Current Projects

Active Studies

Dismantling Study
Led by Rachel Micol
The purpose of this study is to extend previous findings regarding the impact of Exposure, Relaxation, and Rescripting Therapy (ERRT), a brief cognitive behavioral treatment for chronic nightmares, by examining the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral changes following different components of the treatment. Nightmares have been related to a variety of factors including stress, medications, trauma, and substance use. Three prior randomized-controlled trials have established the efficacy of the treatment in reducing nightmares and related distress, other sleep impairments, post-traumatic stress symptoms and depressive symptoms. The lab’s next step is to determine which, if any, of the treatment components (e.g., exposure, Psychoeducation, relaxation) are the most effective. This echoes the field with regard to treatment of nightmares and related sleep disturbances, in which people are now looking at the most effective components, effective combinations, and over what length of time.

RCT4 – Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) + ERRT
Led by Rachel Micol & Jennifer Steward
The purpose of this study is to extend previous findings regarding the efficacy of a brief treatment for chronic posttrauma nightmares and sleep problems by integrating this treatment with evidence-based treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a well-established and efficacious evidence-based psychological treatment for PTSD in both civilian and veteran populations. However, despite such promising evidence, individuals who experience chronic nightmares and sleep problems tend to show smaller gains and persistent nightmares following PTSD treatment. Exposure, relaxation, and rescripting therapy (ERRT) is a promising psychological intervention developed to target trauma-related nightmares and sleep disturbances.  Though further evidence is needed, ERRT has exhibited strong support in reducing the frequency and intensity of nightmares, as well as improving overall sleep quality in both civilian and veteran samples. There is a call to research suggesting the importance of treatment studies which focus on interventions that integrate nightmare and sleep symptom treatment with evidence-based treatment for PTSD. In an effort to respond to this call, we will tailor ERRT for use in conjunction with CPT, and preliminarily test ERRT’s additive effect to CPT in treating PTSD in community outpatients.

Broad Assessment of Differential Adaptation and Symptom Severity
Led by Jim Scholl & Christopher Cranston
The purpose of this study is to assess a broad range of psychological traits and symptoms as they relate to trauma, resilience, and adaptive/maladaptive behaviors. A broad assessment is necessary under the working hypothesis that an individual’s response to trauma is differentially influenced by many other factors; for example, personality traits, perceived and actual social support, locus of control, and others. This lab project was initiated by Christopher Cranston to introduce a new, undergraduate-driven, long-term lab project that will offer several research questions for posters and precandidacy projects. Additional packets can be added in order to collect longitudinal and additional data on individuals who have participated in the original battery.

Exposure Relaxation and Rescripting Therapy for Bipolar (B-ERRT)
Led by Katherine Miller
The purpose of this study will be to adapt the nightmare treatment (ERRT) for trauma exposed individuals with bipolar disorder.  In the past, our studies have excluded individuals with bipolar due to their inherent problems with sleep and the fact that our current treatment does not necessarily address the specific problems of bipolar.  This study will aid in determining if such a treatment will be helpful in reducing symptoms (e.g., nightmare frequency, intensity, depression/mania symptoms, and PTSD symptoms) in this specialized population.

Time to Report Rape
Led by Rachel Micol
This projects aims to clarify the mean, modal, and range of time frames that sexual assault survivors take to present for a SANE exam and possibly, to report their assault to the police, as well as to identify whether or not certain characteristics are associated with reporting times. We also seek to track arrest and court-related outcomes for sexual assault cases. Through the efforts of this project, we hope to enhance our understanding of reporting decisions, in addition to mitigating the stigma commonly associated with delayed reporting of sexual victimization. This project may be especially relevant in Tulsa, due to the fact that the district attorney’s office consider reports made over six hours after victimization as “delayed.”

