Robert McMillen

Professor & Associate Director of the Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University

My training is in social psychology, with an emphasis on population-level attitude change and persuasion. My research addresses the social climate of tobacco control, using survey methodology to assess and monitor the social penetration of tobacco and tobacco control. I have 20 years of experience with serving on state and nationally-funded grants to conduct tobacco control research, with a demonstrated record of productive research and outreach using primary datasets. Through more than 15 years of collaboration with psychologists, communication researchers, physicians, and attorneys, I have refined an approach for interdisciplinary collaboration leading to a strong record of publishing research in high impact journals to timely address emerging policy and regulatory issues. With my colleagues, I have produced over 30 papers and 100 conference presentations that helped to inform researchers and clinical practices. Moreover, press coverage of some of these studies served as outreach to increase parents’ awareness of the importance of protecting children from exposure to tobacco and SHS. To illustrate, our study of beliefs about thirdhand smoke helped to drive an emerging area of research, while media coverage from Time, The Today Show, and National Public Radio introduced this term and concept to the U.S. public. Our studies have also supported policy initiatives, such as banning menthols additive to cigarettes and raising the age of sale of tobacco to 21.


  • –present
    Professor & Associate Director, Mississippi State University


  • 1998 
    The University of Georgia, PhD / Social Psychology