Research and Scholarship Groups

Our Research and Scholarship Groups (RSGs) have been developed by the Program Faculty to introduce students to both the research endeavors of the faculty as well as provide a means to get hands-on research experience from the start of their clinical training. Students at the beginning of each academic year are able to sit in on these faculty-student meetings and then rank order their preferences for the RSG they would like to become a member of. Each of the RSGs require five hours of commitment every week outside of the mandatory programmatic meeting requirements. Listed below are the ongoing RSGs of each faculty member:

Faculty Lead:  Dr. Deidre Anglin

Dr. Anglin’s research lab uses concepts in multicultural psychology (e.g., ethnic identity, racial microaggressions, neighborhood ethnic density) to understand social determinants of racial health disparities with a particular focus on racial disparities in psychosis and psychosis risk. Members of Dr. Anglin’s RSG are involved in any of several quantitative research projects designed to determine social and environmental risk factors for attenuated psychotic symptoms in racial and ethnic minority young people, and the clinical meaning of such symptoms. Student members of this RSG can also participate in experimental studies designed to determine the physiological and psychological stress response associated with racial exclusion. Students have ample opportunities to develop their own projects in Dr. Anglin’s lab and to contribute to manuscripts using Dr. Anglin’s data.

Faculty Lead:  Dr. Eric Fertuck

Normal and pathological personality characteristics are influenced by many factors: social, emotional, cognitive, psychodynamic, and neurobiological.  At Social Neuroscience and Psychopathology (SNAP) lab, we integrate these multiple levels to investigate the mechanisms of psychological disturbance and their treatment. Our lab advances a collaborative program of research at the interface of the clinical and research understanding of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), a condition characterized by intense concerns about abandonment, confusion about the self, emotional instability, and, for some, self-destructive and suicidal behaviors.  What is unique about our team is that we harnesses these multiple perspectives to advance our understanding of the mechanisms of psychopathology and its treatment.

Faculty Lead:  Dr. Elliot Jurist

During the past two years, Dr. Jurist's RSG has focused on developing a new measure of emotions: the Mentalized Affectviity Scale (MAS). The scale delineates three aspects of emotional experience: identifying, modulating/processing, and expressing emotions.  It also examines the construct of mentalized affectivity, the capacity to understand emotions in light of one’s autobiographical memory. Some students are undertaking projects using the MAS; other students are working on other, independent projects.

Faculty Lead: Dr. Sarah O'Neill

Dr. O’Neill runs the Attention and Neuropsychological Development (ATT&ND) Lab at CCNY.  The ATT&ND Lab studies the neuropsychological and psychosocial factors that increase risk for, and moderate the trajectory of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) across the lifespan. At the group level, this highly prevalent neurodevelopmental disorder is associated with significant functional impairment across several domains.  These group-level characteristics, however, hide the incredible heterogeneity that characterizes the disorder, and that has made it extremely challenging for researchers to the identify the pathophysiology of the disorder, effective interventions that alter trajectories of the disorder, and the associated outcomes of ADHD, particularly at the level of the individual. The ATT&ND Lab uses a multi-method approach to better understand the factors that affect the course of the disorder and the difficulties experienced in key areas of functioning, including interpersonal relationships, education and employment, and physical health, with the view to inform the development of evidence-based interventions for the disorder.
The ATT&ND Lab has four main areas of research:

1. What Role Does Executive Dysfunction Play In ADHD?
Several prominent theories of ADHD emphasize the importance of higher order cognitive dysfunction, such as working memory difficulties and behavioral disinhibition, as central to ADHD etiology.  It is clear, however, that successful performance on executive function tasks does not solely depend on the higher-order cognitive ability of interest, but also on many non-executive processes (e.g., processing efficiency, motivation).  We are investigating how these more basic processes impact on an individual's performance on executive function tasks to better understand how and to what extent executive function deficits are manifested in children and adolescents with ADHD.
2. Why Are Children and Adults With ADHD At Greater Risk Of Obesity?
Researchers have tended to investigate the cognitive, academic and social difficulties faced by individuals with ADHD, while their physical health has been less well studied.  Recent evidence suggests, however, that children and adults with ADHD are at greater risk of excessive weight gain, which places them at risk for myriad health problems.  We study common neural and neuropsychological risk factors for both ADHD and obesity, with a view to informing intervention design.
3. How Does Physical Exercise Impact Cognitive Functioning?
There is a robust literature, primarily in animals and in aging human populations, showing that physical exercise positively impacts brain structure and cognitive performance. Less is known, however, about the impact of physical exercise on the cognitive functioning of young adults and children; this is particularly the case for individuals with ADHD.  We are investigating the acute effects of moderate intensity exercise on young adults' working memory and different aspects of attention.  Furthermore, we are also interested in better understanding the factors that may moderate the relation between exercise and cognitive functioning, such as body mass index, fitness level, ADHD symptom severity, and severity of internalizing problems.
4. Why Are Children With ADHD At Risk For Learning Problems?
The co-occurrence of a learning disorder in children with ADHD, and of ADHD in children with a learning disorder is around 15-40%, irrespective of whether community or clinical samples are recruited. We investigate why children with inattention may be at greater risk of developing a learning disorder, with a special focus on neuropsychological mechanisms that may explain the ADHD-learning disorder relation.

