"Together, the disciplines of psychology and social work can shed more light on the personal and environmental factors that drive health behaviors. I believe we can translate that into new and better ways to positively impact the health of our communities, our nation and the world."
622 Baldy Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260
218 Parker Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214
Learning-based processes of addiction; the application of basic behavioral research to the development of new clinical interventions; alcohol craving; emotion regulation and pretreatment change.
Dr. Stasiewicz has an NIAAA-funded program of research focusing on individuals who change (i.e., reduce) their drinking prior to initiating and entering treatment for an alcohol use disorder. The first funded project focuses on identifying pretreatment drinking trajectories and their relationship to treatment outcome, whereas the second funded project is a randomized clinical trial that is investigating the impact of tailoring treatment for those who demonstrate more or less pretreatment change in alcohol use. Data from these studies are anticipated to have a direct impact on clinical practice by suggesting ways to modify treatment to achieve optimal outcomes (i.e., greater efficiency and effectiveness) based on an individual’s pattern of pretreatment change in alcohol use.
A second line of funded research focuses on the clinical application of learning-based principles to the development of novel treatment approaches for substance use. For example, the search for effective treatments to address the problem of negative emotions as they relate to substance use and substance use disorders has eluded both clinicians and researchers for decades despite the strong influence of negative emotions on substance use and relapse to substance use following treatment. In his program of research he and his colleagues have demonstrated that 1) negative emotional cues increase craving for alcohol and nicotine, 2) the reduction of negative emotion results in decreases in craving for alcohol and nicotine, 3) interventions for substance abuse can safely incorporate negative emotional cues into behavioral cue exposure approaches, and 4) reductions in negative emotoins and/or craving are associated with improved outcomes for substance abuse. This systematic approach to addressing the difficult problem of negative emotions in substance use coupled with promising treatment outcomes across multiple subgroups of substance abusers represents an advance of great significance to the field of addictive behaviors. A treatment approach recently developed by Dr. Stasiewicz and his colleagues is called Emotion Regulation Treatment of Alcohol Use Disorders.