Gillings School Directory
Marcella Boynton, PhD

Marcella Boynton, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior
Director, Biostatistics and Survey Methods Core
Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication
  • 309 Rosenau Hall
  • CB #7440
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599
  • USA

Marcella H. Boynton, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Behavior and a behavioral health researcher with expertise in health decision-making theory, complex survey design and sophisticated regression-based data analytic techniques.

She conducts research across a wide range of health domains, including tobacco use, alcohol misuse, maternal-child health and cancer prevention. Much of Dr. Boynton’s past research has employed daily diary methodology, which has allowed her to explore the association of daily affective and cognitive processes with concurrent health-related behaviors.

Overall, Dr. Boynton’s work has a strong emphasis on the multidimensional nature of health behavior, with a particular interest in stress and coping processes and health disparities. In addition to serving on the faculty of UNC's Department of Health Behavior, Dr. Boynton is the director of the Biostatistics and Methodology Core at the UNC Center for Regulatory Research on Tobacco Communication.

Representative Courses

Principles of Statistical Inference for Health Behavior (HBEH 601) | Syllabus

Research Activities

Daily diary research
Health decision-making
Health disparities and discrimination
Stress and coping
Tobacco regulatory science 
Alcohol use
Cancer prevention

Service Activities

UNC Department of Health Behavior Master’s Advisory Committee, 2015-present

Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Multiple Health Behavior Change SIG Chair/Co-Chair, 2012-2015

SBM Membership Council Member, 2009-2012

American Psychological Association Membership Board, 2008

Key Publications

Understanding how perceptions of tobacco constituents and the FDA relate to effective and credible tobacco risk messaging: A national phone survey of U.S. adults, 2014-2015. Boynton, M. H., Agans, R., Bowling, J. M., Brewer, N. T., Sutfin, E., Goldstein, A., Noar, S. M. and Ribisl, K. (2016). BMC Public Health, 16(516), 1-13.

An online daily diary study of alcohol use using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Boynton, M. H. and Richman, L. S.  (2014). Drug and Alcohol Review, 33.

A mediational model of racial discrimination and alcohol-related problems among African American college students. Boynton, M. H., O’Hara, R. E., Covault, J., Scott, D. and Tennen, H. (2014). Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75(2), 228-234.


Postdoctoral Fellow, Quantitative Methods, University of Connecticut Health Center, 2013

Postdoctoral Fellow, Quantitative Methods, Duke University, Quantitative Methods, 2012

PhD, Social Psychology, University of Connecticut, 2009

MA, Social Psychology, University of Connecticut, 2005

BA, Psychology, Purdue University, 2003

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