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Research

The TaSSC mission is grounded in two inter-related lines of research, guided by several empirically identified obstacles to the alleviation of suffering among individuals who have experienced traumatic life events or suffer from PTSD:

  1. We are interested in the investigation of risk and maintenance processes for subclinical and full (diagnostic) PTSD, particularly those that may be targeted via cognitive-behavioral strategies (e.g., emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness), so as to develop novel intervention approaches or improve engagement with or outcomes of extant evidence-based treatments.

    WHY?

    Despite the availability of effective evidence-based treatments for PTSD, a substantial proportion of individuals with PTSD do not seek treatment, drop out prematurely, or refuse treatment. To improve engagement with and outcomes of extant treatments, we need to know more about the processes, targetable via intervention, related to the etiology and maintenance of PTSD.

    Furthermore, subclinical PTSD symptoms, as well as full (diagnostic) PTSD, are related to functional impairment and distress. However, only limited research is available on effective avenues for improving well-being among individuals who may not meet full PTSD criteria but are experiencing distress and hardship in the aftermath of trauma.

  2. We are also dedicated to the examination of biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying the highly prevalent co-occurrence of posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders so as to inform treatment development and refinement efforts for this difficult-to-treat population.

    WHY?

    PTSD rarely manifests as a singular condition. In fact, over 80% of individuals with PTSD also have co-occurring conditions, and substance use disorders (SUD) are among the most common. Many individuals with PTSD report using substances to manage the emotions and symptoms associated with traumatic stress; PTSD is a major risk factor for poor SUD treatment outcomes; and substance use can complicate PTSD treatment efforts. However, there are few evidence-based integrated treatment options for PTSD-SUD, and there is still much to be learned about this complex comorbidity.