S., & Madden, G. J. (2013). Delay discounting and drug abuse: Empirical, conceptual, and methodological considerations. In Mackillop, J., & de Wit, H. (Eds.). The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Addiction Psychopharmacology (pp. 165-208). Wiley-Blackwell: Oxford, UK.

  • Utah State University: Ph.D., Psychology
  • University of Kansas: M.A., Applied Behavioral Science