Afton Hassett headshot

Afton Hassett, PsyD

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology
Director of Pain and Opioid Research, Department of Anesthesiology


Afton Hassett is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan. She received her BFA from Colorado State University and her doctorate from Alliant International University in San Diego, CA. As a principal investigator at the Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center, she conducts interdisciplinary research related to exploring the role of cognitive, affective, and behavioral factors in chronic pain populations. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and is a leader in the field of resilience and pain research. Her work has focused on exploring positive emotions and affective balance in people with pain; health-related quality of life in adult and pediatric rheumatology patients; and novel interventions to promote resilience and self-management for individuals with chronic pain. Her most exciting and innovative positive health research involves developing resilience-enhancing activities to promote well-being and the sparing of premature cellular aging in patients with chronic pain (telomere research), as well as developing scalable “prehabilitation” programs for surgical patients to try before surgery to optimize post-surgical outcomes including sparing opioid use. She is committed to education for individuals at many levels including patients, undergraduates and graduate students, medical residents, post-docs, physicians, and other health care providers. Dr. Hassett is a Past President of the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals – a division of the American College of Rheumatology. Current research funding sources include National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the University of Michigan, with effort support from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and the Rheumatology Research Foundation.

Published Articles or Reviews

Selected Publications:

  1. Hassett AL, Fisher JA, Vie LL, Kelley WL, Clauw DJ, Seligman MEP. Association between pre-development optimism and onset of post-deployment pain in US Army soldiers. JAMA Network Open. 2019 Feb 1;2(2):e188076. PMID: 30735237. Link
  2. Hassett AL, Remaining Positive About Positive Psychological Interventions for Pain. JAMA Network Open. 2018 Sep 7;1(5):e182531. Invited Commentary. Link
  3. Hassett AL, Goesling J, Mathur SN, Moser SE, Brummett CM, Sibille KT. Affect and Low Back Pain: More to Consider Thank the Influence of Negative Affect Alone. Clin J Pain. 2016 Oct;32(10):907-14. Link
  4. Hassett AL, Finan PH. The Role of Resilience in the Clinical Management of Chronic Pain. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2016 Jun;20(6):39. doi: 10.1007/s11916-016-0567-7. PMID: 27115770 (PDF available upon request).