Department of Social Sciences
Tel Aviv University
Yael Benyamini is a Full Professor at the Bob Shapell School of Social Work and a researcher in the fields of Health and Aging. Prof. Benyamini attained her master's degree in social psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and her PhD in health and social psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. She is an Honorary Fellow of the European Health Psychology Society (EHPS). She served as Secretary of the EHPS for four years and as an Associate Editor of Psychology & Health for eight years. She is co-editor of the 2016 book on Assessment in Health Psychology. She is currently a representative of the Tel-Aviv University Senate to the University's Executive Council and to the Board of Governors. Yael is also an avid mountain cyclist.
Prof. Benyamini studies how people think about their health. Her research focuses on subjective perceptions of health and illness and their effects on coping with health threats and ultimately on the psychological and physical outcomes. She has co-authored with Prof. Ellen Idler the now classic 1997 review on self-rated health, cited over 3,600 times to date, which has provided a theoretical framework for understanding the validity of subjective ratings of health. This review has led to a dramatic expansion of research on self-ratings of health and was recognized as one of the most highly cited articles in the social sciences (http://www.in-cites.com/papers/Idler_Benyamini.html ). Prof. Benyamini has continued to make significant contributions to this field and to expand her research from perceptions of global health to those of specific conditions. Her numerous grants and publications focused on the way people think about their health and cope with it in the context of women's health issues (infertility, high-risk-pregnancy, childbirth, menopause), chronic diseases (coronary heart disease and chronic pain, among others), and ageing. She is currently involved in two COST Action networks on seemingly opposite topics: Aging and Childbirth. This underscores the generalized principle behind her research and thinking, applied in various contexts: How and why do people form perceptions of health, illness and aging? Why are these perceptions resistant to change? When and why do they change? What are their effects and what can we learn from them?