Faculty Lead: Dr. Sasha Rudenstine

Dr. Rudenstine runs the INTERSECT Lab at CCNY.

  The INTERSECT Lab is a clinical and epidemiological research program that examines the intersection of trajectories of well-being and the urban functioning poor.  What are extraordinary events for many individuals are daily experiences in the lives of this population. And yet, while such stressors may become commonplace, they affect daily functioning and arguably long-term health outcomes.  The INTERSECT Lab adopts a multi-level approach and ecological framework to understanding the cumulative effect of these chronic and yet quotidian experiences on well-being.  We aim to examine and reassess frequently used terms such as trauma, health, family systems, and poverty to reflect the experiences that are relevant and specific to an urban marginalized population with the aim of promoting appropriate and targeted interventions and policies.  In this vein, we are redefining “extraordinary” life course phenomenon.
The INTERSECT Lab aims to examine three distinct dimensions of health as well as points of intersection:

  1. Well-being among marginalized urban populations

Using socioeconomic status and geographic location, we aim to determine what percent of the US population meets criteria for ‘marginalized urban’. Additionally, we will identify those experiences that are unique to this population and which affect short- and long-term health outcomes.These explorations will inform interventions and policies that can improve health outcomes for marginalized urban population

  1. Daily stressors over the life course

An abundance of research examines the long-term outcomes of trauma on well-being.However, less attention has been given to understanding the role of daily stressors on everyday functioning or long-term health.Within urban settings, such experiences are significantly more unique for marginalized populations. Our Lab explores the effect of such experiences on psychological health in a clinical care setting as well as at a population level.

  1. Clinical care: Access to, utilization, and long-term outcomes

Urban marginalized populations have access to disproportionately fewer mental health services and are less likely to receive care than non-Hispanic White Americans despite having similar rates of mental disorders.  Similarly, due to the scarcity of resources, few urban community-based mental health clinics measure trajectories of clinical care or treatment outcomes.  The INTERSECT Lab launched the Psychotherapy Evaluation and Clinical Effectiveness (PEACE) and Child Health and Psychotherapy (CHAP) Programs to study the (1) individual-level factors that mediate treatment outcomes among patients of an urban community-based setting, (2) effectiveness of psychodynamic individual therapy on a number of patient outcomes throughout the course of one’s treatment, and (3) role of stigma (individual and institutional) on the utilization and retention of psychological services among an urban marginalized population.

Faculty Lead: Dr. Megan Finsaas

Dr. Finsaas is a clinical psychologist whose research focuses on separation anxiety in adulthood. Historically, separation anxiety was considered a problem of childhood. But recent research suggests that 1 in 15 people will experience separation anxiety in adulthood, many of them for the first time (as opposed to as a continuation from childhood). When experienced in adulthood, separation anxiety is associated with poorer treatment outcomes and impaired functioning, making it an important area of study with clear clinical value.
Dr. Finsaas’ research on adult separation anxiety covers three areas:
1. Relationship dynamics in adult separation anxiety. This work aims to identify common characteristics in the ways that adults with separation anxiety relate to others, particularly romantic partners, as well as common characteristics in relationships with early caregivers. This work is grounded in psychoanalytic object relations theory with particular focus on feelings of incompetence, ambivalence, tendencies toward aggression and somatization, and concerns about harm.

2. Attentional-representational processes in adult separation anxiety. Previous work suggests that adults with separation anxiety have higher levels of the personality characteristics of absorption or transcendence, traits that can be understood as indexing styles of attending to objects, and other stimuli, in the environment. This work aims to explore how these attentional-representational tendencies relate to the difficulties that adults with separation anxiety experience upon or in anticipation of separation events.  

3. Measurement of adult separation anxiety. This work aims to further validate an existing measure of adult separation anxiety (ASA-27) in clinical and diverse samples, and to extend it to include items that reflect common modern ways of relating and regulating distance/closeness in relationships, namely, texting and social media use.
In addition, Dr. Finsaas conducts research on statistical methods, specifically on non-additive effects (interactions) in linear regression. She has developed two Shiny web applications that make her and her collaborator’s work available for practical use by researchers. She also uses factor analysis and structural equation modeling in her work and is generally interested in questions of statistical measurement.
We welcome students with interests in any of the above areas to work with us. Lab activities will include journal clubs on both theoretical (psychoanalytic) and empirical papers, student presentations of ongoing work, and activities related to professional development and research, such as grant writing.

Last Updated: 02/03/2024 08:11