Ashley Mason, PhD

Assistant Professor


Ashley Mason, PhD is an Assistant Professor who joined the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine as a T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Training in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM) program in the 2013, and became a member of Core Faculty in 2016. She also became an Assistant Professor in the UCSF Department of Psychiatry in 2016.

Her primary research interests focus on food-craving experiences, stress-induced eating, and reward-based eating. She is currently investigating the role of the endogenous opioid system in overeating behavior by using a biological probe to index tendencies to engage in reward-based eating. She is currently using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methodologies so as to develop targeted interventions that both increase awareness and understanding of food craving experiences, and de-couple the experience of craving from the action of indulging cravings.

She is also interested in better understanding the psychosocial needs of individuals who are caregivers for a loved one. These individuals are at increased risk for physical and psychological health problems and are a growing sector of the US population. In addition to exploratory work, she is also in developing highly disseminable, light-touch interventions that improve quality of life of these individuals.

She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona where she developed two lines of research with Dr. David Sbarra. In one line of work, she studied predictors and correlates of psychological adjustment and physical health following romantic relationship dissolutions (namely, divorce). In a second line of work, she studied interpersonal perceptions of psychological distress in the contexts of post-divorce recovery and social evaluative threat. She completed a Behavioral Medicine Clinical Internship at the VA Palo Alto Medical Health Care System.

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