CarpenterKristenAssociate Professor - Clinical, Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Psychology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology
The Ohio State University College of Medicine

Chief Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health

Director of Ambulatory Services, OSU Harding Behavioral Health

Director of Women’s Behavioral Health
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

1670 Upham Drive
Columbus, OH 43210

Kristen Carpenter, PhD, is a clinical health psychologist and associate professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Psychology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University, as well as a member of the Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC).  She is chief psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and director of Ambulatory Services for Ohio State Behavioral Health. 

Dr. Carpenter studied psychology as an undergraduate at Northwestern University and, following four years of work in health care management consulting, she completed her doctoral training at Ohio State, focusing on women’s sexual health and cancer. She completed her clinical internship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and, following a postdoctoral fellowship in Cancer Prevention and Control Research at the University of California, Los Angeles, returned to Ohio State, first in the Department of Psychology and now in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health.  

Dr. Carpenter’s research program involves understanding the role of cognitive, affective and interpersonal processes in sexual, psychological and physical health outcomes among women with cancer and other medical concerns. She’s served as a funded principal investigator for over 15 years and has developed expertise and considerable skill in the design and administration of observational, longitudinal and intervention studies. She holds the distinction of being one of a small but growing number of scholars in the country with significant expertise in both sexuality and cancer survivorship. 

Shortly after joining the Ohio State College of Medicine in 2013, she began working with collaborators in the divisions of Gynecologic Oncology and Breast Oncology to build a clinical service dedicated to addressing the unmet sexual health needs of women with cancer. This, combined with her scholarly work, resulted in her appointment as director of the newly formed Women’s Behavioral Health (WBH) program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health in 2014. Signature clinical service lines include Women’s Intimacy and Sexual Health (WISH), Maternal-Fetal Behavioral Health, and Well-Being Across the Reproductive Lifecycle. 

The three-fold mission of WBH is to provide evidence-based behavioral health care; to conduct clinical research that will improve the effectiveness and safety of care for future generations of women; and to serve as a training center for psychology doctoral trainees, residents, fellows and undergraduate students interested in the unique behavioral health needs of women. Dr. Carpenter says it has been the ideal home for her to provide care, conduct research and educate new generations of scholars and clinicians. 

Research and Clinical Interests

  • Behavioral medicine
  • Clinical health psychology
  • Women’s health
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Psychological, cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Psychological interventions

Current Research Projects

  • The impact of optimism and coping on the experience of side effects of adjuvant chemotherapy. Pilot study designed to examine the association between pre-chemotherapy psychosocial factors and patient-reported ratings of toxicity and health-related quality of life.
  • Psychosexual intervention for patients with gynecologic and breast cancer. Pilot of a randomized clinical trial of psychological intervention for patients coping with adverse sexual sequelae of gynecologic cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

Active Funding

  • Pelotonia

Selected Publications

 Fowler, J.M., Carpenter, K.M., Gupta, P., Golden-Kreutz, D.M., Andersen B.L. (2004). The gynecologic oncology consult: Symptom presentation and concurrent symptoms of depression and anxiety. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 103, 1211-1217.

Carpenter, K.M., & Andersen, B.L. (2005). Reclassification will not make the pain go away: Peer commentary on Binik’s “Should dyspareunia be retained as a sexual dysfunction in DSM-V? A painful classification decision. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 34, 23-61.

Golden-Kreutz, D.M., Thornton, L.M., Wells-diGregorio, S.M., Frierson, G.M., Jim, H.S., Carpenter, K.M., Shelby, R.A., & Andersen, B.L. (2005). Traumatic stress, perceived global stress, and life events: Prospectively predicting quality of life in breast cancer patients. Health Psychology, 24, 288-296.

Andersen, B.L., Carpenter, K.M., Yang, H.C., & Shapiro, C. (2007). Sexual well-being among partnered women with breast cancer recurrence. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 25, 3151-3157.

Ancker, J.S., Carpenter, K.M., Greene, P., Hoffmann, R., Kukafka, R., Marlow, L.A.V., Prigerson, H.G., Quillin, J.M. (2009). Peer-to-peer communication, cancer prevention, and the internet. Journal of Health Communication, 14 (Suppl 1), 38-46.

Diefenbach, M., Turner, G., Carpenter, K.M., Sheldon, L., Mustian, K., Gerend, M., Rini, C., von Wagner, C., Gritz, E.R., McQueen, A., Prayor-Patterson, H. (2009). Cancer and patient communication. Journal of Health Communication, 14 (Suppl 1), 57-65.

Carpenter, K.M., Andersen, B.L., Fowler, J.M., & Maxwell, G.L. (2009). Sexual self schema as a moderator of sexual and psychological outcomes for gynecologic cancer survivors. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 828-841.

