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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


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 and a licensed clinical psychologist. She is the Director of the Trauma and Stress Studies Center (TaSSC) at the University of Houston, where 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. 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 serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Behaviour Research and TherapyCurrent Opinion in PsychologyJournal of Trauma and DissociationPsychological 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 120 journal articles and books/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)
  • Clinical Supervision (graduate)

Selected Recent Publications

Note: Underline denotes mentored student/trainee.

Vujanovic, A. A., Litz, B. T., & Farris, S. G. (2015). Distress tolerance as risk and maintenance factors for PTSD: Empirical and clinical implications (pp. 1-13). In C. R. Martin, V. R. Preedy, & V. B. Patel (Eds.), Comprehensive guide to posttraumatic stress disorder. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Stotts, A. L., Vujanovic, A. A., Heads, A., Suchting, R., Green, C. E., & Schmitz, J. M. (2015). The role of avoidance and inflexibility in characterizing response to contingency management for cocaine dependence: A secondary profile analysis. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29, 408-413.

Vujanovic, A. A., Wardle, M. C., Liu, S., Dias, N. R., & Lane, S. D. (2016). Attentional bias in adults with cannabis use disorders. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 35, 144-153.

Vujanovic, A. A., Rathnayaka, N., Amador, C., & Schmitz, J. M. (2016). Distress tolerance: Associations with posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms among trauma-exposed, cocaine-dependent adults. Behavior Modification, 40, 120-143.

Paulus, D. J., Vujanovic, A. A., & Wardle, M. C. (2016). Anxiety sensitivity and alcohol use among trauma-exposed, acute-care psychiatric inpatients: The mediating role of emotion regulation difficulties. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 40, 813-823.

Vujanovic, A. A., Bonn-Miller, M. O., & Petry, N. M. (2016). Co-occurring posttraumatic stress and substance use: Emerging research on correlates, mechanisms, and treatments – Introduction to the special issue. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 30, 713-719.

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

Vujanovic, A. A., & Schnurr, P. P. (2017). Editorial overview: Advances in science and practice in traumatic stress. Current Opinion in Psychology, 14, iv-viii.

Paulus, D. J., Vujanovic, A. A., Schuhmann, B. B.Smith, L. J., & Tran, J. K. (2017). Examining main and interactive effects of depression and posttraumatic stress in relation to alcohol dependence among firefighters. Psychiatry Research, 251, 69-75.

Martin, C., Vujanovic, A. A., Paulus, D. J.Bartlett, B., Gallagher, M. W., & Tran, J. K. (2017). Alcohol use and suicidality in firefighters: Associations with depressive symptoms and posttraumatic stress. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 74, 44-52.

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 overreview of traditional, third-wave, and transdiagnostic approaches. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 43, 402-415

Dutcher, C. D., Vujanovic, A. A., Paulus, D. J., & Bartlett, B. A. (2017). Childhood maltreatment severity and alcohol use in adult psychiatric inpatients: The mediating role of emotion regulation difficulties. General Hospital Psychiatry, 48, 42-50.

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

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.

Cheng, SBanks, K.Bartlett, B., & San Miguel, G., & Vujanovic, A. A. (in press). Posttraumatic stress and mindfulness facets in relation to suicidal ideation severity among psychiatric inpatients. Mindfulness.

Berenz, E. C., Vujanovic, A. A., Rappaport, L., Kevorkian, S., Gonzalez, R. E., Chowdhury, N., Dutcher, C. D., Dick, D., Kendler, K., & Amstadter, A. (in press). Childhood trauma and distress tolerance in a trauma-exposed, acute-care psychiatric inpatient sample. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy

Vujanovic, A. A., Berenz, E. C., & Bakhshaie, J. (in press). Multimodal examination of distress tolerance and suicidality in acute-care psychiatric inpatients.  Journal of Experimental Psychopathology.

Bartlett, B. A., Jardin, C., Martin, C., Tran, J. K., Buser, S. J., Anestis, M., & Vujanovic, A. A. (in press). Posttraumatic stress and suicidality in firefighters: The moderating role of distress tolerance. Cognitive Therapy and Research.