Anne Ersig, PhD, RN

Position title: Assistant Professor


Phone: 608-263-5251

3121 Cooper Hall, Signe Skott

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Iowa
PhD, University of Iowa; Nursing
MSN, University of Pennsylvania; Pediatrics
BSN, University of Pennsylvania; Nursing

Dr. Ersig seeks to improve the health and well-being of individuals with chronic health conditions, who may experience substantial condition-related stress, with a particular interest in those who also experience substantial stress from other sources. As a nurse researcher, her holistic approach incorporates individual and family context, social determinants of health, and environmental factors that influence life course health and well-being. Dr. Ersig’s current work examines subjective and objective measures of stressors and stress responses in individuals with chronic health conditions. Her studies include measures of stress exposures, psychological and behavioral stress responses, and the biological, physiological, and epigenetic ramifications of exposure to persistently elevated stress levels.

Research focus areas

Symptom Science & Palliative Care

  • I study stress in children, adolescents and emerging adults with chronic physical health conditions.
  • Symptoms of interest include stress, as well as symptoms related to the stress response, such as anxiety and depressive symptoms. Of particular interest to me are biological and genomic factors (e.g., biomarkers of stress response, epigenetic modifications) associated with the stress response.
  • I also study mental and physical health outcomes in individuals with chronic physical health conditions, with a particular interest in how those outcomes are affected by stress related to the chronic condition.
  • In the future, I hope to develop interventions designed to mitigate the potentially negative effects of stress and related symptoms on health and well-being across the life course.

Children, Families & Reproductive Health

  • I study children, adolescents, and emerging adults with chronic physical health conditions, as well as their family members.
  • A chronic physical health condition in one family member affects all family members in different ways. Exploring these differences is important for determining how to implement individual and family-level interventions in the future. This includes assessment of biological and genomic factors related to stress and stress response in all family members.
  • Of particular interest to me is the stress that these individuals experience, and how that affects their mental and physical health and well-being.
  • Current work is centered around assessing stress related to the chronic condition in adolescents and their parents, as well as stress in parents of children and adolescents with medical complexity.

Mental Health & Substance Use

  • As noted above, I study stress, anxiety symptoms, and depressive symptoms in children, adolescents, and emerging adults with chronic physical health conditions and their family members.
  • Chronic health conditions can generate stress that leads to psychological, behavioral, and physiological stress responses. These, in turn, can increase risks for poor mental and physical health outcomes.
  • My primary interest is to eventually determine what role stress plays in the relationship between chronic health conditions and poor health outcomes, in order to develop interventions designed to mitigate these potential negative effects. However, I am also interested in identifying ways of building resilience in this population, to support individuals and families living with chronic health conditions.

Children, Families & Reproductive Health Mental Health & Substance Use Symptom Science & Palliative Care

Learn more about Dr. Ersig’s research

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