Jean L. Kristeller, PhD, received her B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1974, her masters degree in clinical and human psychophysiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1978, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with an emphasis in clinical health psychology from Yale University in 1983. She completed post-doctoral training in eating disorders at McClean Hospital and in Behavioral Medicine and Epidemiology at the Univ. of Massachusetts Medical School. Prior to coming to ISU, she was a member of the staff and faculty in the behavioral medicine services at Cambridge Hospital (Harvard Medical School, Dept. of Psychiatry) and the University of Massachusetts Medical Center (Worcester, MA).
Dr. Kristeller is interested in the effects of psychological variables on physical health and illness, which has informed much of her research. It has included work with compulsive eating and obesity, smoking, the role of the physician in facilitating health behavior change, anxiety disorders and the use of meditation as a way to promote selfregulatory processes.
Current research includes several studies investigating the role of spirituality in adjustment to serious medical illness. A recently completed randomized intervention study documented benefits of a very brief physiciandelivered spirituality intervention offered to cancer patients on quality of life, emotional well-being, and satisfaction with care.
Her current work in the meditation area examines ways to integrate meditative techniques into more comprehensive therapy or support programs in both the cancer area and in binge eating disorder (BED). A recent exploratory study (Kristeller & Hallett, 1999) demonstrated the benefits of a seven session problem-focused meditation program in treatment of BED. Further research is currently under development in this area.
She began developing the Mindfulness- Based Eating Awareness Training program over 15 years ago, drawing on her work with Jon Kabat-Zinn's Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program and on her research and clinical training in food intake regulation and eating disorders. She has recently completed an NIH-funded clinical trial, run collaboratively with the Duke University Center for Integrative Medicine, that confirmed those results. She has just received $1.8 million funding to continue this research from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine "Mindfulness Meditation: Regulating Eating and Obesity" (U01 AT002550-01), again with Duke University and with the University of Pennsylvania. This study will examine the effects of the MB-EAT program expanded to focus on treating obesity in addition to binge eating.