Clinical Areas of Study
The UA is the leading public research university in the American Southwest. The UA receives more than $530 million in annual research funding and is the state's only member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. This rate of research funding ranks the UA No. 23 in research and development expenditures among public and private universities and colleges by the National Science Foundation. The Department of Psychology is housed within the University’s College of Science (COS) and the newly created School of Mind, Brain, and Behavior (SMBB), which we joined as a founding member in July 1, 2009. The SMBB is interdisciplinary and, in addition to Psychology, houses the Arizona Research Laboratory Division of Neurobiology; the Department of Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences; the newly formed Department of Neuroscience; and the Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs in Cognitive Science and Neuroscience. The Psychology Department consists of 32 faculty members! divided across four degree-granting programs (Clinical; Cognition and Neural Systems; Social; and Ethology and Evolutionary Psychology). Within Psychology, the Clinical Science Program has 13 core faculty members, at least 5 affiliated faculty (non-core clinical, but tenure-track in Psychology) who routinely co-mentor students, and a substantial number of adjunct faculty who support the program’s mission and training activities.
Within the Clinical Program, students can develop expertise in the following areas:
Psychophysiological measures provide a convenient bridge between different levels of analysis of behavior and psychopathology, ranging from reductionistic biological to macro-level social interpretations of behavior. The Clinical Psychology Program offers the opportunity to develop special expertise in the use of psychophysiological measures in the investigation of psychopathology, emotion, and interpersonal interactions. Examples of current research interests include assessing emotion in the context of psychiatric and neurological disorders, assessing memory in psychiatric disorders, assessing deception and malingering, examining autonomic nervous system response following social loss experiences, and identifying factors that may index risk for psychopathology, particularly depression.
Clinical Neuropsychology is that applied branch of Human Neuropsychology concerned with the causes, assessment, and treatment of psychological disorders due to brain injury or disease. Clinical Neuropsychology, in its current state, has moved away from a relatively exclusive emphasis on diagnosis toward understanding basic mechanisms in neuropsychological disorder and toward developing and evaluating new approaches to treatment and management. We encourage Clinical Neuropsychology students to develop additional specialized research and clinical expertise (e.g., gerontology, psychophysiology, cognitive-behavioral treatments, brain imaging) that will make them more broadly competent and more competitive in the job market. Current department research in Clinical Neuropsychology includes studies of: memory assessment and treatment in patients with both focal and diffuse neurological disease; alterations in emotion expression, experience and physiology in patients with focal (e.g., cingulate, orbital frontal) and diffuse cerebral damage; relationships between cognitive functioning and brain structural changes (by MRI) in degenerative diseases; cerebral electrophysiology in normal and disordered memory; electrophysiologic hemispheric asymmetries in depression; disorders of facial recognition; language disorder in dementia an aphasia; functional brain imaging (PET and FMRI) during emotional arousal; reliability and validity of procedures for the assessment and differentiation of dementing illnesses; awareness of deficit in patients with various neurologic disorders; and the assessment and management of stress among family members and professionals who provide care for neurologic patients.
Clinical psychologists have become increasingly involved in research and practice concerning health and health care policy. This trend is reflected within the Health Psychology emphasis in our Clinical Psychology Program. Examples of current topics of investigation within the department include: social relationships and health; emotion and health; the assessment and treatment of insomnia; cognitive and cardiovascular consequences of sleep apnea; repression, self-disclosure, and health; individual- and family-level factors in the management of long-term chronic illnesses; evaluation of the impact of disorders and their treatment on quality of life; and assessments of the psychical health consequences of divorce.
Intervention research has expanded in its spectrum to include basic research on the process of change, in addition to the pragmatic focus of outcome studies. The study of change processes investigates cognitive, motivational and familial variables as moderators and mediators of behavior and behavior change. Psychotherapy research of department faculty associated with this area include the process and outcome of a variety of behavioral, cognitive, experiential and integrative modes of therapeutic interventions. Specific faculty research interests include: Integrative models in the treatment of depression; the specifics of acupuncture treatment for depression; resistance to change; and evaluation of mental health service delivery to different ethnic and cultural groups.