April Smith

April SmithAssistant Professor

Contact Information:
Phone: (513) 529-3751
116 Psychology Building
Miami University
Oxford, OH 45056

Teaching Interests:

I find that encouraging students to act like scientists by conducting their own experiments and thinking scientifically stimulates learning and cements understanding. It is my hope that my students will retain this scientific way of thinking and evaluating information even after they have graduated. I emphasize practical, everyday applications of the material I cover, and I encourage my students to use psychological research to better understand themselves and the world around them. I teach abnormal psychology and seminars at the graduate and undergraduate level on eating disorders.

Research Interests:

My research program focuses on biological and psychological risk factors that contribute to disordered eating and suicidal behavior.  Additionally, my research examines the high rates of suicidality and self-injury among individuals with disordered eating. I am specifically interested in examining some of the following constructs as they relate to suicidality and disordered eating: belongingness, burdensomeness, cognitive flexibility, interoceptive awareness, and acquired capability for suicide. For instance, acquired capability for suicide is comprised of pain tolerance and fearlessness about death and is acquired over time through repeated experience with painful events. I have found support for the hypothesis that people with eating disorders possess high levels of acquired capability for suicide due to their experiences with painful weight control methods, like over-exercise and restriction. I am also interested in examining how eating disorder behaviors contribute to suicidal desire.

Professional Recognition:

  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Fellowship, National Institute of Mental Health
  • Academy for Eating Disorders (AED) Early Career Investigator Fellowship
  • Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Scholar Award
  • Florida State University Presidential Fellowship
  • Golden Key Outstanding Graduate Student Award

Representative Publications:

* indicates Miami graduate student coauthor

** indicates Miami undergraduate coauthor

*Velkoff, E. A., *Dodd, D. R., *Forrest, L. N., & Smith, A. R. (in press). “I can stomach that!": Disgust sensitivity and acquired capability for suicide. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior.

*Forrest, L. N., Smith, A. R., & **White, R., & Joiner, T. E. (2015). (Dis)connected: An  examination of interoception in individuals with suicidality. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124, 754-763.

Smith, A. R., Miller, S., Ribeiro, J. D., Bodell, L., Joiner, T. E., & Maner, J. (2015). Cycles of risk: Associations between hormones and suicidal desire among women. Personality and Individual Differences, 74, 35-40.

*Dodd, D. R., Smith, A. R., & Bodell, L. P. (2014). Restraint feeds stress: The relationship between eating disorder symptoms, stress generation, and the interpersonal theory of suicide. Eating Behaviors, 15, 567-573.

Smith, A. R., Joiner, T. E., & *Dodd, D. (2014). Examining implicit attitudes toward emaciation and thinness in anorexia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 47, 138-147.

Smith, A. R., Hames, J., & Joiner, T. E. (2013). Status update: Maladaptive Facebook usage predicts increases in body dissatisfaction and bulimic symptoms. Journal of Affective Disorders, 149, 235-240.

Smith, A.R., Fink, E. L., Anestis, M. D., Ribeiro, J., Gordon, K. H., Davis, H., Keel, P. K., Bardone-Cone, A. M., Peterson, C. M., Klein, M. H., Crow, S., Mitchell, J. E., Crosby, R. D., Wonderlich, S. A., le Grange, D., & Joiner, T. E. (2013). Exercise caution: Over-exercise is associated with suicidality in bulimia nervosa. Psychiatry Research, 26, 246-255.