Our goal is to leverage behavioral science to understand how best to help adults who experience significant fear and anxiety in general and from cancer in particular to suffer less and to live full and meaningful lives.
Our work focuses on understanding, developing, and evaluating interventions for (1) treating anxiety disorders and related symptoms, and (2) promoting mental health and well-being among cancer survivors; and emphasizes the intersection between them. We study acceptance and mindfulness-based as well as exposure-based behavioral interventions both in laboratory settings and in community cancer clinics throughout the region. Embedding a significant portion of our intervention research in community clinics allows us to reach geographically broader and more diverse participants and to collaborate directly with community practitioners.
Collectively, anxiety disorders are the most common category of mental health disorders (affecting nearly one out of four Americans in their lifetime (Kessler et al., 2005). A cancer diagnosis is also common, with about 40% of US adults receiving a cancer diagnosis at some point during their lifetimes (https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics). Our initial work in psycho-oncology focused at the intersection of these two areas, a thread that has continued through a portion of our ongoing work even as we have expanded to focus on broader questions and challenges at the intersection of psychopathology and psycho-oncology.