In general my research interests lie in the interconnection between psychology and biology (psychobiology). In particular, the connection between psychological events and biological alterations.
My specific research interests are primarily in the area of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the biological alterations associated with this disorder. In particular I am interested in psychophysiological and psychoendocrine changes that occur following exposure to highly traumatic events like rape and physical assault.
I am just starting a five year project (funded by
the National Institute of Mental Health) designed to examine
biological alterations in women who have been raped or physically
assaulted. One aspect of this project is to examine these women in a
prospective fashion soon after the traumatic event (within one month)
and then do follow-up assessments six months later. The goal of this
part of the study is to identify biological and psychological changes
which occur soon after a trauma which predict later outcome.
Another part of this research project is designed to assess biological changes which may result from the treatment of PTSD. The basic idea is that if a traumatic event can alter our biology in various ways, can we change our biological responses by using a "psychological" treatment. Women in this part of the study will be rape victims who are diagnosed with PTSD. They will be given psychological and biological assessments prior to treatment and then again at posttreatment. The goal here is to learn more about how various treatments work and how they impact psychological and biological functioning.
I work in the Department of Psychology and the Center for Trauma Recovery (CTR). Visit these links to learn more about specific activities at each site. If you are interested in learning more about the study of traumatic stress visit the Web site for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS)
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