Paschal Sheeran, PhD

Adjunct Professor
Department of Health Behavior
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
323 Davie Hall
CB #3270
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Paschal Sheeran is a social psychologist whose research concerns self-regulation – how people direct their thoughts, feelings and actions to achieve their goals. His particular interests are health behavior change and emotion regulation with research on:

1) The intention-behavior ‘gap.’ His research shows that people successfully translate intentions into action only about 50 percent of the time, and pinpoints factors that determine consistencies between intentions and behavior.

2) The use of implementation intentions to reduce the intention-behavior ‘gap’ and improve rates of performance of health behaviors.

3) Using meta-analysis to assess how much change in health-related intentions and behavior accrues from interventions that change the key predictors specified by health behavior theories.

4) His recent work has begun to examine nonconscious routes to action and the self-regulation of implicit influence.

Teaching Interests

UNC Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
PSYC490 - Self-regulation
PSYC868 - Self-regulation

Research Activities

Cancer prevention and control
Health behavior change
Health communication
Heart disease and stroke
Nutrition and physical activity
Oral health
Tobacco prevention and control
Worksite and occupational health

Service Activities

Member of the Cognitive, Affective and Social Processes in Health Research Workgroup (CASPHR; convened by the National Cancer Institute’s Behavioral Research Program.

Key Publications

The Impact of Changing Attitudes, Norms, and Self-Efficacy on Health-Related Intentions and Behavior: A Meta-Analysis. Sheeran, P., Maki, A., Montanaro, E., Avishai-Yitshak, A., Bryan, A., Klein, W. M. P., Miles, E. & Rothman, A. J. (2016). Health Psychology, e-pub ahead of print.

Testing the generalizability of impulse control problems in compulsive buying. Hague, B., Kellett, S. & Sheeran, P. (2016). Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 35(4), 269-288.

Social desirability bias in the reporting of alcohol consumption: A randomized trial. Kypri, K., Wilson, A., Attia, J., Sheeran, P., Miller, P. & McCambridge, J. (2016). Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 77(3), 526-531.

Reactance to Health Warnings Scale: Development and Validation. Hall, M.G., Sheeran, P., Noar, S.M., Ribisl, K.M., Bach, L.E., Brewer, N.T.  (2016). Annals of Behavior Medicine, e-pub ahead of print.

Staff/Administrative Duties

In the Department of Health Behavior:
     Advise students on special projects or studies
     Collaborate on research with faculty and students
     Dissertation committee member
     Supervise student research projects


  • PhD, Psychology, University of Sheffield, 1997
  • MA, Psychology, University College Dublin, 1988