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Katie (Becofsky) Potter

Assistant Professor

I am interested in the two major aspects of exercise psychology: 1) getting people to adopt and maintain active lifestyles, and 2) studying the mental health and cognitive benefits of exercise and physical activity.  

Since most people do not like to exercise or find it difficult to fit into their busy lives, my research involves promoting activities that people enjoy and/or deeply value and that get them moving as a ‘side-effect’. I am also very interested in the mental, social, and physical health benefits of the human-animal bond, and specifically studying the effects of pairing people with companion dogs.  

I’m interested in working with any and all populations, but particularly those with the most to gain in terms of preserving/improving cognitive function, reducing symptoms of anxiety or depression, and reducing feelings of social isolation or loneliness. 

Academic Background

  • BA, SUNY New Paltz
  • MS, UNC Greensboro
  • PhD, University of South Carolina
  • Post Doc, The Miriam Hospital/Brown Medical School
Becofsky, K., Wing, E., Wing, R., Richards, K., & Gillani, F. (2016). Obesity prevalence and related risk of co-morbidities among HIV+ patients attending a New England ambulatory center. Obesity Science & Practice.
Becofsky, K., Sui, X., Lee, D.C., Zhang, X., Wilcox, S. & Blair, S.N. (2015). A prospective study of fitness, fatness and depressive symptoms. American Journal of Epidemiology, 181(5):311-20.
Becofsky, K., Shook, R., Sui, X., Wilcox, S., Lavie, C. & Blair, S. (2015). The influence of source of social support and size of social network on all-cause mortality. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 90(7):895-902.
Friedman, D.B., Becofsky, K., Anderson, L.A., Bryant, L.L., Hunter, R.H., Ivey, S.L., Belza, B., Logsdon, R.G., Brannon, S., Vandenberg, A.E., & Lin, S.Y. (2015). Public perceptions about risk and protective factors for cognitive health and impairment: A review of the literature. International Psychogeriatrics, 27(8):1263-1275.
Becofsky, K., Baruth, M., & Wilcox, S. (2014). Psychosocial mediators of two community-based physical activity programs. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 48(1):125-29.
Contact Info

3 Totman Building
30 Eastman Lane
Amherst, MA 01003-9292

Office: (413) 545-6058
Email: kbecofsky@umass.edu
Web: https://www.umassbmedlab.com/