Trainee Spotlight: Adam Wilson

Introducing our Trainee Spotlight for Summer 2018, Adam Wilson!

Student: Adam Wilson

Mentors: Dr. Barbara McCrady & Dr. Katie Witkiewitz

The University of New Mexico/CASAA

Trainee Spotlight

Adam Wilson is currently a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of New Mexico. His mentors are Dr. Barbara McCrady & Dr. Katie Witkiewitz. His research at UNM has developed, broadly, along four intersecting lines of inquiry: 1) substance use trajectories and the clinical course of substance use disorders; 2) the biopsychosocial conceptualization and assessment of SUD recovery; 3) advanced quantitative methodology; and 4) clinical trials and treatment research. Adam’s current research interests include machine learning approaches to modeling human behavior, implementation of mindfulness-based interventions, and exercise-induced changes to levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor among those recovering from addictive behaviors.

Selected Publications

Wilson, A. D., Montes, K.S., Bravo, A. J., Conner, B. T., Pearson, M. R. and Marijuana Outcomes Study Team. (in press). Making decisions with trees: Examining marijuana outcomes among college students using recursive partitioning. Clinical Psychological Science.

Wilson, A. D., Roos, C. R., Robinson, C. S., Stein, E. R., Manuel, J. A., Enkema, M. C., … & Witkiewitz, K. (2017). Mindfulness-based interventions for addictive behaviors: Implementation issues on the road ahead. Psychology of addictive behaviors, 31(8), 888.

Wilson, A. D., Bravo, A. J., Pearson, M. R., & Witkiewitz, K. (2016). Finding success in failure: using latent profile analysis to examine heterogeneity in psychosocial functioning among heavy drinkers following treatment. Addiction, 111(12), 2145-2154

Hallgren, K. A., Wilson, A. D., & Witkiewitz, K. (2018). Advancing analytic approaches to address key questions in mechanisms of behavior change research. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 79(2), 182-189.

McCrady, B. S., Wilson, A. D., Muñoz, R. E., Fink, B. C., Fokas, K., & Borders, A. (2016). Alcohol‐Focused Behavioral Couple Therapy. Family process, 55(3), 443-459.

If you would like to nominate a trainee (i.e., undergraduate/graduate student, or post-doc) for the SIG-AB Trainee Spotlight, please email Elly Leavens at We look forward to featuring more of our student and trainee members throughout the year!

Early Career Faculty Spotlight: Dana Litt

Introducing our Early Career Spotlight: Dana Litt!

Dana Litt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Health Behavior and Health Systems
University of North Texas Health Science Center

Dana Litt joined the faculty at the University of North Texas Health Science Center this year, after 5 years as a faculty member at the University of Washington. She holds a doctorate in Applied Social Psychology from The George Washington University and completed a NIAAA T32 supported postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington’s Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors.  Dr. Litt also recently completed a K99/R00 career development award from NIAAA to develop and test an in-person personalized feedback intervention based on the Prototype Willingness Model to reduce alcohol use among underage young adult drinkers.

Dr. Litt’s research interests focus on understanding the social and environmental factors that influence health risk behavior decision-making in adolescents and young adults. She plans to use her work to inform efficacious intervention and treatment programs for substance use and related risk behaviors. Some of her current projects include identifying and addressing socially-based risk and protective factors including factors include social images, social comparison, and perceptions of social norms, particularly in regards to social networking sites. She is currently the PI on a NIAAA R21 experimentally studying the impact of drinking norms on social networking sites on adolescent alcohol consumption.

Representative publications:

Litt, D. M., & Lewis, M. A. (2016). Examining a social reaction model in the prediction of adolescent alcohol use.  Addictive Behaviors, 60, 160-164.

Litt, D. M., Stock, M. L., & Gibbons, F. X. (2015). Adolescent substance use: Social comparison orientation moderates the impact of friend and sibling behavior. British Journal of Health Psychology, 20, 514-533.

Litt, D. M., & Lewis, M.A. (2015). Examining the role of abstainer prototype favorability as a mediator of the abstainer norms-drinking behavior relationship. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29, 467-472.

Litt, D. M., Lewis, M.A., Patrick, M., Rodriguez, L., Neighbors, C., & Kaysen, D. (2014). Spring break versus spring broken: Predictive utility of spring beak alcohol intentions and willingness at varying levels of extremity. Prevention Science, 15, 85-93.

Litt, D. M., & Stock, M. L. (2011). Adolescent alcohol-related risk cognitions: The roles of social norms and social networking sites. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25, 708-713.

Graduate Students: 

Dr. Litt will be actively accepting applications for graduate students for the 2018-2019 year and the 2019-2020.

Congratulations, Dana!

Early Career Faculty Spotlight: Heidemarie Blumenthal

Early Career Faculty Spotlight

Posted on September 9, 2016 by Ivori Zvorsky

Faculty Heidemarie Blumenthal

Heidemarie (Heidi) Blumenthal completed her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Arkansas in 2012. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology (Behavioral Science program) at the University of North Texas where she directs the Teen Stress and Alcohol Research (Teen St.A.R.) Laboratory ( Her research focuses on the developmental psychopathology of anxiety, substance use, and their co-occurrence. With a primary emphasis on adolescence and emerging adulthood, she employs a variety of methodological techniques (e.g., laboratory-based affect induction; direct and indirect assessment of desire to engage in substance use; alcohol administration; salivary hormones; short-term prospective) with the goal of informing developmentally-sensitive intervention design.

