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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
Director of Graduate Education
Ph.D., University of Vermont

Heyne Building, Room 201C
Email: aavujano@central.uh.edu
713-743-3241

Dr. Vujanovic will be reviewing applications for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Biographical Summary

Dr. Vujanovic is Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Education, and Director of the Trauma and Stress Studies Center in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston (UH). She is a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Texas. Dr. Vujanovic holds concurrent appointments as Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the UH College of Medicine and Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. 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 Brown University Clinical Psychology Training Consortium.

Dr. Vujanovic’s research program is oriented to understanding the complexity of PTSD and some of its most prevalent and high-risk correlates, including substance use disorders (SUD) and suicide risk, through the study of underlying psychological mechanisms relevant to treatment development. Her work is comprised of interrelated lines of inquiry: (1) investigation of psychological and behavioral processes relevant to the etiology and maintenance of (a) PTSD symptoms and (b) PTSD/SUD; (2) examination of suicide risk among trauma-exposed populations; and (3) development of theoretically and empirically driven, novel interventions for PTSD and co-occurring conditions that target the psychological mechanisms isolated in more basic research. She has utilized various methodological approaches, including clinical trials, longitudinal methods, health services research, and experimental laboratory paradigms. Dr. Vujanovic’s studies have been conducted in academic clinical research centers, first responder departments, medical and mental health clinics, and acute-care psychiatric inpatient hospitals. Her work encompasses populations exposed to diverse types of trauma, including community residents, adults receiving psychiatric inpatient services, military veterans, first responders, and human trafficking survivors. Dr. Vujanovic has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, Veterans Health Administration, American Cancer Society, and private foundations. Dr. Vujanovic is an Associate Editor for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness, and she serves on the editorial boards of seven additional journals. Dr. Vujanovic has authored over 175 publications, including journal articles, books, and book chapters.

Research Interests

  • Etiological and maintenance processes relevant to PTSD
  • Clinical correlates of trauma and PTSD
  • Biopsychosocial mechanisms underlying co-occurring posttraumatic stress and substance use
  • Clinical correlates of suicide risk among trauma-exposed populations
  • Treatment development for PTSD and co-occurring conditions

Teaching Interests

  • Introduction to Clinical Psychology (undergraduate)
  • Psychopathology (graduate)

Selected Recent Publications

Note: Underline denotes current or past mentored student or trainee; asterisk (*) denotes corresponding authorship.

Stanley, I. H., Marx, B. P., Keane, T. M., & Vujanovic, A. A.* (2021). PTSD symptoms among trauma-exposed adults admitted to inpatient psychiatry for suicide-related concerns. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 133, 60-66. 

Vujanovic, A. A., Lebeaut, A. M., & Leonard, S. (in press). Evaluating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of first responders. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

Jennings, A. N., Soder, H. E., Wardle, M. C., Schmitz, J. M., & Vujanovic, A. A.* (in press). Objective analysis of language use in cognitive-behavioral therapy: Associations with symptom change in adults with co-occurring substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2020.1819865 

Vujanovic, A. A., & Zegel, M. (2020). Distress tolerance and posttraumatic stress (pp. 343-376). In M. T. Tull & N. A. Kimbrel (Eds.), Emotion in posttraumatic stress disorder. New York: Guilford Press.

Vujanovic, A. A., Smith, L. J., Green, C. E., Lane, S. D., & Schmitz, J. M. (2020). Mindfulness as predictor of cognitive-behavioral therapy outcomes in adults with posttraumatic stress and substance dependence. Addictive Behaviors, 104. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2019.106283

Vujanovic, A. A., & Back, S. E. (2019). 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:

Soder, H., Wardle, M. C., Lane, S. D., Green, C. E., Schmitz, J. M., & Vujanovic, A. A. * (2019). Resting heart rate variability predicts posttraumatic stress disorder treatment outcomes in adults with co-occurring substance use disorders and posttraumatic stress. Psychophysiology, 56. doi: 10.1111/psyp.13377

Vujanovic, A. A., Lebeaut, A., Zegel, M., Smit, T., & Berenz, E. C. (2019). Posttraumatic stress and alcohol use: Recent advances and future directions in cue reactivity. Current Opinion in Psychology, 30, 109-116 doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2019.04.003

Vujanovic, A. A., Smith, L. J., Tipton, K. P., & Schmitz, J. M. (2019). A novel, integrated cognitive-behavioral therapy for co-occurring posttraumatic stress and substance use disorders: A case study. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 26, 307-322. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpra.2018.03.003

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, 531-541doi: 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., 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