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Trauma and Addiction Project

Current Research

http://tracc.ccnysites.cuny.edu/

ACTIVE STUDIES

Concurrent Treatment for Substance Dependent Individuals With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • This NIDA funded clinical trial will use a randomized, controlled, repeated measures design to assess the efficacy of two active treatments (Concurrent Treatment of PTSD and Substance Dependence and Relapse Prevention Therapy) as compared to a control group in treating individuals with substance dependence and PTSD. Concurrent Treatment for PTSD and Substance Dependence is a manualized 12-week intervention, which applies cognitive-behavioral strategies and prolonged exposure (PE) techniques. Relapse Prevention Therapy is a widely used cognitive-behavioral skills training approach to initiating and maintaining abstinence from various types of substance abuse.
  • This trail aims to recruit 168 men and women with PTSD and substance dependence.
  • This study aims to:
    • evaluate the efficacy of the interventions in reducing substance use, PTSD symptoms, and global psychiatric symptoms
    • assess differences in retention across treatment groups

Social Scan Pilot Study

  • This City College of New York CITY SEEDS funded pilot study will employ a case-control experimental design using innovative, transdisciplinary assessment methodologies to examine how sociality affects threat processing in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and contributes to interpersonal impairments.
  • A modified version of the "Trust-Fear Facial Discrimination Task" and a Temporal Flanker Task will be used to investigate how sociality influences threat appraisal in individuals with and without PTSD. The neural markers of social versus nonsocial appraisal will be explored through Evoked-Related Potentials (ERP) markers using electroencephalography (EEG).
  • Participants in the case group will be 40 men and women with PTSD without co-morbid psychiatric diagnoses. The control group will consist of 20 healthy men and women.
  • This study aims to:
    • answer critical questions about how sociality affects threat processing in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and contributes to interpersonal impairments
    • examine whether social and nonsocial threat appraisal tasks will be able to discriminate between individuals with and without PTSD
    • evaluate differences in levels of distrust and threat perception between the case and control groups
Safe Steps
  • This NIAAA funded clinical trial uses a randomized, double-blind, repeated measures design to evaluate the efficacy of Seeking Safety (SS) in combination with an anti-depressant medication (Zoloft) in reducing alcohol use, PTSD severity and psychiatric symptoms over time. SS is an integrated cognitive-behavior therapy for the treatment of PTSD and substance use disorders. Eligible female participants are randomly assigned to one of two conditions (Seeking Safety plus Zoloft or Seeking Safety plus placebo). 
  • This study aims to recruit 100 women with PTSD and alcohol related problems, they could also have additional substance use problems or disorders.
  • This study aims to:
    • assess the efficacy of adding an anti-depressant medication to an empirically tested cognitive-behavioral treatment for women with co-morbid PTSD and alcohol related disorders.
    • assess the differences in retention rates across the two treatment conditions

REM Pilot Study

  • Racial/ethnic minority (REM) students are significantly underrepresented in doctoral programs in psychology.This privately funded pilot study will usesemi-structured researcher-facilitated discussion groupsto gather information about the factors that influence REM students' decisions to apply to psychology graduate programs.
  • The study aims to recruit 50 racial/ethnic minority undergraduate
    psychology students who are attending an urban college in NYC.
  • The specific aims of this study are to:
    • identify and examine factors that influence REM undergraduate students' decisions to apply to psychology graduate programs
    • develop a workshop and brochure for REM undergraduate students to aid in their preparation and decisions about applying to psychology graduate programs
    • disseminate research findings, workshop resources, and brochures to CUNY programs and local conferences.

TRACC Program

  • TRACC (Translational Research Training in Addictions for Racial/Ethnic Minorities at the City College of New York and Columbia University Medical Center) aims to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented minority groups conducting translational addiction research.  
    • According to a 2011 article in Science, a low percentage of minority scientists achieve success in research award funding despite years of field-wide diversification efforts. Additionally, as the field of translational neuroscience continues to expand, the numbers of qualified minority scientists with interdisciplinary training lags behind. TRACC addresses these gaps by reaching earlier into the career development pipeline to identify and actively facilitate the professional success of the most talented minority students.
    • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has awarded $1.5 million to support TRACC’s mission. TRACC capitalizes on CCNY’s exceptional pool of diverse students, its renowned multidisciplinary faculty and a novel collaboration with substance use researchers at CUMC. TRACC will train 20 researchers over the next five years. Trainees will be selected from a pool of faculty-nominated CCNY graduate psychology students plus students in the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education’s BS/MD program. An initial cohort of four will begin training in the spring of 2014.
    • For more information visit the website:  tracc.ccnysites.cuny.edu