Dr. Blumenthal will be actively reviewing applications for graduate students for the 2017-2018 year (2016 applications).

Select Publications:

§  Blumenthal, H., Ham, L. S., Cloutier, R. M., Bacon, A. K., & Douglas, M. E. (in press). Social anxiety, disengagement coping, and alcohol use behaviors among adolescents. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping.

§  Cloutier, R. M., Blumenthal, H., Mischel, E. R. (2016). An examination of social anxiety in marijuana and cigarette use motives among adolescents. Substance Use & Misuse, 51. 408-418. doi: 3109/10826084.2015.1110174

§  Blumenthal, H., Cloutier, R. M., Zamboanga, B. L., Bunaciu, L., & Knapp, A. A. (2015). A laboratory-based test of the relation between adolescent alcohol use and panic-relevant responding. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 23, 303-313. doi: 1037/pha0000022

§  Blumenthal, H., Leen-Feldner, E. W., Badour, C. L., & Babson, K. A. (2011). Anxiety psychopathology and alcohol use among adolescents: A critical review of the empirical literature and recommendations for future research. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 2, 318-353. doi: 10.5127/jep.012810

Student of the Month (April 2016): Chelsie Young

We are excited to introduce our Student of the Month for April 2016!

Student: Chelsie Young

Mentor: Dr. Clayton Neighbors

University of Houston

chelsie young

Summary of Research: I am broadly interested in social, affective, and cognitive influences on alcohol use and their applications to the development of empirically supported innovative intervention approaches for facilitating behavior change. Specifically, I am interested in identifying individual difference factors such as shame- and guilt-proneness, drinking identity, and motives for drinking, especially coping motives, that may contribute to hazardous drinking among college students. My research also focuses on interventions utilizing personalized normative feedback (PNF) and expressive writing to promote health and well-being and reduce problematic drinking. My dissertation sought to potentially improve PNF efficacy by increasing cognitive processing of the information and decreasing any defensiveness or reactance by adding a writing component. My findings provide preliminary support for my hypotheses such that participants who received personalized normative feedback and were asked to write about their reactions to the feedback reported significantly fewer alcohol-related problems at one-month follow-up. I am also particularly interested in understanding mechanisms of action related to intervention efficacy. For example, my colleagues and I recently found that PNF might work differently based on individual difference factors such as coping drinking motives. I look forward to continuing this line of research in the future to better understand why these interventions are effective and for whom they are most beneficial.

Representative Publications:

1. Young, C. M., Neighbors, C., DiBello, A. M., Sharp, C., Zvolensky, M. J., & Lewis, M. A. (in press). Coping motives moderate efficacy of personalized normative feedback among heavy drinking U.S. college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

2.Young, C. M., Neighbors, C., DiBello, A. M., Tomkins, M., & Traylor, Z. K. (in press). Shame and guilt proneness as mediators of the association between general causality orientations and depressive symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

3.Young, C. M., DiBello, A. M., Steers, M-L. N., Quist, M. C., Foster, D. W., Bryan, J. L., & Neighbors, C. (2016). I like people who drink like me: Perceived appeal as a function of drinking status. Addictive Behaviors, 53, 125-131. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2015.10.003

4.Young, C. M., DiBello, A. M., Traylor, Z. K., Zvolensky, M. J., & Neighbors. C. (2015). A longitudinal examination of the associations between shyness, drinking motives, alcohol use, and alcohol-related problems. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39,1749-1755. doi:10.1111/acer.12799

5.Young, C. M., Rodriguez, L. M., & Neighbors, C. (2013). Expressive writing as a brief intervention for reducing drinking intentions. Addictive Behaviors, 38, 2913-2917. PMCID: PMC3864107. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.08.025

Congratulations, Chelsie!

Early Career Faculty Spotlight: Jennifer Merrill

Congratulations to Jennifer Merrill for receiving our first quarterly Early Career Faculty Spotlight!

faculty Jennifer Merrill

Jennifer Merrill received her PhD from the University at Buffalo in 2012. She is currently an Assistant Professor (Research) at the Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies in the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University. She has primarily focused on investigating the etiology and consequences of alcohol misuse among young adults, with a particular interest in the subjective evaluation of alcohol-related consequences. She received a K01 career development award from NIAAA to examine the impact that event-level alcohol-related consequences and their subjective evaluations have on subsequent drinking decisions among heavy drinking college students. In addition, she has a growing interest in mobile-health interventions, and will soon run a pilot study to deliver accurate descriptive and injunctive norms information to college student drinkers, via text messaging, in hopes of impacting their drinking attitudes and behaviors. She has current interests in qualitative methods, ecological momentary assessment, advanced data analysis, and intervention development.

Representative Publications:
1. Merrill, J.E., Read, J.P., & Barnett, N.P. (2013). The way one thinks affects the way one drinks: Subjective evaluations of alcohol consequences as predictors of subsequent change in drinking behavior. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 27, 42-51.

2. Merrill, J.E., Wardell, J.D., & Read, J.P.  (2014). Drinking motives as prospective predictors of unique alcohol-related consequences in college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75, 93-102. PMC3893636

3. Merrill, J.E., Wardell, J.D., & Read, J.P. (2015). Is readiness to change drinking related to reductions in alcohol use and consequences? A week-to-week analysis. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 76, 790-798.

4. Merrill, J.E., & Carey, K.B. (2016). Drinking over the lifespan: Focus on college ages.Alcohol Research: Current Reviews, 38.