Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Ephrem Fernandez, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: (210) 458-5755
Office: MH 4.01.44
Office hours: W 1:00-3:00

Research area: Psychosomatics; Pain and Suffering; Emotions; Assessment and Regulation of anger


Additional Information
  • Biography

    I have two main areas of scholarly interest. The first is medical psychology or what is often called health psychology. The second is the science of affect.

    Within medical psychology, my publications have focused on pain, a universal phenomenon, now regarded by some clinicians as a fifth vital sign, and always a challenge for scholars of the mind. One path of enquiry I have pursued is the language of pain and the clues it holds for underlying pathophysiology and diagnoses of pain syndromes; Funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, this research has led to the validation of a new Pain Descriptor System, aspects of which have been published in The Journal of Pain.

    Both in research and teaching, I view a variety of medical ailments as influenced by basic principles of psychosomatics. These go well beyond mere conjunction of psyche and soma to what I call "dynamic interactions" between physical symptoms and affective phenomena such as anxiety, depression, and anger. In the treatment of such conditions, I espouse the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques within a broader interdisciplinary framework for health promotion and disease prevention.

    Within the area of affect science, I have proposed a construct called the core of negative affect that encompasses anxiety, depression, and anger. The third element in this triad has been under-researched and is now a primary focus of my attention. Most of my publications on this topic have tackled the problem of maladaptive anger. My recent work in this area focuses on integrative psychotherapy for dysfunctional anger and the assessment of multiple dimensions of anger apparent in clinical cases as well as in everyday life. A cognitive-motivational model is fundamental to the assessment and regulation of anger, though experiential techniques can also be incorporated as in my book “Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations: Theory, Application and Outcome” (Oxford University Press). This offers a heuristic for the study and treatment of other emotional disorders too.

    These pursuits address important problems and prospects for improvement in the human condition. They won't bring us immortality or nirvana but they are likely to make us healthier and happier.


    • Internship, Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical School
    • Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Ohio State University
    • M.A. in Experimental Psychology, Miami University
    • B.A. (Honors), University of Western Australia 
  • Recent Courses

    University of Texas at San Antonio (2006-Present)

    • 2513 Abnormal Psychology
    • 3543  Introduction to Clinical Psychology
    • 4253  Psychology of Health
    • 5113  Professional Ethics & Standards (MS level)
    • 5313 Seminar in Psychopathology (MS level)
    • 5363 Seminar in Health Psychology (MS level)

    University of California, Berkeley (Summer 2016):

    • N139 (Case Studies in Clinical Psychology)
    • N135 (Treatment of Mental Illness)

    Southern Methodist University (1993-2006)

    • 3380 Health Psychology
    • 5356 Introduction to Clinical Psychology (MS level)
    • 5362/5387 Emotions: Psychological & Interdisciplinary Perspectives (MS level)
    • 5383 Behavorial Medicine Techniques (MS level)
    • 6360 Ethics in Psychological Science & Practice (MS level)
    • SOSC 6322/BHSC 6322 Mind Body & Health (MS level)

    University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2002-2005)

    • 5356 Adult Psychopathology (PhD level)
    • Health Psychology (Guest lectures)

    Teaching Evaluations

  • Research in Progress

    • Interaction between physical symptoms and affective qualities (anxiety, depression, anger)
    • Cross-linguistic clues to pain diagnoses
    • Psychometric assessment of anger experience and expression
    • Integrative psychotherapy for maladaptive anger