COMPLETED STUDIES


Predictors of Interpersonal Violence for Inner City Women

  • This NIDA funded five year longitudinal case-control study compared diagnostic and psychosocial predictors of interpersonal victimization and perpetration among urban women with crack/cocaine dependence and depression.
  • Participants were 333 inner-city women with co-morbid crack/cocaine dependence and depression.
  • This study aimed to:
    • explore the degree to which a history of childhood abuse, crack/cocaine abuse, and/or depression predict violent victimization and aggressive violent behavior

Treatment Outcomes for Cocaine Dependent Women Study

  • This NIDA-funded clinical trial used a quasi-experimental design to assess the effect of two cognitive-behavioral therapies (Seeking Safety and Relapse Prevention Treatment) on a range of issues associated with complex trauma. Eligible participants were randomly assigned to one of the two psychotherapy treatments and were seen twice weekly for approximately three months. A non-randomized treatment-as-usual comparison group was also being studied.
  • Participants were 107 urban, low-income women with co-morbid substance use disorders and PTSD.
  • This study:
    • assessed the efficacy across treatment arms in reducing drug and alcohol use
    • evaluated retention rates in substance abuse treatment
    • reduced psychiatric symptoms of PTSD and other trauma-related conditions
    • reduced HIV risk behavior

Women and Trauma Multi-Site Study in NIDA's Clinical Trials Network

  • This NIDA-funded clinical trial used a randomized, controlled, repeated measures design to assess the effectiveness of Seeking Safety (SS) compared with a control treatment (Women's Health Education, WHE), in addition to standard outpatient substance abuse treatment on psychiatric symptoms and substance use outcomes. Seeking Safety is an integrated cognitive-behavior therapy for the treatment of PTSD and substance use disorders. Women's Health education was developed for this trial to serve as a credible comparison with the rationale being the connection between trauma and physical health issues.
  • Participants were 353 women with PTSD receiving treatment at community substance abuse programs at six sites across the country.
  • This study:
    • assessed the effectiveness of adding two psychosocial interventions to on-going substance abuse treatment
    • evaluated the application of the treatment in community settings when delivered by clinicians in the community

Cocaine, Self-Regulation and Maternal/Child Aggression Study

  • NIDA-funded cross-generation case control design, comparing three groups of women and their pre/early adolescent children. Based on previous studies, the model that was tested hypothesized that emotion regulation may be one important mediator of the relationships between drug use and parenting deficits.
  • Participants were 187 women divided into three groups: cocaine using, depressed, and a healthy control along with their pre-adolescent children (ages 9-15).
  • This study:
    • examined the association between maternal impairments (substance use disorders, general psychopathology, and cognitive/emotional self-regulation disturbances), child-rearing deficits (lack of empathic involvement, poor monitoring, parent-child conflicts, use of harsh discipline, child abuse and neglect), and adverse child outcomes (child self-regulation deficits, aggressive/delinquent behaviors, and substance use)

  

COMPLETED DISSERTATIONS


Stephen Anen, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Graduate Center, CUNY

  • Using a psychoanalytic concept of dissociation based on deficits in the use of transitional space between reality and fantasy, the Rorschach can be used to examine dissociative processes.  Pre-treatment Rorschach assessment will be compared versus standard self-report research instruments in order to examine the presence of multiple types of dissociation within the target population.
  • Measures used:
    • The Rorschach Test
    • The Dissociative Experiences Scale
    • The Multiscale Dissociation Inventory
  • This study aims to:
    • evaluate the relationship between pre- treatment measures of dissociative processes and study outcome measures in order to analyze the possible interaction between pre-treatment dissociation and response to treatment.

Joanna Fava, Ph.D., Fordham University

  • This proposal utilizes a cross-generation design, looking at 179 mothers and their pre/early adolescent children (ages 9-15). Based on previous studies, the model that was tested hypothesized that child emotion regulation may be one important mediator of the relationships between maternal anger and child externalizing and internalizing outcomes.
  • Measures used:
    • Novaco Anger Scale
    • Parental Punitiveness Scale
    • Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales
    • Emotion Regulation Checklist
    • Child Behavior Checklist

  • This study aims to:
    • examine the association between maternal anger, the use of harsh punishment, and  adverse child outcomes (aggressive/delinquent behaviors and emotional problems).  In addition, child emotion regulation was considered as a mediator between maternal factors (i.e., anger and the use of harsh discipline) and child outcomes (i.e., internalizing and/or externalizing problems).

