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College of Nursing

Faculty and Staff

Allison Sweeney, PhD

Title: Assistant Professor
College of Nursing
Phone: 803-576-7891

College of Nursing
University of South Carolina
1601 Greene Street, Room 304B
Columbia, SC 29208-4001 
United States 



Dr. Sweeney received her Psychology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR in 2010. She received her PhD in Social and Health Psychology from Stony Brook University in 2016, with a focus on health-related motivation and mechanisms of health behavior change. After receiving her doctorate, Dr. Sweeney received additional training in community-based interventions and health promotion as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of South Carolina in the Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on developing community-based interventions for engaging underserved communities in long-term health behavior change that will promote positive changes in physical, mental, and social well-being. Her approach to developing community-based interventions for underserved communities focuses on the role of the social environment and is guided by the use of community-based participatory strategies, a bioecological framework, and social-cognitive theories of health behavior change.                                   


Dr. Sweeney has taught courses in research methodology, statistics, stress and coping, and health psychology.  


Dr. Sweeney’s specific research interests include:

  • Community-based health promotion intervention development
  • Social environmental supports for health behavior change
  • Mechanisms of health behavior change (social, cognitive, environmental)
  • Motivation (individual differences and tailoring approaches)


Dr. Sweeney has presented her research at several national conferences, including the Society for Behavioral Medicine, American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. She has also mentored several undergraduate students who have disseminated their research through U of SC’s Discovery Day and the Caravel undergraduate research journal.

Professional Service

Dr. Sweeney has served as a peer reviewer for multiple journals including:

  • Annals of Behavioral Medicine
  • Health Psychology
  • Health and Place
  • Psychology of Sport and Exercise
  • Western Journal of Nursing Research

Dr. Sweeney is a member of professional organizations including:

  •  Society for Behavioral Medicine
  • American Psychological Association 

Research Studies (Selected)

University of South Carolina ASPIRE II-Multidisciplinary Research. Positive Action for Today’s Health (PATH) USA. Co-Principal Investigator. 2021-2022.

NIH F32 HL138928-01A. The Developing Real Incentives and Volition for Exercise Project. 2018-2020. Principal Investigator.

Developing Brief Motivational Interventions to Enhance Engagement in Physical Activity among Inactive African Americans. University of South Carolina ASPIRE II-B. 2017-2019. Principal Investigator.

Families Improving Together for Weight Loss. 2016-2018. Postdoctoral Fellow

Publications (selected)

Sweeney, A.M., Wilson, D.K., Brown, A., Quattlebaum, M., Loncar, H., Gorman, B. (In Press) Evaluating experiences of stress among African American women during the COVID-19 pandemic to inform future interventions. Health Education and Behavior.

Sweeney, A.M., Pate, R., Wilson, D.K., Van Horn, M.L., McIver, K. & Dowda, M. (2021). The Role of Parental Support for Youth Physical Activity Transportation and Community-Level Poverty in the Healthy Communities Study. Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Advance Online Publication. doi: 10.1007/s10865-021-00213-1

Wilson, D. K., Sweeney, A. M., Quattlebaum, M., Loncar, H., Kipp, C., & Brown, A. (2021). The Moderating Effects of the Families Improving Together (FIT) for Weight Loss Intervention and Parenting Factors on Family Mealtime in Overweight and Obese African American Adolescents. Nutrients, 13(6), 1745.

Brown, A., Wilson, D.K., Sweeney, A.M., & Van Horn, M.L. (2020). The Moderating Effect of Social Support on Physical Activity in African American Women. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. Advance Online Publication. 

Sweeney, A.M., Wilson, D.K., Zarrett, N., Van Horn, M.L., Resnicow, K. (2020). The Feasibility and Acceptability of the Developing Real Incentives and Volition for Exercise (DRIVE) Program: A Pilot Study for Promoting Physical Activity in African American Women. Health Promotion and Practice. Advance Online Publication. 

Sweeney, A.M., Wilson, D.K., & Brown, A. (2019). Qualitative Study to Examine How Differences in Motivation Can Inform the Development of Targeted Physical Activity Intervention Programs. Evaluation and Program Planning, 77, 101718. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2019.101718. 

Sweeney, A.M., Wilson, D.K., Loncar, H., & Brown, A. (2019) Secondary Benefits of Families Improving Together (FIT) for Weight Loss Trial on Cognitive and Social Factors in African American Adolescents. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 16, 47. doi: 10.1186/s12966-019-0806-5.  

Wilson, D.K., Lorig, K.L., Klein, W.P., Riley, W., Sweeney, A.M., & Christensen, A. (2019). Efficacy and Cost-Effectiveness of Behavioral Interventions in Non-Clinical Settings for Improving Health Outcomes. Health Psychology, 38, 689-700. doi: 10.1037/hea0000773. 

Abshire, D., Wilson, D.K., Sweeney, A.M., & Pinto B. (2019). Correlates of Moderate-to-Vigorous Physical Activity in Underserved African American Men. American Journal of Men’s Health, 13, 1-11. doi: 10.1177/1557988319855155. 

Wilson, D.K., Sweeney, A.M., Huffman, L., Kitzman-Ulrich, H., & Resnicow, K. (2018). Web-Based Engagement and Retention in the Families Improving Together for Weight Loss Trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 54, 399-404. doi: 10.1093/abm/kay047. 

Sweeney, A.M. & Freitas, A.L. (2017). Construing Action Abstractly and Experiencing Autonomy: Implications for Physical Activity and Diet. Motivation and Emotion, 42, 161-177. doi: 10.1007/s11031-017-9645-3.  

Sweeney, A.M., Wilson, D.K., & Van Horn, M.L. (2017). Longitudinal Relationships between Self-Concept for Physical Activity and Neighborhood Social Life as Predictors of   Physical Activity among Older African American Adults. International Journal of    Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14, 67. doi: 10.1186/s12966-017-0523-x. 

Sweeney, A.M., & Culcea, I. (2017). Does a future-oriented temporal perspective relate to body mass index, eating, and exercise? A meta-analysis. Appetite, 112, 272-285. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.02.006. 

Wilson, D.K., Sweeney, A.M., Kitzman-Ulrich, H, Gause, H., St. George, S.M. (2017). Promoting Social Nurturance and Positive Social Environments to Reduce Obesity in High-Risk Youth. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 20, 64-77. doi: 10.1007/s10567-017-0230-9. 

Sweeney, A.M. & Moyer, A. (2015). Self-Affirmation and Responses to Health Messages: A Meta-Analysis on Intentions and Behavior. Health Psychology, 34, 149-159. doi: 10.1037/hea0000110. 

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