    Fernandez Laboratory


  • Recent Publications

    Select Articles/Chapters

    • Fernandez, E., Woldgabreal, Y., Guharajan, D., Day, A., Ramtahal, N., & Kiageri, V. (in press). Social Desirability Bias against admitting anger: Bias in the test-taker or bias in the test? Journal of Personality Assessment.
    • Day, A., & Fernandez, E. (in press). The importance of understanding anger in the clinical assessment of violence. In J.S. Wormith, L.A. Craig & T. Hogue (Eds.). What works in violence risk management: Theory, research and practice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.
    • Fernandez, E., Malvaso, C., Day, A., & Guharajan, D. 21st century Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for anger: A systematic review of research design, methodology, and outcome. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.
    • Fernandez, E., Kiageri, V., Guharajan, D., & Day, A. (2017). Anger parameters in parolees undergoing psychoeducation: Temporal stability, social desirability bias and comparison with non-offenders. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. doi:
    • Fernandez, E., & Johnson, S.L. (2016). Anger in psychological disorders: Prevalence, presentation, etiology, and prognostic implications. Clinical Psychology Review, 46, 124-135.
    • Fernandez, E., & Kerns, R.D. (2016). New prospects for alleviation of anger in the context of chronic pain. Z. Bajwa, C. Warfield, & J. Wootton (Eds.). Principles and Practice of Pain Medicine, 3rd Edition. (pp.210-215). New York: McGraw-Hill.
    • Fernandez, E., & Smith, T.W. (2015).  Anger, hostility, and cardiovascular disease in the context of interpersonal relationships.  In M. Alvarenga & D.G. Byrne (Eds.).  Handbook of Psychocardiology.  DOI: 10.1007/978-981-4560-53-5_31-1.  Springer Sciences: Singapore.
    • Fernandez, E., Salem, D., Swift, J., & Ramtahal, N. (2015). Meta-analysis of Dropout from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Magnitude, Timing, and Moderators. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 1108-1122.
    • Newton, D., Day, A., Gillies, C. & Fernandez, E.  (2015).  Evidence-based evaluation of measures for assessing social and emotional wellbeing in Indigenous Australians.  Australian Psychologist, 50, 40-50.
    • Fernandez, E., Day, A., & Boyle, G.J. (2015).  Measures of anger and hostility in adults.  In G.J. Boyle, D. Saklofske & G. Matthews (Eds.).  Measures of Personality and Social Psychological Constructs (pp.74-100).  London: Academic Press.
    • Fernandez, E., Arevalo, I., Torralba, A., & Vargas, R. (2014).  Norms for five parameters of anger: How do incarcerated adults differ from the community?  International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 13, 18-24.
    • Fernandez, E. (2013).  Anger dysfunction and its treatment.  In E. Fernandez, (Ed.)   Treatments for anger in specific populations: Theory, application, and outcome (pp.1-14).  New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Fernandez, E. & Malley-Morrison, K. (2013).  Gender-inclusive and gender-informed treatment of anger.  In E. Fernandez, (Ed.).  Treatments for anger in specific populations: Theory, application, and outcome (pp.213-235).  New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Fernandez, E. (2013). Treatment of anger in different populations: Common and unique factors.  In E. Fernandez, (Ed.).  Treatments for anger in specific populations: Theory, application, and outcome (pp.255-265).  New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Fernandez, E. & Kerns, R.D. (2012).  Pain and affective disorders: Looking beyond the “chicken and egg” conundrum.  In M.A. Giamberardino & T. Jensen (Eds.).  Pain Comorbidities: Understanding and Treating the Complex Patient (pp.279-296).  Seattle: International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Press.
    • Fernandez, E. (2012).  Defining pain: Natural Semantic Metalanguage meets IASP: A Commentary on Wierzbicka’s “Is Pain a Human Universal?: A Cross-Linguistic and Cross-Cultural Perspective on Pain”.  Emotion Review, 4, 320-321.
    • Fernandez, E., Vargas, R., Mahometa, M., Ramamurthy, S. & Boyle, G.J.  (2012).  Descriptors of Pain Sensation: A Dual Hierarchical Model of Latent Structure.  The Journal of Pain, 13, 532-536.
    • Fernandez, E., Krusz, J.C., & Hall, S. (2011).  Parsimonious collection of pain descriptors: Classification and calibration by pain patients.  The Journal of Pain, 12, 444-450.
    • Fernandez, E. & Wasan, A. (2010). The anger of pain sufferers: Attributions to agents and appraisals of wrongdoing.  In M. Potegal, G. Stemmler, & C. Spielberger (Eds.). The International Handbook of Anger: Constituent and Concomitant Biological, Psychological, and Social Processes (pp. 449-464).  New York: Springer.
