Cleopatra Abdou

Cleopatra Miriam Abdou-Kamperveen is a psychologist, author, and professor, best known for her work on reproductive health, human flourishing, and longevity. Abdou is an assistant professor in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work[1] and Department of Psychology at the University of Southern California (USC).[2]

Cleopatra Abdou
Cleopatra Miriam Abdou is a psychologist, author, and professor, best known for her work on reproductive health, human flourishing, and longevity.
Cleopatra Miriam Abdou
Cleopatra Miriam Abdou

Brooklyn, New York
OccupationPsychologist, author, and professor
Known forHer work on reproductive health, human flourishing, and longevity.

Early lifeEdit

Abdou was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Clearwater, Florida. She and her four siblings, including an identical twin sister, are the children of Egyptian immigrants. Abdou lost her mother, Miriam Abdou, at birth due to labor and delivery complications and poor medical care, leading Abdou to commit early in life to making health and human flourishing her life’s work.

Education and careerEdit

Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Abdou completed a postdoctoral fellowship in social epidemiology and population health as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the University of Michigan. Abdou received her Ph.D. in social and health psychology, minoring in quantitative psychology, from UCLA in 2008. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Miami in 2000 with a degree in psychology and art.

Abdou has spent almost two decades conducting interdisciplinary research on how individuals, families, communities, and other groups manage to be healthy, happy, and successful against the odds. She is the author of nearly two-dozen scientific articles and book chapters in the fields of psychology, public health, medicine, sociology, and aging.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Abdou served as an associate editor for the Handbook of Minority Aging1 published by Springer in 2013.

Abdou developed the Culture and Social Identity Health Theory2 and the related conceptual framework, Aging Before Birth and Beyond.2 Abdou coined the term healthcare stereotype threat (HCST) and was the first to develop experimental methods for applying the social psychological theory of stereotype threat to the public health problem of health disparities, empirically demonstrating that healthcare stereotype threat is an overlooked psychosocial barrier to healthcare utilization and, thus, good health.[11]

In 2014, Abdou conducted a study at the University of Southern California examining the role that stereotypes play in health disparities. The study identified and explained why women of color are less likely to use healthcare than White women and proposed some solutions. A paper about the study was published in the American Psychological Association journal, Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology on July 2014.[2][11]


  1. ^ USC Dworak Peck Faculty Directory. USC Dworak Peck School Retrieved 29 October 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b Perkins, Robert. "The role stereotypes play in health disparities". EmPower Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 August 2014. Retrieved 29 August 2014.
  3. ^ Abdou, C.W.; Dominguez, T.P.; Myers, H.F. (2013). "Maternal familism predicts birthweight and ashthma symptoms by age three". Social Science & Medicine. 76 (1): 28–38. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2012.07.041. PMID 23142569.
  4. ^ Abdou, C.M.; Hudson, D.; Jackson, J.S.; Kershaw, K.N.; Lee, H.; Mezuk, B. (2013). ""White box" epidemiology and the neurobiology of poor health behaviors: The Environmental Affordances Model". Society and Mental Health. 3 (2): 79–95. doi:10.1177/2156869313480892. PMC 3820104. PMID 24224131.
  5. ^ Abdou, C.M.; Eaton, W.W.; Hudson, D.; Kershaw, K.N.; Lee, H.; Mezuk, B.; Rafferty, J.A.; Jackson, J.S. (2010). "Reconsidering the role of social disadvantage in physical and mental health: Stressful life events, health behaviors, race, and depression". American Journal of Epidemiology. 172 (11): 1238–1249. doi:10.1093/aje/kwq283. PMC 3025628. PMID 20884682.
  6. ^ Abdou, C.M.; Campos, B.; Dunkel Schetter, C.; Glynn, L.M.; Hilmert, C.J.; Hobel, C.J.; Parker Dominguez, T.; Sandman, C.A. (2010). "Communalism predicts maternal affect, stress, and physiology better than ethnicity and SES". Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 16 (3): 395–403. doi:10.1037/a0019808. PMC 2911647. PMID 20658883.
  7. ^ Abdou, C.M.; Jackson, J.S.; Kershaw, K.N.; Mezuk, B.; Rafferty, J.A. (2010). "Socioeconomic position, health behaviors, and C-reactive protein: A moderated-mediation analysis". Health Psychology. 29 (3): 307–316. doi:10.1037/a0019286. PMC 2881158. PMID 20496985.
  8. ^ Abdou, C.M; Dunkel Schetter, C.; Hobel, C.J.; Jones, F.; Jones, L.; Lu, M.C.; Rubinov, D.; Tsai, S. (2010). "Community perspectives: Mixed-methods investigation of culture, stress, resilience, and health". Ethnicity and Disease. 20 (20): 41–48. PMC 5370162. PMID 20629246.
  9. ^ Abdou, C.M.; Campos, B.; Dunkel Schetter, C.; Glynn, L.; Hobel, C.J.; Sandman, C. (2008). "Familialism, social support, and stress: Positive implications for pregnant Latinas". Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 14 (2): 155–162. doi:10.1037/1099-9809.14.2.155. PMC 2859297. PMID 18426288.
  10. ^ Abdou, C.M.; Dunkel Schetter, C.; Glynn, L.; Hilmert, C.J.; Hobel, C.J; Parker Dominguez, T.; Sandman, C. (2008). "Stress and blood pressure during pregnancy: Racial differences and associations with birthweight". Psychosomatic Medicine (70): 57–64.
  11. ^ a b Abdou, C.M.; Fingerhut, A.W. (2014). "Stereotype threat among Black and White women in healthcare settings". Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 20 (3): 316–323. doi:10.1037/a0036946. PMC 5449200. PMID 25045944.

Further readingEdit

  • Abdou, C. M. (2013). Aging before birth and beyond: Lifespan and intergenerational adaptation through positive resources. In K. E. Whitfield and T. Baker (Eds.) Handbook of Minority Aging. Springer Publishing: New York.

External linksEdit