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The theme for the Society for Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM) 40th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions is “Leading the Narrative.” This theme encourages researchers (1) to conduct high-quality scientific studies, (2) to communicate their findings to diverse audiences in a way that is easy to understand and impactful, and (3) to get involved in careers and activities that allow them to be decision leaders and influencers on topics relevant to their findings and expertise.

I will be giving two presentations in line with this year’s theme of conducting and communicating high-quality research. One presentation will be about my own research, which examines the adverse influence of advertisements on adolescents’ eating behavior.  The other will be a panel discussion that I will moderate on conducting high-quality, theoretically grounded research outside of academia. 

The Adverse Role of Advertisement Susceptibility on Unhealthy Food and Beverage Intake (Thursday, March 7, at 4:15 p.m.)

High consumption of calorically dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages during adolescence increases the risk for poor eating habits and obesity in adulthood. Research grounded in self-determination theory shows that autonomous motivation to avoid unhealthy foods and beverages is associated with improved diet quality.  However, advertisement susceptibility— trusting the messages conveyed in advertisements—has the potential to reduce the benefit of autonomous motivation or undermine its effect altogether. 

The presentation will use data from the Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating (FLASHE) study, a cross-sectional U.S. national study funded by the National Cancer Institute to show the adverse effects of advertisements and advertisement susceptibility on adolescents’ food and beverage intake and to discuss strategies to overcome these adverse effects.

Leading the Narrative: Opportunities and Challenges to Conducting Theoretically Grounded Research Outside Academia (Thursday, March 7, at 1:00 p.m.)

Representing Fors Marsh Group, I and fellow panelists Janine Beekman (Ipsos), Kathleen Yu (FDA), and Nnamdi Ezeanochie (Johnson & Johnson) will discuss (1) the challenges and benefits that we often face conducting high-quality, theoretically grounded research outside of academia, (2) how we overcome these challenges, and (3) each of our unique paths to finding organizations that value behavioral theory and high-quality research. 

This panel discussion is relevant to anyone interested in a career outside of academia or interested in partnering with organizations and researchers that value high-quality research.

About the author

Miriam Eisenberg Colman

Miriam Eisenberg Colman

Dr. Miriam Eisenberg Colman joined Fors Marsh Group in October 2017 as a senior scientist in the Communication Research division. Currently, she works primarily on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Childhood Obesity Focus Groups study and the FDA’s Healthy Claims experimental study.

Before joining FMG, Dr. Eisenberg Colman received her Ph.D. in Applied Social Psychology from The George Washington University and worked for three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In her more than 10 years of research experience, Dr. Eisenberg Colman developed expertise in experimental, survey, and qualitative methods as well as complex statistical analyses using large-scale, nationally representative data sets. Dr. Eisenberg Colman has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, spanning topics such as diet quality, physical activity, obesity, sleep, child and maternal health, diabetes management, unhealthy weight control behaviors, substance use, and mobile and digital health.

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