Current Projects & Active Studies - Kendall College of Arts and Sciences

Current Projects & Active Studies

Dismantling Study
Led by Jenny Lee & Caitlin Paquet
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 the 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 Jenny Lee
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.

Exposure Relaxation and Rescripting Therapy for Bipolar (B-ERRT)
Led by Dr. Joanne Davis
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 Matt Crowley
This project 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.”

The Experience of Dating Violence for Sexual Minority College Students
Led by Matt Crowley
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.


Past Studies


RCT5 – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) v. ERRT
Led by Jenny Lee & Caitlin Paquet
The purpose of this study is to compare to brief psychotherapies in their efficacy to reduce sleep disturbance, post-trauma nightmares, and suicidal ideation. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and ERRT are both evidence-based brief psychotherapies which have demonstrated efficacy in reducing insomnia and post-trauma nightmares, respectively. Current research suggests there is a link between sleep disturbance and increased suicidal ideation, with some studies suggesting this increase is driven by the experience of nightmares. This study aims to examine the differences between these two psychotherapies in reducing suicidal ideation by reducing sleep disturbances.

Alcohol and Consent
Led by Chelsea Cogan
The current study was designed to examine beliefs about alcohol, intoxication, and consent in college populations. Students are asked to read a brief vignette and then determine if what they read was a sexual assault or not. Additionally, the study aims to identify other indicators of intoxication that were not assessed in the vignette.

Broad Assessment of Differential Adaptation and Symptom Severity
Led by Jim Scholl
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, the 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.

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.

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
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.

Efficacy of a Brief Nightmare Treatment for Veterans
Dissertation Project led by: Noelle Balliett, Katherine Miller, & Dr. Davis
Replicating previous work indicating initial support for the use of Exposure, Relaxation, and Rescription Therapy (ERRT) for reduction of symptoms related to chronic nightmares among trauma-exposed veterans.

Treating post-trauma nightmares: A cognitive behavioral approach
Dr. Davis wrote her book describing the treatment she developed for trauma-related nightmares. The treatment is called Exposure, Relaxation, and Rescripting Therapy (ERRT) and has been empirically evaluated with positive results.

Randomized Clinical Trial
TRAPT Project & Dissertation (Christopher Cranston, Kristi Pruiksma)
A randomized clinical trial comparing two treatments for trauma related nightmares has now ended collecting data. Lab members served as phone screeners, therapists, and assessors. Therapy includes utilization of manualized treatment protocols and assessment includes the utilization of two structured interviews that are considered “gold standards”: The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID) and the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS).

Sexual Experiences Survey
Kimble*, Flack*, Elizabeth Avant, Christopher Cranston, Noelle Balliett
This study considered the unwanted sexual experiences of college students. Other variables included are alcohol consumption, traumatic experiences, and post traumatic stress symptoms.

Clinician Survey
Lillienfeld*, Lohr*, Thyer*, Dr. Davis, & Kristi Pruiksma
We conducted a survey to evaluate the prevalence of use of scientific and pseudoscientific treatments and assessments. The data collection is complete and analyses are forthcoming.

Effectiveness Study of a Trauma-Focused Treatment for Female Inmates
Dissertation Project- Rachael Swopes & Dr. Davis
This study is an evaluation of a group treatment focused on women, substance abuse, and trauma. The treatment was studied in a sample of incarcerated women in a minimum-security facility. Assessments were administered one week pre and post treatment. The intervention consists of a four-month treatment, Helping Women Recover/Beyond Trauma, by Stephanie Covington.

SANE Project
TITAN Project. Resnick*, Ruggerio*, Acierno*, Newman*, Foley*, Dr. Davis, Marsha Siebenmorgen, Rachael Swopes, & Katherine Miller (Ocast Grant – Complete)
The purpose of the SANE project is to examine factors which may mitigate the effects of sexual assault and rape. A brief video intervention will be used to assess effectiveness of post-assault education. In addition, the project aims to identify genetic markers of vulnerability through DNA testing. The project inspects the mental and physical health of recent assault survivors in hopes of improving both through better equipped psychological intervention.

Dream Survey
Rosen*, Lohr*, Dr. Davis, Elizabeth Avant, Rachel Wiedeman
The proposed study will provide for the measurement of fear-relevant dreams and their relationship to standardized measures of specific fears. In addition, differences in nightmare characteristics across three groups (e.g. no fear, fear without impairment, phobia with impairment) have been analyzed for a manuscript in preparation. Future analyses may be used for conference presentations. Data are currently being analyzed in preparation for publication of findings.

Bad Dreams vs. Nightmares
Full Lab
Nightmares are often defined as a frightening dream that wakes people up. The purpose of this study was to compare bad dreams (that do not wake the sleeper) and nightmares (the wake the sleeper) on emotional intensity and content to examine the adequacy of this definition of nightmares.

Evaluating Sexual Conceptions: Attitudes, Perceptions, Experiences & Disclosures
Led by Laura Luke
This study explores the psychological symptoms relating to different kinds of sexual assault experiences. The assessment materials evaluate participant’s knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions of sexual assault and rape.

History of Psychology Project
Textbooks about the history of psychology often exclude some very important contributors, especially women and members of minority groups. In Dr. Davis’ History of Psychology class, the class strives to go beyond the typical material taught in a History of Psychology class by focusing on these lesser known psychologists. Students work in groups to choose a woman psychologist or minority psychologist who has made a significant contribution to the field of psychology. They research that individual and make oral presentations to the class about the life, influences, and contributions of that individual.