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Psychology | Clinical PhD Program: Research Training

Research Training

In the Clinical Psychology Program at AU, research training is based on a mentorship model. Students are admitted to a specific core faculty member's lab, and that faculty member then serves as the student's advisor for the duration of his or her graduate training. Students often develop working relationships with the other student members of their lab; collaborating on projects, receiving advice from older students, and sharing experience and advice with younger students. Format of research supervision varies from advisor to advisor, but all mentors meet regularly with their students.

Per program requirements, all clinical students must complete coursework in psychological research and statistics as well as a master's thesis project and a doctoral dissertation, which must be defended orally to the projects' committees. Students present their master's thesis proposals to core faculty and the other clinical students at a "celebration of research" event at the end of their first year.

Many students exceed program research requirements by becoming active in professional organizations (such as the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the American Evaluation Association, the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, etc.). They routinely attend and present their research findings at conferences. Below is a list of selected recent conference presentations, with student authors in bold and core faculty members in italics:

Stoeckel, M. & Weissbrod, C. (2012, March). Positive emotions in response to illness: The impact of gratitude on depression and anxiety in the children of parents with an illness. Poster session presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association.

Rusch, N.A., & Carter, M.M. (2011, March). The role of disgust in blood-injection-injury phobia examined through the use of implicit association tests. Presented at the annual meeting of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, New Orleans, LA.

Wald, L., Hornack, S., Ryan, K., & Gorman, J. (2012, October). Cost Inclusive Evaluation in Health and Human Services. Panel presentation at the Annual Conference for the American Evaluation Association, Minneapolis, MN.

Falkenstein, M. J., Sturm, J., Rogers, K., Haaga, D. A. F. (2013, November). The acceptability of stepped care to patients with trichotillomania (hair-pulling disorder). Poster to be presented at the 20th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Nashville TN.

Stewart, K.L., Ahrens, A.H., & Gunthert, K.C. (2013, January). Mindfulness Predicts Compassionate and Self-Image Goals. Poster presented at the Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. New Orleans, LA.

Greenfield, M.F., Gunthert, K.C., & Forand, N.R. (2013, November). The Role of Neuroticism and Sex in the Occurrence of Negative Interpersonal Interactions. Poster presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.  Nashville, TN.  

Students also write book chapters and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. Below is a list of some selected recent first-author student publications, with student authors in bold and core faculty members in italics:

Bianchi, K.N. & Carter, M.M. (2012).  An experimental analysis of disgust sensitivity and fear of contagion in Spider and Blood Injection Injury Phobia.  Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26, 753-761.

Etu, S.F. & Gray, J. (2010). A preliminary investigation of the effect of induced rumination on state body image dissatisfaction and anxiety. Body Image, 7, 82-85. 

Forand, N.R., Gunthert, K.C., Cohen, L.H., Butler, A.C., & Beck, J.S. (2012).

Preliminary evidence that anxiety is associated with accelerated response in cognitive therapy for depression. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 35, 151-160.

Greenfield, M.F.Gunthert, K.C., & Haaga, D.A.F. (2011). Sudden gains versus gradual gains in a psychotherapy training clinic. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 67, 17-30.

Hansen, J.A., Weissbord, C., Schwartz, D.D., & Taylor, W.P. (2012). Paternal involvement in pediatric Type 1 Diabetes: Fathers' and mothers' psychological functioning and disease management.  Families, Systems, & Health, 30, 47-59.

Huntley, E.D., & Juliano, L. M. (2011). Caffeine expectancy questionnaire (CaffEQ): Construction, psychometric properties, and associations with caffeine use, caffeine dependence, and other related variables. Psychological Assessment, 24, 592-607.

Kapson, H.S., McDonald, D.O., & Haaga, D.A.F. (2012). The effect of unanimousfirst session attendance on psychoeducational smoking cessation groups.  Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 16, 148-158.

Leddy, M.A.Haaga, D.A.F., Gray, J.J., & Schulkin J. (2011). Postpartum mental health screening and diagnosis by obstetrician-gynecologists. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 32(1), 27-34.

McDonald, D.O'Brien, J.Farr, E., & Haaga, D.A.F. (2010). Pilot study of inducing smoking cessation attempts by activating a sense of looming vulnerability. Addictive Behaviors, 35(6), 599-606.

Wenze, S.J., Gunthert, K.C., & German, R.E. (2012). Biases in affective forecasting and recall in individuals with depression and anxiety symptoms. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 38, 895-906.