Research

The focus of our lab is the interplay of behavioral sleep medicine, suicidal behavior, and clinical geropsychology.  Our projects are determined in large part by our students’ interests.  Below are the lab projects that we are currently working on, or hope to do in the near future.  

Comparing in-person and application-driven Imagery Rehearsal Therapy for Nightmare Disorder

There is a strong literature supporting the use of Imagery Rehearsal Therapy for nightmare disorder.  However, given the few number of clinicians who specialize in Behavioral Sleep Medicine, it is commonly difficult to find a therapist to provide the treatment.  Recently the VA released a smartphone application based upon this innovative treatment, but research has yet to examine whether or not the application is as effective as Imagery Rehearsal Therapy provided in-person.  For Kat Speed’s dissertation, we will be conducting a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of Imagery Rehearsal Therapy being provided by a clinician in-person to the treatment being provided through the smart phone application.  If you are an active duty member or Veteran with nightmares and are interested in the study please contact Dr. Nadorff.  We thank the Military Suicide Research Consortium for providing funding for this study.

Differentiating between military members who have suicidal ideation and suicide attempts.

Kat Speed’s thesis project (under review) demonstrated that sleep disorders can differentiate between those who have previously attempted suicide and those who have not in the general population.  For Patricia Cartwright’s dissertation, we are following up on this research by examining the factors that differentiate military members who think of suicide and have a history of one or two suicide attempts using data from the Military Suicide Research Consortium Common Data Elements.

Cognitive Correlates of Suicidal Behavior

One potential explanation for suicidal behavior is that it is a failure of problem solving.  A person considers suicide when they encounter a problem where they can think of no better solution than suicide.  To delve into this deeper, Caitlin Titus is working closely with Dr. Andy Jarosz from our Cognitive Psychology program to look into whether problem solving deficits are associated with suicidal ideation, suicide risk, and past suicide attempts.