    • Fernandez, E. (2010).  Toward an integrative psychotherapy for maladaptive anger.  In M. Potegal, G. Stemmler, & C. Spielberger (Eds.).  The International Handbook of Anger: Constituent and Concomitant Biological, Psychological, and Social Processes (pp.499-514).  New York: Springer.
    • Fernandez, E., & Scott, S.  (2009).  Anger treatment in chemically-dependent inpatients: Evaluation of phase effects and gender.  Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 37, 431-447.
    • Fernandez, E. & Kerns, R.D. (2008). Anxiety, depression, and anger: The core of negative affect in medical populations.  In G. J Boyle, G. Matthews & D. Saklofske (Eds.).  International Handbook of Personality Theory and Testing: Vol. 1: Personality Theories and Models (pp. 659-676).  London: Sage Publications.
    • Fernandez, E. (2008). The angry personality: A representation on six dimensions of anger expression.  In G. J Boyle, G. Matthews & D. Saklofske (Eds.).  International Handbook of Personality Theory and Testing: Vol. 2: Personality Measurement and Assessment (pp.402-419). London: Sage Publications.
    • Wasan, A., Fernandez, E., Jamison, R.N., & Bhattacharya, N. (2007). Association of anxiety and depression with reported disease severity in patients undergoing evaluation for chronic rhinosinusitis. Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, 116, 491-497.
    • Fernandez, E. (2005). The relationship between anger and pain. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 9, 101-105.
    • Boyle, G.J., Fernandez, E., & Ortet, G. (2003). El cuestionario de dolor de McGill (McGill Pain Questionnaire--MPQ): consideraciones lingüísticas y estadísticas. Revista de Psicologia de la Universidad de Chile12, 111-119.
    • Fernandez, E. (2003).  Anger regulation in adolescence.  In T. Gullotta & M. Bloom (Eds.)  Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion (pp. 195-199).  New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
    • Fernandez, E. (2003).  Anger regulation in childhood.  In T. Gullotta & M. Bloom (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion (pp.190-195).  New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
    • Boyle, G.J., Goldman, R., Svoboda, J.S., & Fernandez, E. (2002).  Male circumcision: Pain, trauma, and psychosexual sequelae.  Journal of Health Psychology, 7, 329-343. [Reprinted in G.J. Boyle & D.H. Saklofske (2003) Psychology of Individual Differences. London: Sage Publications]
    • Cipher, D.J., Fernandez, E., & Clifford, P.A.  (2002).  Coping style influences compliance with multidisciplinary pain management.  Journal of Health Psychology, 7, 665-673.
    • Fernandez, E., & Boyle, G.J. (2002).  Affective and evaluative descriptors of pain in the McGill Pain Questionnaire: Reduction and reorganization.  The Journal of Pain, 3, 70-77. [Reprinted in G.J. Boyle & D.H. Saklofske (2003) Psychology of Individual Differences. London: Sage Publications]
    • Cipher, D.J., Fernandez, E., & Clifford, P.A.  (2001).  Cost effectiveness and health care utilization in a multidisciplinary pain center: Comparison of three treatment groups.  Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 8, 237-244.
    • Fernandez, E., & Beck, R. (2001).  Cognitive-behavioral self-intervention versus self- monitoring of anger: Effects on anger frequency, duration, and intensity.  Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 29, 345-356.
    • Fernandez, E., Clark, T.S., & Rudick-Davis, D. (1999).  A framework for conceptualization and assessment of affective disturbance in pain.  In A.R. Block, E.F. Kremer, & E. Fernandez (Eds.), Handbook of Pain Syndromes: Biopsychosocial perspectives (pp. 123-147).  Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
    • Beck, R., & Fernandez, E.  (1998).  Cognitive-behavioral self-regulation of the frequency, duration, and intensity of anger.  Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 20, 217-229.
    • Beck, R., & Fernandez, E.  (1998).  Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in the treatment of anger: A meta-analysis.  Cognitive Therapy and Research, 22, 63-74 [Also abstracted in Evidence-Based Mental Health, 1998, Vol. 1, No. 4, p.105].
    • Fernandez, E. (1998).  The role of affect in somatoform and factitious disorders.  Current Review of Pain, 2, 109-114.
    • Skiffington, S., Fernandez, E., & McFarland, K.A.  (1998). Towards the validation of  multiple features in the assessment of emotions.  European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 14, 202-210.
