Areas of Research

Dr. Cromer’s SPARTA Lab conducts research that addresses the prevention and treatment of psychological trauma that can be experienced in response to adverse life experiences. Dr. Cromer is passionate about social justice and works to build human resilience to adversity in at-risk and disadvantaged populations. Much of Dr. Cromer’s prevention work is focused within systems. She has worked with college athletes, first generation college students, trauma-informed schools, students and student athletes transitioning to college, and military families preparing for deployment. Her expertise extends to the prevention of the intergenerational transmission of trauma and fostering healing from historical trauma. Dr. Cromer’s work is applied in the sense that she actively works to improve outcomes for the people with whom she works. Dr. Cromer’s prevention work is based in attachment, self-regulation, and empowerment.

Ongoing Studies in the SPARTA Lab

Golden Strategies and Techniques for Achievement, Resilience, and Transition (Golden START): A Resilience Prevention Program for Incoming Student-Athletes

Golden START is an evidence-based cognitive-behavioral program designed to promote resilience and retention by helping transitioning-to-college student-athletes adapt to academic, athletic, and social-emotional stressors associated with college. The Golden START program was implemented in Summer 2018 across six skill-building sessions. Participants learned skills that promote cognitive resilience, self-efficacy, stress management, rest and recovery, social support, and leadership. Data collection is ongoing. We hypothesize that student-athletes who received the Golden START program will show improvements from baseline to post-intervention on risk/stress and resiliency factors. Furthermore, we hypothesize participants in Golden START will have higher end of semester GPA and that they will be more likely to successfully complete college. The study is possible through an American Athletic Consortium Research Grant.

Developing Gold Medal Strategies for Strong Minds and Optimal Performance: A Resilience Program for First-Year College Student-Athletes

Gold Medal Strategies is a cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based program aimed at fostering resilience, promoting mental health, and facilitating the development of adaptive coping skills within first-year college student-athletes at The University of Tulsa. This randomized, controlled research study provided student-athletes in the resilience program with psychoedcuation and behavioral and cognitive skills, such as effective goal setting, mindfulness practices, and balanced thinking. Year one of this project was Danielle Zanotti’s dissertation project and data collection is on-going to follow participants through graduation (four year longitudinal study).

Clinical Outcomes of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Nightmares in Children (CBT-NC)

The CBT-NC Project (in collaboration with Dr. Tara Buck at OU School of Community Medicine Child Psychiatry) is a randomized controlled clinical trial of a nightmare treatment for children aged 5-17.  We anticipate enrolling participants soon. For more information, please contact us at 918-631-3242.


University of Tulsa Pre-Candidacy Projects:
Devin Barlaan (2018): A pilot study: The relationship between adverse childhood experience (ACEs), parenting stress and efficacy among military and veteran parents
Mollie Rischard (2018): The role of executive function in predicting children’s outcomes in a cognitive behavioral therapy for trauma-related nightmares
Kristen Gray (2017): Examining posttraumatic nightmare content in children and its relation to posttraumatic psychopathology
Danielle Zanotti (2014): Family deployment preparedness, reintegration attitudes, and PTSD symptoms in military fathers with young children
Emily Kaier (2013): Adverse childhood experiences: Allostatic load and health among elite athletes
Ashley Louie (2013): Military family stress and resilience
Katherine Cunningham (2012): Human trafficking myth acceptance, sexual trauma history, and attitudes about trafficking victims
University of Tulsa Senior Projects:
Tom Gaus (2014): Correlates of depression in athletes
Brooke Hinch (2014): Examining the relationship of two measures of executive function in young children
Chase Winterberg (2013): Attachment during military reintegration
Mitchell Johnson (2012): Psychological help seeking stigma among NCAA athletes
Kaylene Rojas (2012): A study about the benefits of interacting with a therapy dog following a medical exam