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Faculty

tulaneMichael Hoerger, Ph.D., M.S.C.R.

Assistant professor of psychology, psychiatry, and oncology
contributing member of the tulane cancer center

Ph.D., 2010, Central Michigan University

M.S.C.R., 2016, Tulane University

Email: mhoerger@tulane.edu
Phone: (504) 314-7545
Website: Lab Page

3070 Percival Stern Hall

Research Interests


Dr. Hoerger is a clinical health psychologist and decision scientist who conducts research aimed at supporting quality of life in adults with cancer. Quality of life encompasses both physical functioning and mental health, including depression and anxiety. Dr. Hoerger aims to support quality of life by conducting research on healthcare decision making and service utilization, patient-provider communication, patient education and empowerment, and health disparities. He is particularly interested in increasing utilization of palliative care, a multidisciplinary service for patients with advanced cancer or serious symptoms that is designed with the goal of supporting quality of life.

His research draws from the perspective of translational psychological science, meaning that his psycho-oncology studies are informed by basic psychology research and theory related to personality, emotion, and decision making. This includes Dr. Hoerger’s seminal work on ‘affective forecasting’ and ‘delay of gratification.’ He is also known for his methodologic expertise in study design, survey development and measurement, statistics, and web design.

Dr. Hoerger has devoted his career to conducting interdisciplinary research, serving over 30 professional journals, teaching and mentoring, providing clinical services, and engaging with the community on issues related to work, education, and health. Currently, Dr. Hoerger serves on the editorial board of Health Psychology, manages the charitable foundation web site for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), and reviews grants for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). As well, he was Tulane’s first faculty member to complete the Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science (LA CaTS) Center’s Roadmap Award. 

Selected Publications


Hoerger, M. (in press). Randomization failure in palliative care RCTs. Palliative Medicine.

Duberstein, P. R., Chen, M., Chapman, B. P., Hoerger, M., Saeed, F., Guancial, E., Mack, J. W. (in press). Fatalism and educational disparities in beliefs about the curability of advanced cancer. Patient Education and Counseling.

O’Mahony, S., Ziadni, M., Hoerger, M., Levine, S., Baron, A., Gerhart, J. (in press). Compassion fatigue among palliative care clinicians: Findings on personality factors and years of service. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Hoerger, M., Perry, L. M., Gramling, R., Epstein, R. M., & Duberstein, P. R. (in press). Does educating patients about the Early Palliative Care Study increase preferences for outpatient palliative cancer care? Findings from Project EMPOWER. Health Psychology.

Epstein, R. M., Duberstein, P. R., Fenton, J. J., Fiscella, K., Hoerger, M., Tancredi, D. J., Xing, G., Gramling, R., Mohile, S., Franks, P., Kaesberg, P., Plumb, S., Cipri, C. S., Street, R. L., Shields, C. G., Back, A. L., Butow, P., Walczak, A., Tattersall, M., Venuti, A., Sullivan, P., Robinson, M., Hoh, B., Lewis, L., Kravitz, R. L. (2017).  Effect of a patient-centered communication intervention on oncologist-patient communication, quality of life and healthcare utilization in advanced cancer: The VOICE randomized clinical trial. JAMA Oncology, 3, 92-100.

Gerhart, J. I., Schmidt, E., Lillis, T., O’Mahony, S., Duberstein, P. R., & Hoerger, M. (in press). Anger proneness and prognostic pessimism in men with prostate cancer. American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.

Gramling, R., Fiscella, K., Xing, G., Hoerger, M., Duberstein, P., Plumb, S., Mohile, S., Fenton, J., Tancredi, D., Kravitz, R., & Epstein, R. (2016). Differences of opinion or inadequate communication? Determinants of patient-oncologist prognostic discordance in advanced cancer. JAMA Oncology, 2, 1421-1426.

Hoerger, M., Chapman, B. P., Mohile, S. G., & Duberstein, P. R. (2016). Development and psychometric evaluation of the Decisional Engagement Scale (DES-10): A patient-reported psychosocial survey for quality cancer care. Psychological Assessment, 28, 1087-1100.

Hoerger, M., Chapman, B. P., & Duberstein, P. R. (2016). Realistic affective forecasting: The role of personality. Cognition & Emotion, 30, 1304-1316.

Barkan, T., Hoerger, M., Gallegos, A. M., Turiano, N. A., Duberstein, P. R., & Moynihan, J. A. (2016). Personality predicts utilization of mindfulness-based stress reduction during and post-intervention in a community sample of older adults. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 22, 390-395.

Hoerger, M., Scherer, L. D., & Fagerlin, A. (2016). Affective forecasting and medication decision making in breast cancer prevention. Health Psychology, 35, 594-603.

Hoerger, M. (2016). Right-to-try laws and individual patient “compassionate use” of experimental oncology medications: A call for improved provider-patient communication. Death Studies, 40, 113-120.

Gerhart, J. I., Asvat, Y., Lattie, E., O’Mahony, S., Duberstein, P. R., & Hoerger, M. (2016). Distress, delay of gratification and preference for palliative care in patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 25, 91-96.

Lattie, E. G., Asvat, Y., Shivpuri, S., Gerhart, J., O'Mahony, S., Duberstein, P., & Hoerger, M. (2016). Associations between personality and end of life care preferences among men with prostate cancer: A clustering approach. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 51, 52-59.

Hoerger, M., Coletta, M., Sörensen, S. Chapman, B., Kaukeinen, K., Tu, X. M., & Duberstein, P. R. (2016). Personality and perceived health in spousal caregivers of patients with lung cancer: The roles of neuroticism and extraversion. Journal of Aging Research.

View All of Dr. Hoerger's Publications

Dr. Hoerger's Courses


  • Psychology Research Method – PSYC 3130
  • Health Psychology – PSYC 6800
  • Personality Psychology – PSYC 7010

Department of Psychology • 2007 Percival Stern Hall • New Orleans, LA 70118 • Phone: 504-865-5331 • psych@tulane.edu