    • Cipher, D.J., & Fernandez, E.  (1997).  Expectancy variables predicting the tolerance and avoidance of pain in chronic pain patients.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 35, 437-444.
    • Turk, D.C., & Fernandez, E.  (1997).  Cognitive-behavioral management strategies for pain and suffering.  Current Review of Pain, 1, 99-106 [Also abstracted in Current Pain and Headache Reports, Vol. 1, No.2]
    • Fernandez, E., & Boyle, G.J. (1996). Meta-analytic procedure and interpretation of treatment outcome and test validity for the practitioner psychologist. In M. Smith & V. Sutherland. International Review of Professional Issues in Selection and Assessment (pp. 109-125). Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons.
    • Fernandez, E., & Sheffield, J.  (1996).  Relative contributions of life events versus daily hassles to the frequency and intensity of headaches.  Headache, 36, 595-602.
    • Fernandez, E., & Sheffield, J.  (1996).  Descriptive features and causal attributions of headache in an Australian community sample.  Headache, 36, 246-250.
    • Fernandez, E., & Towery, S.  (1996).  A parsimonious set of verbal descriptors of pain sensation derived from the McGill Pain Questionnaire.  Pain, 66, 31-37.
    • Towery, S., & Fernandez, E.  (1996).  Reclassification and rescaling of McGill Pain Questionnaire verbal descriptors of pain sensation: A replication.  The Clinical Journal of Pain, 12, 270-276.
    • Fernandez, E., & McDowell, J.J.  (1995).  Response-reinforcement relationships in chronic pain syndrome: Applicability of Herrnstein's hyperbola.  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 33, 855-863.
    • Fernandez, E., & Sheffield, J.  (1995).  Psychosocial stressors predicting headache occurrence: The major role of minor hassles.  Invited paper.  Headache Quarterly: Current Treatment and Research, 6, 215-220.
    • Fernandez, E., & Turk, D.C.  (1995).  The scope and significance of anger in the experience of chronic pain, Pain, 61, 165-175.
    • Turk, D.C., & Fernandez, E.  (1995).  Personality assessment and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory in chronic pain.  The Pain Forum, 4, 104-107.
    • Fernandez, E., & Milburn, T.E.  (1994).  Sensory and affective predictors of overall pain, and emotions associated with affective pain, The Clinical Journal of Pain, 10, 3-9.  [Also published as abstract in Multidisciplinary Pain Abstracts, 1994, 4, issue 4, p.325].
    • Fernandez, E., & Turk, D.C. (1994).  Demand characteristics underlying differential ratings of sensory versus affective components of pain, Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 17, 375-390.
    • Fernandez, E., & Turk, D.C. (1993).  Anger in chronic pain patients: A neglected target of attention.  American Pain Society Bulletin, 3 (4), 5-7.
    • Fernandez, E., Semple, C., Lakshminarasimhan, V., & McDowell, J.J. (1992).  A "C" program to fit Herrnstein's hyperbola using Wilkinson's method.  Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 24, 581.
    • Fernandez, E., & Turk, D. C. (1992).  Sensory and affective components of pain: Separation and synthesis.  Psychological Bulletin, 112, 205-217. [Reprinted in G.J. Boyle & D.H. Saklofske (2003) Psychology of Individual Differences. London: Sage Publications]
    • Fernandez, E., Nygren, T. E., & Thorn, B. E.  (1991).  An open-transformed scale for correcting ceiling effects and enhancing retest reliability: The example of pain.  Perception and Psychophysics, 49, 572-578.
    • Turk, D. C. & Fernandez, E.  (1991).  Pain and cancer: A cognitive-behavioral perspective.  In M. Watson (Ed.), Cancer patient care: Psychosocial treatment methods (pp. 15-44).  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • Fernandez, E.  (1990).  Artifact in pain ratings, its implications for test-retest reliability, and correction by a new scaling procedure.  Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 12, 1-15.
    • Turk, D. C. & Fernandez, E.  (1990).  On the putative uniqueness of cancer pain: Do psychological principles apply?  Behaviour Research and Therapy, 28, 1-13. [Also published as abstract in Psychiatry/Neurology Digest, 1992, and reprinted in S. Rachman (Ed.) (1997) Best of behaviour research and therapy (pp.157-169). New York: Pergamon/Elsevier Science Inc.].
    • Fernandez, E., & Turk, D. C.  (1989).  The utility of cognitive coping strategies for altering pain perception: A meta-analysis.  Pain, 38, 123-135. [Also published as abstract in Behavioral Medicine Abstracts]
    • Fernandez, E.  (1986).  A classification system of cognitive coping strategies for pain.  Pain, 26, 141-151.


