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Anthony Ahrens

Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

  • Additional Positions at AU

    Director, Psychology MA Program
  • Anthony Ahrens did his undergraduate work at Northwestern University and received his doctorate in psychology from Stanford University. His research interests fall at the interface of social and clinical psychology. His current interests emphasize gratitude, mindfulness, and fear of emotion.
  • Degrees

    PhD, Psychology, Stanford University
    BA, Psychology, Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences, Northwestern University
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  • OFFICE

  • CAS - Psychology
  • Asbury - 317A
  • Monday 4-5 pm; Wednesday 5-5:30 pm; Thursday 4-4:30 pm
  • CONTACT INFO

  • (202) 885-1714
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Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Research Interests

Dr. Ahrens’ current research focuses on gratitude, mindfulness, and fear of emotion. He has particular interest in depression and anxiety.

Honors, Awards, and Fellowships

       
  • Outstanding Reviewer Award, Journal of Happiness Studies, 2009
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  • American University, University Faculty Award for Outstanding Service to the University Community, 2007

Professional Presentations

       
  • Ahrens, A. H., & McIntosh, E. Individual differences in the  differentiation of positive emotion.  Presented at the Association for Psychological Science  convention, Boston, MA, May 2010.
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  • Ahrens, A. H., & McIntosh, E. Distinguishing our pleasures: People  vary in their           differentiation of positive emotions.  Presented at the  Society for Personality and Social    Psychology convention, Las Vegas, NV, January 2010.
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  • Breetz, A. A., Ahrens, A. H., Tull, M., & Gratz, K. The moderating role of nonjudgmentalacceptance in the relationship between implicit theories of emotion and fear of emotion. Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Orlando, FL, November 2008.
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  • McIntosh, E., & Ahrens, A. H. Empathy moderates the effects of gratitude inductions. Presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology convention, Memphis, TN, January 2007.
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  • Gurel, O., & Ahrens, A. H. Gratitude and interdependence of self-construal. Presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology convention, Memphis, TN, January 2007.
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  • Kyrimis, M., Ahrens, A. H., & Baldassari, J. An examination of the relationships among mindfulness, emotional acceptance, self-compassion, forgiveness, and self-judgment. Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Chicago, IL, November 2006.
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  • Gurel, O. & Ahrens, A. H. Fear of emotion and perception of emotions in sad, angry, and happy faces. Presented at the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy convention, Washington, DC, November 2005.
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  • Ahrens, A. H., Kyrimis, M., & Gunthert, K. C. Fear of emotion and affective reactivity to daily stress. Presented at the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy convention, New Orleans, LA, November 2004
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  • DeBoard, R. & Ahrens, A. H. Can body-scan mindfulness meditation decrease the enhancement effect associated with thought suppression? Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association convention, Washington, DC, April 2004
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  • Ahrens, A. H., McIntosh, E., & Joseph, N. Gratitude blends, gratitude levels, and narcissism. Presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology convention, Los Angeles, CA, February 2003.

Selected Publications

       
  • Breetz, A. A., Ahrens, A. H., Tull, M. T., & Gratz, K. L. (Under  review).  Implicit theories of emotion and fear of emotion: The  moderating role of nonjudgmental acceptance.
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  • McIntosh, M., & Ahrens, A. H. (Under review).  The roles of empathy and mindfulness in gratitude induction. 
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  • Smith, M., & Ahrens, A. H. (Under revision).  Mindfulness and college adjustment among foster care alumni: The  mediating relationship of social support.
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  • Friedman-Wheeler, D. G., Ahrens, A. H., Haaga, D. A. F., McIntosh, E., & Thorndike, F. P. (2007). Depressive symptoms, depression proneness, and outcome expectancies for cigarette smoking. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 31, 547-557
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  • Berg, C. Z., Shapiro, N., Chambless, D. L., & Ahrens, A. H. (1998). Are emotions frightening? II: An analogue study of fear of emotion, interpersonal conflict, and panic onset. Behavior Research and Therapy, 36, 3-15.
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  • Williams, K. E., Chambless, D. L., & Ahrens, A. H. (1997). Are emotions frightening? An extension of the fear of fear construct. Behavior Research and Therapy, 35, 239-248. Minarik, M. L., & Ahrens, A. H. (1996). Relations of eating behavior, depressive symptoms, and anxiety to the dimensions of perfectionism. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 20, 157-171.
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  • Ahrens, A. H., & Abramson, L. Y. (1991). Changes in personal standards and dysphoria: A longitudinal approach. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 15, 47-68.
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  • Ahrens, A. H., Zeiss, A. M., & Kanfer, R. (1988). Depressive deficits in interpersonal standards, self-efficacy, and social comparison. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 12, 53-67.
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  • Alloy, L. B., & Ahrens, A. H. (1987). Depression and pessimism for the future: Biased use of statistically relevant information in predictions for self versus others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 366-378.

   

 

Grants and Sponsored Research

  • R21 National Cancer Institute, “Applying Self-Regulatory Focus Theory to Cigarette Smoking Cessation,” Co-Investigator (David Haaga, PI) 2002-2004, total costs=$275,233
  •  R03 National Institute of Mental Health, "Mood, Recall, and Changes in Attributional Style." 1992-1995, total costs=$132,982
  • National Institutes of Health Individual Research Service Award, 1986-1987
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, Stanford University, 1982-1985

AU Expert

Area of Expertise: Gratitude, depression, fear of emotion, mindfulness

Additional Information: Anthony Ahrens
focuses on gratitude, mindfulness, and fear of emotion. His work on gratitude focuses on two topics. Most research defines gratitude as a reaction to benefits received from others. Ahrens believes that, in addition, some individuals report gratitude for benefits for which there is no clear origin: Some report being grateful for being at the beach on a sunny day, though they might not report being grateful toanyone. He has data using a trait measure of this sort of gratitude, e.g., in response to specific subsequent daily events. Ahrens is interested in the relation of gratitude to the sense of being interconnected.

Media Relations
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