Levin, A.O., Carpenter, K.M., & Andersen, B.L. (2010). Psychological issues. In: J. Berek N. Hacker (Eds.), Gynecologic Oncology (pp. 860-876). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Levin, A.O., Carpenter, K.M., Fowler, J.M., Brothers, B., Andersen, B.L., & Maxwell, G.L. (2010). Sexual morbidity associated with poorer psychological adjustment among gynecological cancer survivors. International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, 20, 461-470.

Carpenter, K.M., Fowler, J.M., Maxwell, G.L., & Andersen, B.L. Direct and buffering effects of social support among gynecologic cancer survivors. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 39, 79-90.

Wells-di Gregorio, S.M., Carpenter, K.M., Dorfman, C., Yang, H.C., Simonelli, L., & Carson, W.E. III. (2012).  Impact of breast cancer recurrence and cancer-related stress on spouse health and immunity. Brain, Behavior, & Immunity, 26, 228-233.

Carpenter, K.M., Eisenberg, S., Low, C., Beran, T., Weltfreid, S., Jorge, A., & Stanton, A.L. (2014). Cancer-Related Cognitive Processing as a Function of BRCA1/2 Genetic Mutation Status, Personal Cancer History, and Age.  Health Psychology, 33, 1003-1011.

Hoyt, M. & Carpenter, K.M. (2014). Sexual self-schema and depressive symptoms after prostate cancer.  Psycho-Oncology.  Advance online publication.  doi: 10.1002/pon.3601

Neff, R., McCann, G.A., Carpenter, K.M., Cohn, D.E., Noria, S., Mikami, D., & O'Malley, D. (2014).  Is bariatric surgery and option for women with gynecologic cancer? Examining weight loss counseling practices and training among gynecologic oncology providers.  Gynecologic Oncology.  Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2014.06.006

Brothers, B.M., Carpenter, K.M., Shelby, R.A., Thornton, L.M., Frierson, G.F., Patterson, K.L., & Andersen, B.L.  (2015). Dissemination of an evidence-based treatment for cancer patients:  Training is the necessary first step. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 5, 103-112.  DOI: 10.1007/s13142-014-0273-0

Berger AM, Mooney K, Alvarez-Perez A, Breitbart WS, Carpenter KM, Cella D, Cleeland C, Dotan E, Eisenberger MA, Escalante CP, Jacobsen PB, Jankowski C, LeBlanc T, Ligibel JA, Loggers ET, Mandrell B, Murphy BA, Palesh O, Pirl WF, Plaxe SC, Riba MB, Rugo HS, Salvador C, Wagner LI, Wagner-Johnston ND, Zachariah, FJ, Bergman MA, Smith C. (in press). Cancer-Related Fatigue, version 2.2015. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Rath, K., Huffman, L., Phillips, G.S., Carpenter, K.M., & Fowler, J.M.  (in press).  Burnout and associated factors among members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology. 

PubMed articles

Current Staff

  • Nichole Storey, MHS

Education and Training

MA: Psychology, The Ohio State University
PhD: Psychology, The Ohio State University
Fellowship: NCI/NIH R25T Training Program in Cancer Prevention and Control, University of California Los Angeles
Fellowship: T32 Training Program in Cancer Immunology, The Ohio State University

Editorial Activities

  • Abstract Reviewer, Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting, 2007-present
  • Internal Review Board, Health Psychology, 2007-2009
  • Ad hoc Reviewer:
    • Annals of Behavioral Medicine
    • Behavior Research & Therapy
    • Expert Reviews of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    • Gynecologic Oncology
    • Health Psychology
    • Journal of Affective Disorders
    • Journal of Sexual Medicine
    • Marriage and Family Review
    • Psychology and Health
    • Psycho-Oncology
    • Supportive Care in Cancer
    • Women & Health

Professional Memberships

  • American Psychological Association, Division 38 and Division 12 Affiliate
  • Society of Behavioral Medicine
  • Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health & Cancer

Honors and News

  • Outstanding Population Sciences Poster, 1st place, OSU Cancer Center Scientific Meeting, 2012
  • Outstanding Cancer Control Poster, 1st place, OSU Cancer Center Scientific Meeting, 2010-2011 
  • NCI/American Society of Preventive Oncology Young Investigators’ Grantsmanship Workshop (competitive admission), 2008 
  • Citation paper, Society of Behavioral Medicine, 2008 
  • Clinical Loan Repayment Program (NCI), awarded, 2008-2011 
  • Competitive renewal granted, 2008
  • Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarship, The Ohio State University, 2005 
  • Ray Travel Award for Scholarship and Service, The Ohio State University, 2005 
  • Outstanding Cancer Control Poster, 1st place, OSU Cancer Center Scientific Meeting, 2005 
  • Award for Meritorious Teaching, Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, 2002 
  • Psychology Department Fellow, The Ohio State University, 2001-2005 

Clinical profile