    • Day, A & Fernandez, E. (2015).  Preventing Violence in Australia: Policy, Practice, and Solutions.  Leichhardt, NSW, Australia: The Federation Press. [Reviewed in Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 2015, 291-292.]
    • Fernandez, E.  (Ed.) (2013).  Treatments for Anger in Specific Populations: Theory, Application, and Outcome.  New York: Oxford University Press. [Reviewed in PsycCritiques, 2014, 59(19) doi:; The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2014;75(11):e1331 doi:10.4088/JCP.14bk09223.]
    • Fernandez, E.  (2002).  Anxiety, Depression, and Anger in Pain: Research Findings and Clinical Options. Dallas, TX: Advanced Psychological Resources, Inc.  [Reviewed in American Pain Society Bulletin, 2003, July/August p.15; Journal of Health Psychology, 2003, 8 (4), 477-478; Clinical Journal of Pain, 2005, 21, 458-459]
    • Block, A.R., Kremer, E.F., & Fernandez, E. (Eds.), (1999).  Handbook of Pain Syndromes: Biopsychosocial Perspectives.  Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Visiting Faculty Appointments

    • Fall 2016: Visiting Scholar, Psychology Dept., University of California, Berkeley
    • Spring 2014: Visiting Scholar, Institute of Personality & Social Research, University of California, Berkeley
    • Fall 2009: Visiting Scholar, Dept. of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley & International Computer Science Institute, Berkeley, California
    • Fall 2000: Visiting Scholar, University of Washington, Seattle, School of Medicine

    Select Awards

    • 2005: SMU Rotunda Outstanding Professor Award
    • 2004: SMU Psychology Dept. Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
    • 2002, 2003, 2004: HOPE (Honoring Our Professors’ Excellence) Recognition, SMU
    • 2003: Honorary Faculty Member, Golden Key International Honor Society
    • 2001: Teaching Fellowship, Maguire Center for Ethics & Public Responsibility, SMU

    Select Grants

    • Johnson, S.L., (p.i.), Carver, C. & Fernandez, E. Aggression in the context of impulsive responses to emotion: Testing an intervention. Guggenheim Foundation, $80,000, 2016-2017.
    • Fernandez, E. (p.i.). Parameters and Expressions of Anger. International Initiatives Grant, UTSA, $2,500.
    • Fernandez, E. (principal investigator). “Psychometric properties and diagnostic utility of the Pain Descriptor System”. National Institutes of Health, R21NR009665 grant, $309,278 (direct costs), 2007-2011.
    • Fernandez, E. (principal investigator). "Confirmation and cross-validation of a parsimonious subset of verbal descriptors of pain from the McGill Pain Questionnaire". R. W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute: $50,000, 1999-2003.
    • Fernandez, E. (principal investigator). "Self-disclosure versus support for pain and suffering". National Institutes of Health: $35,818, 1995-1997.
    • Fernandez, E. (principal investigator). "Psychophysical scaling of menstrual pain and its response to analgesics". Sterling Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd.: $13,000, 1991-1993