Amber Kraft Nemeth, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Graduate Center, CUNY

  • This study is a secondary analysis of data collected from a cross-sectional and cross-generational study designed to examine associations among maternal impairments (substance abuse, general psychopathology, neuropychological functioning), child-rearing deficits (parenting deficits, child neglect, child physical/ sexual abuse), and adverse child outcomes (self-regulation deficits, aggressive behavior, and substance use). The current study aims to understand the links between maternal childhood interpersonal violence (IPV) exposure and behavioral problems in her pre- to early-adolescent children. Using a bootstrapping mediational model we will examine whether interpersonal and intrapsychic mechanisms account for this relationship.
  • Measures used:
    • Life Events Checklist
    • Conflict Tactics Scale
    • Parent Punitiveness Scale
    • Child Abuse Potential Inventory
    • Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scale
    • Toronto Alexithymia Scale
    • The SCID–SAC Version
    • Child Behavior Checklist

  • This study aims to:
    • investigate whether forms of maternal aggression (psychological, physical, emotional) and maternal affect dysregulation (PTSD, alexithymia) mediate the relationship between maternal childhood IPV exposure and adverse child outcomes in the next generation.

Teresa Lopez-Castro, Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, Graduate Center, CUNY

  • The proposed study will perform secondary analyses utilizing a novel analytic technique (latent growth mixture modeling) on a large, multi-site randomized trial conducted by the NIDA's Clinical Trial Network in evaluation of psychosocial treatments for women with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders. Utilizing a longitudinal, repeated measures design, the study will identify post-treatment patterns of substance use.
  • Measures used:
    • Addiction Severity Index, Lite Version
    • Substance Use Inventory
    • Clinician Administered PTSD Scale
    • Composite International Diagnostic Interview for DSM-IV

  • This study aims to:
    • classify trajectories of alcohol and substance use during the first 12 months following treatment
    • explore the association between differing trajectories and a suite of person-based and environmental variables that reflect individual characteristics, treatment factors, and post-treatment factors. It is hypothesized that there will exist multiple trajectories of post-treatment substance and alcohol use

Jennifer Sawaya, Ph.D., Doctoral Candidate, Rutgers University

  • This proposal addresses therapeutic alliance and complex trauma within the Clinical Trials Network Women and Trauma study dataset. The study will examine whether therapeutic alliance predicts/ mediates changes in symptoms and behaviors associated with complex trauma post-treatment.
  • Measures used:
    • Helping Alliance Questionnaire
    • The ASI-Lite (Medical, Family/ Social, Psychiatric sections)
    • The Risky Behaviors survey
    • The Non-study Medical Services Form and Addendum Follow-up
    • The BSI
  • This study aims to:
    • examine whether therapeutic alliance predicts/ mediates changes in symptoms and behaviors associated with complex trauma post-treatment. including frequency and severity of medical complaints, extent of medical service usage, interpersonal functioning (possibly domestic violence/ partner violence in particular), and engagement in risky behaviors.


CURRENT DISSERTATION PROPOSALS

Martha Perez Calderon, M.Phil., Doctoral Candidate, Clinical Psychology, Graduate Center, CUNY

  • The proposed study will perform secondary analyses on a large, multi-site randomized trial conducted by the NIDA's Clinical Trial Network in evaluation of psychosocial treatments for women with co-occurring PTSD and substance use disorders. Utilizing a longitudinal, repeated measures design, the study will identify the interrelation of the three PTSD clusters and alcohol, marijuana and cocaine.
  • Measures used:
    • Timeline Followback
    • Substance Use Inventory
    • Clinician Administered PTSD Scale

  • This study aims to:
    • further the understanding on the association between the three drug classes (alcohol, marijuana and cocaine) to a particular PTSD cluster (re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance and numbing symptoms, and symptoms of increased arousal)
    • explore the changes in the severity of these PTSD clusters in relation to frequency and quantity of substance use
    • follow these changes longitudinally from baseline to one year post-treatment

 Patricia Yoon, M.A., Doctoral Candidate, Clinical Psychology, Graduate Center, CUNY

  • Using data from the Social and Nonsocial Appraisal in PTSD project, this proposal will explore how cognitive/attentional processing may correlate with defensive strategies in individuals with PTSD.
  • Measures used:
    • Dot Probe, Flanker Task
  • This study aims to:
    • better understand the cognitive impairments of individuals with PTSD and the very specific difficulties they experience in their ability to think