Current Projects

Coping and health outcomes amongst women with HIV and those at risk

This study seeks to provide a clearer understanding of factors that may contribute to the health outcomes of black and other ethnic minority women with and at risk for HIV infection, many of whom have histories of trauma, including violence and abuse, by exploring three interrelated processes: coping skills, self-silencing, and unmitigated communion. The study aims to: (1) explore the relationship between coping styles (including self-silencing, and unmitigated communion) and HIV status and trauma history and  (2) To explore the role of coping, self-silencing, and unmitigated communion in moderating the relationship between trauma history and health outcomes in HIV+ women, including HIV disease progression, medication adherence and other health outcomes.


  Previous Projects

 Leadership, cognition, emotion, and behavior

In one study of 181 college students, we found that women who were exposed to an implicit stereotype threat about leadership ability reported feeling less bold, strong and fearless than men. However, dominance may moderate some of the emotional effects of stereotype threat. Women who reported more personality dominance reported feeling less timid and shy and less ashamed and blameworthy than less dominant women after exposure to the implicit stereotype threat about leadership ability.

In a second study of 128 college females who were randomly exposed to powerful male or female figures and then to varying levels of stereotype threat, we found that regardless of the gender of the powerful figure, participants under the implicit stereotype threat acted more altruistically, and expressed more anxiety, and less optimism in autobiographical narratives. Across levels of stereotype threat, women exposed to the female power figure expressed more guilt in their narratives than women who were exposed to the male power figure.


Brief CBT treatment with parental involvement for childhood anxiety disorders

In collaboration with the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at the Psychology Department at Boston University, our lab investigated the effectiveness of a brief (three-session) intervention
with concurrent parental involvement for childhood anxiety disorders. 22 children between the ages of 9 and 16 with Social Phobia, Separation Anxiety, or Generalized Anxiety Disorders participated in the study; all but one had comorbid anxiety diagnosis. At one month follow-up 12 out of 22 children did not qualify for their primary diagnosis and 7 children no longer met criteria  for any anxiety diagnosis. The rest , who had two anxiety diagnoses at pre-treatment, retained one at post-treatment, although at a significantly decreased level. Also, at follow-up, there was a significant decrease in children's involuntary engagement coping (e.g., rumination, physiological arousal), and blaming others.  A decrease in blaming others was a significant predictor of lower child-reported anxiety symptoms at follow-up, while a decrease in primary control disengagement (i.e., avoidance and denial) tended to predict lower parent reported internalizing symptoms.