My research interests lie at the interface of counseling psychology and social psychology. More specifically, I am interested in the application of social psychological theory and research to problems of concern to counseling psychologists.
Coping with Stressful Life Events – A major focus of my research is to identify factors associated with adjustment to stressful or traumatic life events. Some of this work has focused on specific events (e.g., sexual assault, bereavement, combat, terrorism, chronic medical conditions, relationship breakups) and some has focused on traumatic events more generally. Recent and ongoing projects examine predictors of the development of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including pre-trauma characteristics of the individual, characteristics of the event, and posttrauma factors. One of the factors in which I am interested is individuals' perceptions of the amount of control they have over a traumatic event. Over the past few years, my students and I have conducted several studies designed to develop a measure of past, present, and future control over stressful or traumatic life events. I also am particularly interested in the effects of various forms of interpersonal trauma (e.g., divorce, betrayal).
Developing Innovative Interventions – In one project, funded by a 5-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, my colleagues and I are testing the effectiveness of two-video based interventions for sexual assault survivors seen in the emergency room at a county hospital in Minneapolis. We are assessing whether these interventions can facilitate postassault adjustment. In another multi-year study funded by the Department of Defense and the Veteran's Administration, my colleagues and I are testing the effectiveness of an internet-based writing intervention for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. We are assessing whether writing about traumatic events can facilitate readjustment to civilian life. Finally, we have developed a web-based interventions to increase perceived control and to help students cope with stress more effectively.