The Healthy Living and Learning (H2L) lab at UMD examines the intersection of psychology with health and learning.  Our research employs a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, including delivery of interventions to encourage healthy living or deeper learning, meta-analytic systematic reviews of existing research, and longitudinal and cross-sectional survey based research designsA primary emphasis within the lab is placed upon how self-regulation affects mental and physical health among a variety of populations (e.g., emerging adults/college students, adults, athletes).  In particular, we examine how various psychological needs (competence, relatedness, autonomy) and motives for the health behaviors (e.g., eating and physical activity) are associated with well-being, quality of life, and weight management.  A corollary of this work has been to study motivational processes or attentional focus during exercise and sports.  More recently, we have begun to also investigate how pedagogical strategies, self-regulation and metacognition, as well as misconceptions (e.g., psychological myths) may influence student learning.

A goal of the H2L lab is to give students opportunities to become actively involved in the research, from the development of research questions or data collection and analyses to conference presentations or writing of manuscripts, with the aim of training students to become engaged critical thinkers and future scholars. Past members of the lab have gone on to doctorate programs in psychology, graduate training in public health, and mental health providers (seeking LPCC).  Opportunities exist for both undergraduate and graduate students who have interests in clinical-counseling, health, or sport psychology. If you are interested in joining the H2L lab, please complete the Google Form below and contact Drs. Lara ( or Rick LaCaille (

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H2L Lab News & Highlights

Application for Research 

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