Justine E. Owens, PhD

Justine E. Owens, PhD

Justine Owens
Justine E. Owens, PhD
Degree(s): PhD
Graduate School: PhD in Psychology, Stanford University;
Postdoctoral fellowship: Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Primary Appointment: Associate Professor of Research
Research Interests: The psychological and spiritual factors in health, particularly the psychological processes of self-regulation and healing in integrative medical care

Email Address: jeo8n@virginia.edu

Research Description

The general aim of my research is to investigate the healing power of consciousness and psychological factors in health and well-being. For example, mindfulness training and contemplative practices are powerful tools that promote balance, improve quality of life and alleviate suffering. In collaboration with John Dent, I investigated the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction classes (MBSR) for the treatment of palpitations, finding MBSR to be an effective therapy. We looked at the relationship of heart palpitations and heart rate variability (HRV) and our study suggests that physiological changes in HRV patterns are associated with mindful regulation of heart palpitations.

In a similar vein, I am currently looking at HRV patterns associated with contemplative states. I have conducted studies on the so-called “placebo response”, contributing to the effort of unpacking this complex array of psycho-physiological phenomena. My model of placebo responding combines an expectancy factor and an individual difference factor to account for “non-specific treatment effects”, in the context of placebo-controlled clinical trials. The same model can be used to account for heterogeneity of health care outcomes in general. Positive expectancy and self-regulation skills are a powerful combination in promoting health and well-being and integrative therapies embrace and support the self-healing states at the heart of placebo responding.

My study of chronic pain patients “living well with pain” illustrates the use of integrative therapies, gratitude, and spiritual practice in health and well-being. We found evidence for personal growth and wisdom associated with healing experiences in long-standing chronic conditions.


Selected Publications

Plews-Ogan M, Owens JE, May NB. Wisdom through adversity: Learning and growing in the wake of an error. Patient Educ Couns. 2013 May;91(2):236-42. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2012.12.006. Epub 2013 Feb 8. PubMed PMID: 23395005.

Owens JE, Menard M. The quantification of placebo effects within a generalmodel of health care outcomes. J Altern Complement Med. 2011 Sep;17(9):817-21.doi: 10.1089/acm.2010.0566. Epub 2011 Aug 17. PubMed PMID: 21848415; PubMedCentral PMCID: PMC3162378.

Wright PA, Innes KE, Alton J, Bovbjerg VE, Owens JE. A pilot study of qigongpractice and upper respiratory illness in elite swimmers. Am J Chin Med.2011;39(3):461-75. PubMed PMID: 21598415.

Plews-Ogan M, Owens JE, Goodman M, Wolfe P, Schorling J. A pilot study evaluating mindfulness- based stress reduction and massage for the management ofchronic pain. J Gen Intern Med. 2005 Dec;20(12):1136-8. PubMed PMID: 16423104;PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1490272.

Williams ME, Pulliam CC, Hunter R, Johnson TM, Owens JE, Kincaid J, Porter C, Koch G. The short- term effect of interdisciplinary medication review on function and cost in ambulatory elderly people. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2004 Jan;52(1):93-8.PubMed PMID: 14687321.

Williams ME, Owens JE, Parker BE Jr, Granata KP. A new approach to assessingfunction in elderly people. Trans Am Clin Climatol Assoc. 2003;114:203-16;discussion 216-7. PubMed PMID: 12813921; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2194506.

Owens JE, Taylor AG, Degood D. Complementary and alternative medicine andpsychologic factors: toward an individual differences model of complementary and alternative medicine use and outcomes. J Altern Complement Med. 1999Dec;5(6):529-41. PubMed PMID: 10630347.

Clayton AH, Owens JE, McGarvey EL. Assessment of paroxetine-induced sexualdysfunction using the Changes in Sexual Functioning Questionnaire.Psychopharmacol Bull. 1995;31(2):397-413. PubMed PMID: 7491398.

Owens JE, Cook EW, Stevenson I. Features of "near-death experience" inrelation to whether or not patients were near death. Lancet. 1990 Nov10;336(8724):1175-7. PubMed PMID: 1978037.


Contact Information

Office Address: PO Box 800901
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0901

Office Phone: 434-243-9272

Fax Phone: 434-243-9282