Austen R. Anderson

Assistant Professor of Psychology

The University of Southern Mississippi

About me

Lifestyle choices are the foundation of health and well-being - just ask the folks of Ikaria, Greece (and those in Okinawa, Sardinia, Nicoya, and Loma Linda). I am interested in using a lifestyle medicine perspective to examine how lifestyle behaviors (e.g. diet, exercise, time in nature, substance use, social interaction) impact mental health and can be integrated into psychological treatment. Unlike some aspects of our environments and our genes, lifestyle behaviors are modifiable. I think it is important to use both quantitative and theoretical research projects to help us understand lifestyle behaviors and lifestyle change. I also have other interest in friendships and the character strengths, following a virtue ethics framework. In sum, I’m interested in what it takes/means to live well for individuals, families, and communities.

I completed a PhD in Counseling Psychology at the University of Miami. I work as a researcher, teacher and clinician. In terms of research, I lead the Lifestyle, Environment, and Flourishing (LEAF) Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi. There we emphasize daily diary methods, where each participant in a study completes one survey a day for multiple days, along with other cross-sectional and longitudinal methods. I use R as my primary means of data analysis and it seems to be taking over my work life (in a good way! This site was made with the blogdown package). I have taught undergraduates in courses related to lifespan human development, statistics, and research skills. I have worked in many clinical settings, including traditional mental health facilities and medical clinics. My favorite approaches to treatment are primarily third-wave cognitive and behavioral, with ACT being the preferred modality. I am currently in the process of writing manuals for a self-help and provider-delivered behavioral intervention focused on increasing the quantity and quality of Veterans’ time spent in nature.


  • Lifestyle Behaviors (diet, exercise, time in nature) and psychological well-being
  • Friendship
  • Character Strengths & Virtue Ethics
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy


  • PhD in Counseling Psychology, 2019

    University of Miami

  • BS in Psychology, 2012

    Brigham Young University