Ashley Mason, PhD

Assistant Professor
+1 415 514-6820

Ashley Mason, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF.

Her primary research interests focus on food-craving experiences, stress-induced eating, and reward-based eating. She is currently investigating the role of the endogenous opioid system in overeating behavior by using a biological probe to index tendencies to engage in reward-based eating. She is currently using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) methodologies to assess the efficacy of targeted interventions that (1) increase awareness and understanding of food craving experiences, and (2) de-couple the experience of craving from the action of indulging cravings.

She is also interested in better understanding the psychosocial needs of individuals who are caregivers for a loved one. These individuals are at increased risk for physical and psychological health problems and are a growing sector of the US population. In addition to exploratory work, she is also in developing highly disseminable, light-touch interventions that improve quality of life of these individuals.

She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona where she developed two lines of research with Dr. David Sbarra. In one line of work, she studied predictors and correlates of psychological adjustment and physical health following romantic relationship dissolutions (namely, divorce). In a second line of work, she studied interpersonal perceptions of psychological distress in the contexts of post-divorce recovery and social evaluative threat. She completed a Behavioral Medicine Clinical Internship at the VA Palo Alto Medical Health Care System. She then completed a T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Training in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM) program at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine in the Fall of 2013, before joining UCSF as Faculty.


Twelve-month outcomes of a randomized trial of a moderate-carbohydrate versus very low-carbohydrate diet in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus or prediabetes.

Nutrition & diabetes

Saslow LR, Daubenmier JJ, Moskowitz JT, Kim S, Murphy EJ, Phinney SD, Ploutz-Snyder R, Goldman V, Cox RM, Mason AE, Moran P, Hecht FM

Improving Assessment of the Spectrum of Reward-Related Eating: The RED-13.

Frontiers in psychology

Mason AE, Vainik U, Acree M, Tomiyama AJ, Dagher A, Epel ES, Hecht FM

An Online Intervention Comparing a Very Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations Versus a Plate Method Diet in Overweight Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Journal of medical Internet research

Saslow LR, Mason AE, Kim S, Goldman V, Ploutz-Snyder R, Bayandorian H, Daubenmier J, Hecht FM, Moskowitz JT

The contemptuous separation: Facial expressions of emotion and breakups in young adulthood

Personal Relationships

Heshmati, S., Sbarra, D.A., & Mason, A.E.

Impact of a Mindfulness-Based Weight-Loss Intervention on Sleep Quality Among Adults with Obesity: Data from the SHINE Randomized Controlled Trial.

Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)

Adler E, Dhruva A, Moran PJ, Daubenmier J, Acree M, Epel ES, Bacchetti P, Prather AA, Mason A, Hecht FM

Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial.


Mason AE, Epel ES, Aschbacher K, Lustig RH, Acree M, Kristeller J, Cohn M, Dallman M, Moran PJ, Bacchetti P, Laraia B, Hecht FM, Daubenmier J

Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on mindful eating, sweets consumption, and fasting glucose levels in obese adults: data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial.

Journal of behavioral medicine

Mason AE, Epel ES, Kristeller J, Moran PJ, Dallman M, Lustig RH, Acree M, Bacchetti P, Laraia BA, Hecht FM, Daubenmier J

Putting the brakes on the "drive to eat": Pilot effects of naltrexone and reward-based eating on food cravings among obese women.

Eating behaviors

Mason AE, Laraia B, Daubenmier J, Hecht FM, Lustig RH, Puterman E, Adler N, Dallman M, Kiernan M, Gearhardt AN, Epel ES

Acute responses to opioidergic blockade as a biomarker of hedonic eating among obese women enrolled in a mindfulness-based weight loss intervention trial.


Mason AE, Lustig RH, Brown RR, Acree M, Bacchetti P, Moran PJ, Dallman M, Laraia B, Adler N, Hecht FM, Daubenmier J, Epel ES

Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body.

The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism

Tryon MS, Stanhope KL, Epel ES, Mason AE, Brown R, Medici V, Havel PJ, Laugero KD

Sleep complaints predict increases in resting blood pressure following marital separation.

Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association

Krietsch KN, Mason AE, Sbarra DA

The reward-based eating drive scale: a self-report index of reward-based eating.

PloS one

Epel ES, Tomiyama AJ, Mason AE, Laraia BA, Hartman W, Ready K, Acree M, Adam TC, St Jeor S, Kessler D

Expressive Writing Can Impede Emotional Recovery Following Marital Separation.

Clinical psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science

Sbarra DA, Boals A, Mason AE, Larson GM, Mehl MR

Facing a breakup: Electromyographic responses moderate self-concept recovery following a romantic separation.

Personal Relationships

Mason AE, Law RW, Bryan AE, Portley RM, Sbarra DA

Staying connected when coming apart: The psychological correlates of contact and sex with an ex-partner.

Journal of social and clinical psychology

Mason AE, Sbarra DA, Bryan AE, Lee LA