Skip to main content

Research

The TaSSC mission is grounded in inter-related lines of research, guided by several empirically identified obstacles to the alleviation of suffering among individuals who have experienced traumatic life events or suffer from PTSD:

  1. We are interested in the investigation of risk and maintenance processes for subclinical and full (diagnostic) PTSD, particularly those that may be targeted via cognitive-behavioral strategies, so as to develop novel intervention approaches or improve engagement with or outcomes of extant evidence-based treatments.

WHY?

Despite the availability of effective evidence-based treatments for PTSD, a substantial proportion of individuals with PTSD do not seek treatment, drop out prematurely, or refuse treatment. To improve engagement with and outcomes of extant treatments, we need to know more about the processes, targetable via intervention, related to the etiology and maintenance of PTSD.

Furthermore, subclinical PTSD symptoms, as well as full (diagnostic) PTSD, are related to functional impairment and distress. However, only limited research is available on effective avenues for improving well-being among individuals who may not meet full PTSD criteria but are experiencing distress and hardship in the aftermath of trauma.

  1. We are dedicated to the examination of biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying the highly prevalent co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress and substance use disordersso as to inform treatment development and refinement efforts for this difficult-to-treat population.

WHY?

PTSD rarely manifests as a singular condition. In fact, over 80% of individuals with PTSD also have co-occurring conditions, and substance use disorders (SUD) are among the most common. Many individuals with PTSD report using substances to manage the emotions and symptoms associated with traumatic stress; PTSD is a major risk factor for poor SUD treatment outcomes; and substance use can complicate PTSD treatment efforts. However, there are few evidence-based integrated treatment options for PTSD-SUD, and there is still much to be learned about this complex comorbidity.

  1. We are interested in examining clinical correlates of suicide risk among various trauma-exposed populations, including college students, first responders, military veterans, and treatment-seeking adults, so as to inform the development of evidence-based suicide risk assessments and prevention programs.

WHY?

Suicide is a significant public health concern. Trauma-exposed populations and those experiencing subclinical or diagnostic PTSD are at elevated risk of suicidal ideation and behavior. Identifying and evaluating intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual factors related to increased suicide risk has potential to improve identification of those at heightened risk of suicidal behavior. With enhanced identification, we can be better prepared to develop and refine evidence-based strategies and methods to prevent deaths by suicide.