University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Current PhD Students

Raymond Hernandez

Faculty Mentor: Beth Pyatak PhD, OTR/L, CDCES, FAOTA

Research Lab: Lifestyle Redesign for Chronic Conditions (LRCC)

Year of Entry: 2017

Raymond Hernandez

Research Interests

My research interest lies in investigating the relationship between stress, activity patterns, and health/well-being outcomes. The psychological definition of stress is the perception that environmental demands exceed one’s ability to cope, accompanied by a negative emotional response. The endocrinological conceptualization of stress does not describe it as a negative emotional state, but just as a perception of demands resulting in an increase in alertness to deal with them. Researchers have theorized that it is not just the unpleasant psychologically stressful events of life like losing a job that can take their toll on health and well-being, but also excessive exposure to more ordinary endocrinologically stressful events like daily work, school, and caregiving tasks. Excessive endocrinological stress has been theorized to lead to greater allostatic load, or wear and tear on the body, that has been associated with poorer executive functioning (manifesting as decreased self-regulation), greater likelihood of long-term health issues such as cardiovascular disease, and greater incidence of mood disorders such as depression.

Questions I am interested in addressing include: “What activities result in endocrinological stress and which promote recovery from it?” and “How can endocrinological stress be assessed through self-report and/or wearable technology?” To help in answering them, for my dissertation I will assist in the collection and analysis of data for an R01 study, Function and Emotion in Everyday Life with Type 1 Diabetes (FEEL-T1D). In the FEEL project, 200 adults with t1d are asked to complete 14 days of intensive longitudinal data collection, including continuous blood glucose monitoring (CGM) and electronic momentary assessment (EMA) surveys administered through smartphones. The focus of my dissertation analysis will be on investigating the relationship between a theorized proxy measure of endocrinological stress (task load), activity engagement, daily well-being variables, and daily blood glucose.

Education

Master of Science (MS) in Occupational Therapy
2015 | California State University, Dominguez Hills

Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychobiology
2012 | University of California, Los Angeles

Publications

Journal Articles

Hernandez, R., Vidmar, A., & Pyatak, E. A. (2020). Lifestyle balance, restful and strenuous occupations, and physiological activation. Journal of Occupational Science. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2020.1732229 Show abstract

Conference Presentations/Proceedings

Hernandez, R. (2019, November). Activity focused view of stress, recovery, and allostatic load. Paper presented at the Work, Stress, and Health Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Hernandez, R. (2018, October). Allostatic load as physiological indicator of occupational imbalance. Paper presented at the Society for the Study of Occupation, Lexington, KY.

Pyatak, E., Hernandez, R., Díaz, J., Carandang, K., Blanchard, J., & Vigen, C. (2018, April). Habit formation in an occupational therapy self-management intervention: The Resilient, Empowered, Active Living (REAL Diabetes) study. Paper presented at the meeting of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, New Orleans, LA.