Leah M Adams

Leah M Adams

Leah M Adams

Assistant Professor

Clinical Psychology: HIV risk & prevention among high-risk groups; Psychosocial aspects of chronic disease and traumatic injury management

Dr. Leah Adams is an Assistant Professor at George Mason University in the departments of Psychology and Women & Gender Studies, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. She received a B.S. from the University of Richmond in 2008, and received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from George Mason University. She completed a pre-doctoral residency in Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Washington Medical Center in 2014. She stayed in Seattle, WA to complete a two-year NIH-funded T-32 post-doctoral fellowship in Women’s Health and Aging at Group Health Research Institute (now Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute).

Dr. Adams’ research interests include the study of psychosocial aspects of health promotion and health risk, with an emphasis on racial/ethnic minorities, women, and other “vulnerable” groups. Specifically, her work has focused on HIV risk and prevention among incarcerated adults and on understanding barriers to accessing new HIV prevention tools, such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Her clinical and research interests also explore the psychosocial impact of managing chronic illness (e.g., HIV/AIDS, chronic pain) and disability (e.g., traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury).

Dr. Adams will be accepting a new PhD student for the Fall 2022 application cycle. 

Selected Publications

Adams, L.M., Wilson, T.E., Merenstein, D., Milam, J., Cohen, J., Golub, E.T.,…& Cook, J.A. (2018). Using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale to assess depression in women with HIV and women at risk for HIV: Are somatic items invariant? Psychological Assessment, 30(1), 97-105

Adams, L.M., & Balderson, B. (2016). HIV providers’ likelihood to prescribe Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention differs by patient type: A short report. AIDS Care, 28(9), 1154-1158.

Adams, L.M., & Simoni, J.M. (2016). The need for multi-level mitigation of medical mistrust among social network members contributing to antiretroviral treatment nonadherence in African Americans living with HIV: Comment on Bogart et al. (2016). Social Science & Medicine, 159, 58-60.

Bombardier, C.H., Adams, L.M., Fann, J.R., & Hoffman, J.M. (2016). Depression trajectories during the first year after spinal cord injury. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 97(2), 196-203.

Adams, L.M., Tangney, J.P., Stuewig, J., & Kashdan, T. (2014). Perceived susceptibility to AIDS predicts subsequent HIV risk: A longitudinal evaluation of jail inmates. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 37, 511-523.

Adams, L.M., Kendall, S.J., Smith, A.C., Quigley, E.M., Stuewig, J., & Tangney, J.P. (2013). Changes in HIV risk behaviors prior to incarceration and post- release in a sample of male and female jail inmates. AIDS and Behavior, 17, 2685-2694.

Adams, L.M., Balderson, B., & Packett, B. (in press). Meeting the challenge: HCV and HIV care experiences among HIV specialty providers. AIDS Patient Care & STDs.

Adams, L.M., & Turk, D.C. (in press). Central sensitization and the biopsychosocial approach to understanding pain. Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research.

Courses Taught

PSYC 611: Advanced Statistics and Research Methods for Psychology I (Graduate)

PSYC 897: Neurobiological Bases of Behavior & Fundamentals of Clinical Neuropsychology (Graduate)

WMST 450/550, PSYC 461/592: Gender Culture, & Health in The U.S. (Undergraduate & Graduate)



2008 B.S.  Psychology/Mathematics, University of Richmond
2010 M.A.  Psychology, George Mason University
2014 Ph.D. Psychology, George Mason University

Recent Presentations

Adams, L.M. (2018, May). Neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and former jail inmates’ HIV testing behavior. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Prevention Research, Washington, D.C.
Defayette, A.B., Adams, L.M., Whitmyre, E.D., Williams, C.A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2018, May). What characteristics of first suicide attempts predict subsequent suicidal behavior? Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA.
Whitmyre, E.D., Adams, L.M., Defayette, A.B., Williams, C.A., & Esposito-Smythers, C. (2018, May). Do high-risk adolescents receive the mental health services in the community that are appropriately targeted to their diagnoses? Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science, San Francisco, CA.
Adams, L.M., & Patel, K.V. (2018, February). Feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of a combined group-based behavioral health and exercise program for older adults with osteoarthritis. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association Division 22 (Rehabilitation Psychology), Dallas, TX.