Monica Webb Hooper

Associate Professor, Health Division
Ph.D. earned from the University of South Florida, 2005

Research Interests

Broad research interests:
Clinical health psychology; Biobehavioral oncology; Minority health; Health disparities; Cancer prevention and control; Cancer risk behaviors; Health behavior change
Substantive research interests:
Tobacco use; smoking cessation and interventions; individually tailored smoking cessation interventions; culturally specific cessation interventions; factors influencing intervention response; distress processes, electronic cigarettes, obesity/weight management

Current Research

My research includes theoretical, behavioral, experimental, and applied investigations of health behavior change, specifically cancer risk behaviors (i.e., increase the risk of cancer or worsen the health status of people diagnosed with cancer). My research includes multiple populations, such as adults, college students, African Americans, Hispanics, HIV+ persons, and cancer survivors. To date, this work has emphasized the psychological aspects of nicotine dependence and treatment, including mechanisms that underlie tailored smoking cessation interventions, the influence of intervention expectancies, and the development and testing of culturally specific interventions. I am also interested in examining a range of interventions for tobacco use, from clinical psychology interventions (individual and group-based therapies) to public health approaches (tailored mass communications), and studying the intersection of these approaches to achieve maximal efficacy.

I am also very interested in minority health and cancer health disparities. For example, African Americans suffer disproportionately from smoking-related morbidity and mortality. In addition, the leading causes of death among U.S. Hispanics are smoking-related. A significant portion of my research focuses on understanding how to best approach interventions targeting underserved and racial/ethnic minority groups at high risk for cancer. African American smokers tend to initiate tobacco use later in life and smoke fewer cigarettes per day, yet appear to have greater difficulty quitting. However, African Americans and Hispanics living in the U.S. are underrepresented in smoking cessation clinical trials; thus, there are few evidence-based interventions targeting these populations. I am interested in the effects of culturally specific interventions in these groups. Additionally, I also study individual-difference mechanisms that help us understand intervention efficacy, specifically stress, depressive symptoms, and the influence of acculturation and ethnic identity. The overarching goal of this research is to make a significant public health impact on the cancer disparities observed within these populations.

Tobacco Obesity and Oncology Laboratory (TOOL)

The Tobacco, Obesity, and Oncology Laboratory is a part of the Department of Psychology, and the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center (aligned with the Cancer Prevention, Control, and Survivorship program).  TOOL is located in the Behavioral Medicine Research Center (BMRC) on the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine campus.

We operate an evidence-based research clinic that is open to the community. The clinic, called NewU, provides evidence-based cognitive behavioral interventions in group and individual formats. NewU allows us to (1) examine the feasibility of conducting evidence-based, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for behavior change among adults; (2) examine the rates of change following the intervention and through 1-year post intervention; (3) examine individual difference variables that influence outcomes; and (4) provide a professional service to the UM and local communities. NewU consists of two specialty clinics.
This research clinic provides group and individual CBT plus nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation. We have screened over 1000 potential participants, and over 200 have completed the 1-year follow-up. The data indicate that this evidence-based intervention is well-received, has strong retention, and produces high cessation rates.
CANES stands for Changing Attitudes, Nutrition, and Exercise Study. This research clinic provides group CBT for weight management. This study launched in 2014, and we continue to refine the intervention. Early indicators suggest that the intervention is feasible, acceptable, and well-received. We also have strong retention. Findings regarding outcomes are forthcoming as the sample size increases.
E-Cigarette Survey
E-cigarettes continue to increase in popularity, yet previous studies have not examined differences in these variables by race/ethnicity. We conducted a survey of e-cigarette awareness, risk perceptions, behavioral intentions, and use in a sample of 300 diverse, primarily low socioeconomic status, adult smokers and ex-smokers. Preliminary analyses indicate that there are racial/ethnic differences, which have implications for targeting, future initiation, and tobacco control. Final analyses are in progress.
Smoke Break Study (National Cancer Institute)
My previous research suggests that some African American smokers respond well to culturally specific interventions, and others do not. I have also found that group-based interventions combined with nicotine replacement therapy are more effective in this population than other approaches (e.g., self-help materials). This study tested the effects of a culturally specific cognitive-behavioral therapy for smoking cessation, conducted in a group format. The study also examined the influence of acculturation (second culture learning) and ethnic identity (African American affiliation and attitudes) as cultural variables that may help explain who is more likely to quit using culturally specific interventions. Answering these fundamental questions is important, as they have (1) been recognized as areas of research need in the Tobacco Clinical Practice Guidelines (Fiore et al., 2008) and (2) the potential to improve best practices for tobacco intervention among African Americans. Data analyses are in progress.
Serotonin, Personality, and Smoking Cessation Study (James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program)
This is a very innovative study that may serve as a model in other areas of health behavior change. The study examined serotonergic function and impulsivity among treatment-seeking smokers. Research indicates that smokers often have problems regulating their emotions, which lowers their chances of quitting. Low serotonergic function (SF) relates to less control over emotion. We examined relationships between the serotonin transporter gene, early adversity, and smoking cessation. This study will be the first to link genetics and cognitive patterns to smoking cessation. Findings will be relevant to tailoring interventions based on genotype, and reducing smoking and related diseases. Data analyses are in progress.

Selected Publications

Webb Hooper, M., Rogers, B. G., Okuyemi, K. (in press). Smoking cessation among racial/ethnic minorities, 2010-2014. Current Addiction Reports.

Kolar, S. K.,** Rogers, B. G.,* & Webb Hooper, M. (2014). Support for indoor bans on electronic cigarettes among current and former smokers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11, 12174-12189. doi:10.3390/ijerph111212174

Webb Hooper, M., Baker, E. A.,* & Robinson, R. G. (2014). Efficacy of a DVD-based smoking cessation intervention for African Americans. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 16, 1327-1335.

Webb Hooper, M., Baker, E. A.,* & McNutt, M. D.* (2014). Racial/ethnic differences among smokers: Revisited and expanded to help seekers. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 16, 621-625. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntt206

Webb Hooper, M., Larry, R., Okuyemi, K., Resnicow, K., Dietz, N. A., Robinson, R. G., & Antoni, M. H. (2013). Culturally specific versus standard group cognitive behavioral therapy for smoking cessation among African Americans: An RCT protocol. BMC Psychology, 1, 15.

Webb Hooper, M., Baker, E. A.*, & McNutt, M. D.* (2013). Associations between coping, affect, and social support among low-income African American smokers. Addictive Behaviors, 38, 2736-2740.

Webb Hooper, M., Rodriguez de Ybarra*, & Baker, E. A.* (2013). The effect of placebo tailoring on smoking cessation: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 81, 800-809. doi: 10.1037/a0032469

Webb Hooper, M., Baker, E. A.*, de Ybarra, D. R.*, McNutt, M.*, & Ahluwalia, J. (2012). Acculturation predicts 7-day smoking cessation among treatment-seeking African Americans in a group intervention. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 43, 74-83.

Webb Hooper, M., Zhao, W., Byrne, M. M., Davila, E., Caban-Martinez, A., Dietz, N., Parker, D. F., Huang, Y., Messiah, A., & Lee, D. J. (2011). Menthol cigarette smoking and health, Florida 2007 BRFSS. American Journal of Health Behavior 35, 3-14.

*graduate student
**post-doctoral fellow


  • PSY 656 Introduction to Evidence-Based Psychological Treatments
  • PSY 474 (special topics) Cultural Diversity in Psychology