Domestic Violence Intervention Services/Call Rape (DVIS) Program Evaluation
TITAN Project.  Led by Jennifer Steward
This study is examining readiness to change, emotional intelligence and PTSD symptoms as potential predictors of treatment outcome for male perpetrators of domestic violence. The sample consists of offenders attending a 52-week court-mandated treatment program at Domestic Violence Intervention Services (DVIS). This project also includes a follow-up study looking at recidivism rates in participants after completion of the program.

Domestic Violence Intervention Services/Call Rape (DVIS) Men’s and Women’s
Tentatively a TITAN Project.  Led by Jennifer Steward
This study aims to examine variables that may be related to a participant’s success in a 52-week court-mandated treatment program for Domestic Violence Offenders (Male and Female groups). This study will assess PTSD symptoms, exposure to traumatic events, depressive symptoms, and readiness to change at the beginning and end of the participant’s time in the program. Treatment outcome information and recidivism data will be collected on each participant following the program to evaluate the program’s effectiveness. The study will also include a qualitative analysis of readiness to change themes.

Advocacy Alliance/Interpersonal Violence Survey
Led by Dr. Davis, Rachel Micol, Jennifer Steward, Kelsey Hancock & Katherine Cunningham
The proposed study will investigate the prevalence rates and risk factors of interpersonal violence (physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional/psychological abuse, sexual harassment, and stalking) and other types of trauma in college students, attitudes toward the constructs surrounding interpersonal violence, knowledge of and access to resources, alcohol and drug consumption, mental health symptoms, and will inform programming to prevent and address such violence and enhance the safety and well-being of students.

Stress and Emotions
Led by Katherine Cunningham
This study examines the relationship between trauma-related shame and DSM-5 PTSD symptom severity, while controlling for trauma type and victim-perpetrator relationship.  Defining and measuring shame and distinguishing it from guilt have been consistent challenges in shame research.  This study will address some of these issues, thereby adding both generally to shame theory and to the understanding of trauma-specific shame in relationship to PTSD.  Emotion regulation and other trauma-related emotional responses, including guilt, fear, anger, aggression/hostility, and depression will also be assessed.

Prison Yoga Project
Led by Jim Scholl
While the department of corrections provides medical and psychological services, adjunctive therapies may further increase psychological well-being in a cost-effective manner. In recent years, studies have begun to explore the applicability of practices like meditation and yoga in prison. Thus far, these studies have shown promising results including reduced recidivism, decreased substance use, anxiety and depressive symptoms and an increase in psychosocial functioning (Harner, Hanlon & Garfinkel, 2010; Bilderbeck, Farias, Brazil, Jakobowitz & Wikhom, 2013).This study intends to explore the feasibility and efficacy of a structured yoga intervention in a female correctional facility.

The Experience of Dating Violence for Sexual Minority College Students
Led by Kelsey Hancock
The current study proposes to replicate and expound on current research related to dating violence in college student populations by exploring the prevalence and correlates of dating violence perpetration, victimization, and consequences in the context of sexual minority dating partnerships. Determining constructs and correlates that may be relevant and applicable to this minority population may provide crucial insight into ways to strengthen various aspects of academic and programmatic efforts related to dating violence on campuses throughout the country. This includes the potential not only to influence prevention, but also treatment, reporting, policy, and the overall campus climate.

A General Medical Opinion: In Regards to Psychological Treatment, Sleep Disturbances, and Nightmares
Led by Westley Youngren
This study was designed to gain a better understanding of the medical world’s perspective of psychological treatments, especially in regards to sleep disturbances and nightmares. The majority of patients with emotional or psychological problems are treated solely by general practitioners (GPs), without referral to specialist psychiatric, psychological or counselling services (Buka, Viscidi, & Susser, 2014; Goldberg, & Huxley, 1992). Due to a dramatic lack of referral to psychological treatment for sleep issues (such as chronic nightmares), there is believed to be mental health illiteracy in regards to sleep issues. Overall it remains unclear as to why patients are not referred to psychological treatment. The intention of this study is to acquire information that will help us gain a better understanding of why patients are not being referred to psychological treatment and what are the medical world’s views on psychological treatment in special regards to sleep disturbances and nightmares.