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Anka A. Vujanovic, Ph.D.

Anka A. Vujanovic, Ph.D.

Director, Trauma and Stress Studies Center (TaSSC)
Director, First Responder Program
Clinical Psychology
Director of Graduate Education
Director, Investigator Development Core - Health Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention
Ph.D., University of Vermont

Heyne Building, Room 201C

Dr. Vujanovic will not be reviewing applications for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Biographical Summary

Dr. Vujanovic is Professor of Psychology, a licensed clinical psychologist, and Director of Graduate Education in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, where she is Director of the Trauma and Stress Studies Center and the First Responder Program. Dr. Vujanovic serves as the Director of the Investigator Development Core of the HEALTH Center for Addictions Research and Cancer Prevention (NIMHD - RCMI). She holds a concurrent appointment in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine at the University of Houston. Dr. Vujanovic received a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont and completed the pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship program at the Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium.

Dr. Vujanovic’s research program is focused on understanding the complexity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and some of its most prevalent and high-risk correlates, including substance use disorders (SUD) and suicide risk, through the study of underlying psychological mechanisms relevant to treatment development. Her work is comprised of interrelated lines of inquiry: (1) investigation of psychological and behavioral processes relevant to the etiology and maintenance of (a) PTSD symptoms and (b) PTSD/SUD; (2) examination of suicide risk among trauma-exposed populations; and (3) development of theoretically and empirically driven, novel interventions for PTSD and co-occurring conditions that target the psychological mechanisms isolated in more basic research. She has utilized various methodological approaches, including clinical trials, longitudinal methods, ecological momentary assessment, and experimental laboratory paradigms. Dr. Vujanovic’s studies have been conducted in academic clinical research centers, first responder departments, medical and mental health clinics, and acute-care psychiatric inpatient hospitals. Her work encompasses populations exposed to diverse types of trauma, including sexual trauma survivors, adults receiving psychiatric inpatient services, military veterans, first responders, and human trafficking survivors. Dr. Vujanovic has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health and private foundations. Dr. Vujanovic is an Associate Editor for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness, and she serves on the editorial boards of seven additional journals. Dr. Vujanovic has authored over 200 publications, including journal articles, books, and book chapters.

Research Interests

  • Etiological and maintenance processes relevant to PTSD
  • Clinical correlates of trauma and PTSD
  • Biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying co-occurring posttraumatic stress and substance use
  • Clinical correlates of suicide risk among trauma-exposed populations
  • Treatment development for PTSD and co-occurring conditions

Selected Recent Publications

Vujanovic, A. A., Webber, H., Wardle, M. C., Green, C. E., Lane, S. D., & Schmitz, J. M. (2022). Nonjudgmental acceptance: Associations with substance-related cue reactivity in adults with substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress. Addictive Behaviors, 126, 107211. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107211 

Vujanovic, A. A., Gordon, M., Coverdale, J., & Nguyen, P. (2022). Applying telemental health services for adults experiencing human trafficking. Public Health Reports, 137, 17S-22S. doi: 10.1177/00333549221085243 

Vujanovic, A. A., Webber, H., McGrew, S. J., Green, C. E., Lane, S. D., & Schmitz, J. M. (2022). Distress tolerance: Prospective associations with cognitive-behavioral therapy outcomes in adults with posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 51, 326-342. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2021.2007995 

Vujanovic, A. A., Lebeaut, A., Zegel, M., & Buser, S. J. (2022). Mindful attention training workshop for firefighters: Design and methodology of a pilot randomized clinical trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, 27, 100905. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2022.100905 

Vuanovic, A. A., McGrew, S. J., Walton, J. L., & Raines, A. M. (2022). Posttraumatic stress and substance use among military veterans: Associations with distress intolerance and anxiety sensitivity. Addictive Behaviors, 126, 107177. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.107177 

Zemestani, M., Mohammed, A. F., Ismail, A. A., & Vujanovic, A. A. (2022). A pilot randomized clinical of a novel, culturally adapted, trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral intervention for war-related PTSD in Iraqi women. Behavior Therapy, 53, 656-672. doi: 10.1016/j.beth.2022.01.009 

Vujanovic, A. A., & Tran, J. K. (2021). Providing psychological services to firefighters. Journal of Health Service Psychology, 47, 137-148. doi: 10.1007/s42843-021-00041-6 

Vujanovic, A. A., Lebeaut, A. M., & Leonard, S. (2021). Exploring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of first responders. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 50, 320-335. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2021.1874506 

Webber, H. E., Kessler, D. A., Lathan, E. C., Wardle, M. C., Green, C. E., Schmitz, J. M., Lane, S. D., & Vujanovic, A. A. (2021). Posttraumatic stress symptom clusters differentially predict late positive potential to cocaine imagery cues in trauma-exposed adults with cocaine use disorder. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 227, 108929. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.108929 

Vujanovic, A. A., & Back, S. E. (Eds.). (2019). Posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders: A comprehensive clinical handbook. New York: Routledge.