Michael Trujillo


Doctoral Student
Health Psychology

Research Lab

Social Justice in Health Lab

Faculty Adviser

Paul Perrin, Ph.D. 

I completed by bachelor's degree in psychology from California State University, Long Beach and joined the doctoral program in health psychology at VCU in 2013. My research interest broadly defined is to understand the mechanisms by which stress operates to affect health and health behaviors with a particular focus on non-majority populations. More specifically, I am interested in how minority stressors (e.g., heterosexist events, race-related stressors, acculturative stress) affect risk-taking as well as mental and physical health within a biopsychosocial framework.

I was also fortunate to be awarded with a Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation in 2015 to examine how anti-gay discrimination affects risk-taking in sexual minority men, an area that is relatively underexplored. My long-term trajectory is to utilize research to help inform public policy in the areas of health for underserved populations.

Select Publications

Trujillo, M. A., Khoddam, R., Greenberg, J. B., Dyal, S. R., Ameringer, K. J., Zvolensky, M. J., & Leventhal, A. M. (in press). Distress tolerance as a correlate of tobacco dependence and motivation: Incremental relations over and above anxiety and depressive symptoms. Behavioral Medicine.
Trujillo, M. A., Perrin, P. B., Sutter, M., Tabaac, A. R., Benotsch, E. G. (2017). Discrimination, mental health, and suicidality: The moderating effects of social support in a transgender population. International Journal of Transgenderism, 18, 39-52.
Drazdowski, T. K., Perrin, P. B., Trujillo, M. A., Sutter, M., Benotsch, E. G., & Snipes, D. J. (2016). Structural equation modeling of the effects of racism, heterosexism, and internalized oppression on illicit drug use in LGBTQ people of color. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 159, 255-262.
Trujillo, M. A., Perrin, P. B., Norup, A., & Doser, K. B. (2016). Personality traits influence trajectories of mental health-related quality of life, anxiety, and depression in caregivers of patients with severe brain injury. Rehabilitation Psychology, 61, 389-396.
Tabaac, A. R., Perrin, P. B., & Trujillo, M. A. (2015). Multiple mediational model of outness, social support, mental health, and wellness behavior in ethnically diverse lesbian, bisexual, and queer women. LGBT Health, 2, 243-249.


Title: Anti-gay harassment and risk taking: The effects of distress and distress tolerance
Funding agency: National Science Foundation
Funding period: June 2015 – May 2018
Faculty sponsorPaul Perrin, Ph.D.

Course Taught

  • Stress and Its Management, undergraduate level


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