Profile

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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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

      Chue, A, Gunthert, K. C., Ahrens, A. H., & Skalina, L. M. Relationship between everyday anger expression and subsequent depression: A prospective study.  Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Philadelphia, PA, November 2014.
      Chue, A., Kim, R., Gunthert, K. C., Ahrens, A. H., & Skalina, L. M. Daytime sleepiness and perceptions of everyday stress: The moderating role of depression symptoms.  Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Philadelphia, PA, November 2014.
      Stewart, K. L., Breetz, A. A., Ahrens, A. H., & Herron, L., Interpersonal goals are associated with borderline features and daily response to stressors.  Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Philadelphia, PA, November 2014.
      Kim, R., Gunthert, K. C., Ahrens, A. H., & Skalina, L. M. Gender differences in the effect of daytime sleepiness on positive and negative motions. Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Philadelphia, PA, November 2014.
      Mullarkey, M. & Ahrens, A. H. Thankful in all circumstances: Trait gratitude predicts less stress during a daily diary via savoring.  Presented at the Society for Affective Science convention, Bethesda, MD, April 2014.
      Stewart, K. L., & Ahrens, A. H. Why does gratitude enhance well-being? Exploring the effects of gratitude on meaning.  Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Nashville, TN, November 2013.
      Mullarkey, M., Breetz, A. A., & Ahrens, A. H. Trait mindfulness predicts drop in borderline symptoms over time. Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Nashville, TN, November 2013.
      Skalina, L. M., Gunthert, K. C., & Ahrens, A. H. The effect of depression on interpersonal expression of negative affect. Presented at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies convention, Nashville, TN, November 2013.
      Weltfreid, S., & Ahrens, A. H. Self-compassion mediates the relationship between mindfulness and happiness for another’s success.  Presented at the Association for Psychological Sciences convention, Washington, DC, May 2013.
      Stewart, K. L., Ahrens, A. H., & Gunthert, K. Mindfulness predicts compassionate and self-image goals.  Presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology convention, New Orleans, LA, January 2013. 
      Mullarkey, M., & Ahrens, A. H. Does generalized gratitude prompt the action tendency to celebrate? Presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology convention, New Orleans, LA, January 2013. 
                
     

Selected Publications

  • Skalina, L. M., Gunthert, K. C., Ahrens, A. H., & Wenze, S. J. (2015).  Neuroticism and momentary differentiation of positive and negative affect. Personality and Individual Differences, 75, 165-169.    
  • Ahrens, A.H., & Forbes, C. N. (2014). Gratitude.  In M. M. Tugade, M. L. Shiota, & L. D. Kirby (Eds.), Handbook of positive emotions.  (pp. 342-361). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Carlin, E., & Ahrens, A. H. (2014). The effects of mindfulness and fear-inducing stimuli on avoidance behavior. Mindfulness, 5, 276-281.  
  • Kirby, L. D., Tugade, M., Morrow, J., Ahrens, A. H., & Smith, C. A. (2014). Vive la difference: The ability to differentiate positive emotional experience and well-being.  In M. M. Tugade, M. L. Shiota, & L. D. Kirby (Eds.), Handbook of positive emotions.  (pp. 241-255). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Wenze, S. J., Gunthert, K. C., Ahrens, A. H., & Bos, T. C. T. (2013). Biases in short-term mood prediction in individuals with depression and anxiety symptoms, Individual Differences Research, 11, 91-101.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Haaga, D. A. F., Ahrens, A. H., Schulman, P., Seligman, M. E. P., DeRubeis, R. J., & Minarik, M. (1995). Metatraits and cognitive assessment: Application to attributional         style and depressive symptoms.  Cognitive Therapy and Research, 19, 121-142.
  • Ahrens, A. H., & Abramson, L. Y. (1991). Changes in personal standards and dysphoria: A longitudinal approach. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 15, 47-68.
  • 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.
  • 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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