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Anka A. Vujanovic, Ph.D.


Anka A. Vujanovic, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Director, Trauma and Stress Studies Center (TaSSC)
Clinical Psychology
Ph.D., University of Vermont

Email: aavujano@central.uh.edu
713-743-3241

Dr. Vujanovic will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2019-2020 academic year. Application deadline is Dec 1, 2018. Please see Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data for details.

Biographical Summary

Dr. Vujanovic is an Associate Professor of Psychology, licensed clinical psychologist, and Director of the Trauma and Stress Studies Center (TaSSC) at the University of Houston. She is also the Co-Director of the Trauma and Anxiety Clinic of Houston (TrACH), a community-focused specialty clinic housed in the Psychology Research and Services Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston. Dr. Vujanovic holds concurrent appointments as Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and Research Psychologist (WOC) at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. She received a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont and completed the pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship program at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Vujanovic held previous positions as Assistant Professor at UTHealth and Staff Research Psychologist/Assistant Professor at the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Behavioral Science Division, VA Boston Healthcare System/Boston University School of Medicine. 

Dr. Vujanovic’s research program is focused on three interwoven lines of inquiry: (1) investigation of etiological and maintenance processes related to PTSD; (2) exploration of clinically significant correlates of trauma exposure and PTSD (e.g., suicidality); and (3) examination of biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying the comorbidity of PTSD and substance use disorders. The overarching aim of this program of work is to inform novel treatment development and refine evidence-based clinical practice. Dr. Vujanovic is an Associate Editor for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness, and she serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Behaviour Research and Therapy, Current Opinion in Psychology, Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, and Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. She is the Founding Chair of the Trauma and Substance Use Disorders Special Interest Group of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (2010-present). Dr. Vujanovic has authored over 140 publications, including journal articles, books, and book chapters.

Research Interests

  • Etiological and maintenance processes relevant to PTSD
  • Clinical correlates of trauma and PTSD (e.g., suicidality)
  • Biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying co-occurring posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders
  • Treatment development for PTSD and co-occurring conditions

Teaching Interests

  • Abnormal Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (graduate)
  • Psychopathology (graduate)
  • Clinical Supervision (graduate)

Selected Recent Publications

Note: Underline denotes mentored student/trainee.

Vujanovic, A. A., & Zegel, M. (in press). Distress tolerance and posttraumatic stress. In M. T. Tull & N. A. Kimbrel (Eds.), Emotion in posttraumatic stress disorder. New York: Guilford Press.

Vujanovic, A. A., & Back, S. E. (in press). PTSD and substance use disorders: A clinical overview. In A. A. Vujanovic & S. E. Back (Eds.), Posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders: A comprehensive clinical handbook. New York: Routledge.

Bartlett, B.A., Gallagher, M. W., Tran, J. K., & Vujanovic, A. A. (in press). Military veteran status and PTSD symptom severity among firefighters: The role of emotion regulation. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

Smith, L. J., Gallagher, M. W., Tran, J. K., & Vujanovic, A. A. (in press). Posttraumatic stress, alcohol use, and alcohol use motives in firefighters: The role of sleep disturbance. Comprehensive Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2018.09.001

D’Souza, J., Wardle, M. C., Green, C. E., Lane, S. D., Schmitz, J. M., & Vujanovic, A. A. (in press). Resting heart rate variability: Exploring associations with symptom severity in adults with substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress. Journal of Dual Diagnosis. doi: 10.1080/15504263.2018.1526431

Smith, L. J., Paulus, D. J., Gallagher, M. W., Norman, S., Tran, J., & Vujanovic, A. A. (in press). Perceived stress and alcohol dependence in firefighters: The role of posttraumatic stress. International Journal of Stress Management.

Smith, L. J., Bartlett, B. A., Gallagher, M. W., Tran, J. K., Alfano, C. A., & Vujanovic, A. A. (in press). Sleep disturbance among firefighters: Understanding associations with alcohol use and distress tolerance. Cognitive Therapy and Research. doi: 10.1007/s10608-018-9955-0

Vujanovic, A. A., Smith, L. J., Tipton, K. P., & Schmitz, J. M. (in press). A novel, integrated cognitive-behavioral therapy for co-occurring posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders: A case study. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpra.2018.03.003

Bartlett, B. A., Smith, L. J., Tran, J. K., & Vujanovic, A. A. (2018). Understanding mental health among military veterans in the fire service. Psychiatry Research, 267, 394-399.

Bartlett, B. A., Jardin, C., Martin, C., Tran, J. K., Buser, S. J., Anestis, M., & Vujanovic, A. A. (2018). Posttraumatic stress and suicidality in firefighters: The moderating role of distress tolerance. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 42, 483-496. doi: 10.1007/s10608-018-9892-y

Cheng, S., Banks, K., Bartlett, B. A., & San Miguel, G., & Vujanovic, A. A. (2018). Posttraumatic stress and mindfulness facets in relation to suicidal ideation severity among psychiatric inpatients. Mindfulness, 9, 761-772. doi: 10.1007/s12671-017-0814-y

Stanley, I. H., Smith, L. J., Boffa, J. W., Tran, J. K., Schmidt, N. B., Joiner, T. E., & Vujanovic, A. A. (2018). Anxiety sensitivity and suicide risk among firefighters: A test of the depression-distress amplification model. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 84, 39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2018.03.014

Vujanovic, A. A., Wardle, M. C., Bakhshaie, J., Smith, L. J., Green, C., Lane, S. D., & Schmitz, J. M. (2018). Distress tolerance: Associations with trauma- and drug-cue reactivity in low-income, inner-city adults with substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 32, 264-276. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/adb0000362

Vujanovic, A. A., Farris, S. G., Bartlett, B. A., Lyons, R. C., Haller, M., Colvonen, P. J., & Norman, S. B. (2018). Anxiety sensitivity in the association between posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 62, 37-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cpr.2018.05.003

Vujanovic, A. A., Smith, L. J., Green, C. E., Lane, S. D., & Schmitz, J. M. (2018). Development of a novel, integrated cognitive-behavioral therapy for co-occurring posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders: A pilot randomized clinical trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 65, 123-129. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.12.013

Vujanovic, A. A., Berenz, E. C., & Bakhshaie, J. (2017). Multimodal examination of distress tolerance and suicidality in acute-care psychiatric inpatients.  Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 8, 376-389.  doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.059416

Vujanovic, A. A., Bakhshaie, J., Martin, C., Reddy, M. K., & Anestis, M. D. (2017). Posttraumatic stress and distress tolerance: Associations with suicidality in acute-care psychiatric inpatients. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 205, 531-541. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000690

Vujanovic, A. A., Dutcher, C. D., & Berenz, E. C. (2017). Multimodal examination of distress tolerance and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms in acute-care psychiatric inpatients. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 48, 45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2016.08.005

Vujanovic, A. A., Meyer, T. D., Heads, A. M., Stotts, A. L., Villarreal, Y. R., & Schmitz, J. M. (2017). Cognitive-behavioral therapies for depression and substance use disorders: An overview of traditional, third-wave, and transdiagnostic approaches. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 43, 402-415. doi: 10.1080/00952990.2016.1199697

Vujanovic, A. A., Wardle, M. C., Smith, L. J., & Berenz, E. C. (2017). Reward functioning in posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. Current Opinion in Psychology, 14, 49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2016.11.004