This group investigates the role of depression in the development of and response to treatments for health conditions such as substance use disorders, HIV infection, diabetes, postpartum depression and dementia.
Depression Research Group
Sara J. Becker, PhD
Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
Dr. Becker is a clinical researcher and licensed clinical psychologist dedicated to improving the quality and utilization of behavioral treatments for individuals with substance use disorders. Dr. Becker is currently Multiple Principal Investigator (with Dr. Bryan Garner) of a 5-year NIDA-funded cluster randomized trial partnering with 30 opioid treatment centers throughout New England to promote the implementation of contingency management. Dr. Becker also serves as Principal Investigator or Multiple Principal Investigator of two SAMHSA-funded Addiction Technology Transfer Centers, which combined train over 3,000 front-line treatment providers annually in evidence-based treatment for patients with opioid and other substance use disorders.
Emmanuelle Belanger, PhD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice
Dr. Belanger's background includes training in both social and health sciences. Her research program involves mixed-methods designs and addresses the assessment and management of patient-reported symptoms, the delivery of end-of-life care in a variety of settings, as well as decision-making processes about palliative options of care.
Angela M. Bengtson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Epidemiology
Dr. Bengtson's research focuses on improving the health of HIV-infected women and their children during the perinatal period. Her work explores 1) the impact of HIV drugs on pregnancy outcomes, 2) novel strategies to measure and support ongoing engagement in HIV care, and 3) common comorbid conditions with HIV during pregnancy, including obesity and perinatal depression.
Stephen L. Buka
Professor of Epidemiology
Dr. Buka is an epidemiologist and developmental psychologist whose work focuses on the causes, development and prevention of major psychiatric and cognitive disorders. Current studies include investigations of prenatal risks for schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder and addictive disorders, including neuroimaging and molecular genetics techniques; and community-level influences on youth substance use and delinquency.
Patricia A. Cioe, PhD
Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dr. Cioe’s current research interests include smoking cessation interventions in persons living with HIV, the effects of alcohol use and cigarette smoking on HIV clinical outcomes, including biomarkers of monocyte activation and inflammation, and perceived barriers to smoking cessation in HIV-positive smokers.
Suzanne M. Colby
Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dr. Colby's primary research interests include laboratory and clinical studies, treatment development, and instrumentation research related to adolescent and young adult alcohol, tobacco and other substance use.
Shira I. Dunsiger, PhD
Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)
Dr. Dunsiger’s research focus is on developing sophisticated statistical methodology for analyzing data from behavioral medicine, including smoking cessation, physical activity, mood, depression and adherence outcomes. Her broad research interests include pattern detection, “big data”, and statistical mediation.
Gary P. Epstein-Lubow, MD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Associate Professor of Medical Science, Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice
Dr. Epstein-Lubow’s research is focused on improving family-oriented dementia treatment. As a PI he has three active projects: 1) looking at individuals with dementia who undergo inpatient psychiatric treatment at Butler Hospital, 2) a study of national Medicare data to determine risk factors for psychiatric hospitalization of individuals with moderate or severe memory impairment who reside in a nursing home, and 3) a needs assessment study of individuals in Rhode Island with Parkinson's disease and their family caregivers.
Jaclyn White Hughto, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Assistant Professor of Epidemiology,
Dr. Hughto’s research aims to document the structural-, interpersonal-, and individual-level factors that contribute to health inequities for sexual and gender minorities and other marginalized populations; and develop and test community-based interventions to improve the health of at-risk communities.
Caroline C. Kuo, DPhil
Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Associate Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dr. Kuo’s research program focuses on addressing disparities in mental health, sexual and reproductive health, violence, HIV and other infectious diseases among vulnerable populations in low-resource communities. Her global public health research has included community-based epidemiological studies, qualitative exploratory studies, mixed-methods studies, and intervention development and testing among vulnerable populations.
Matthew J. Mimiaga, ScD, MPH
Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
Dr. Mimiaga’s research program focuses on interventions to decrease sexual risk in HIV primary and secondary prevention; biobehavioral interventions to enhance antiretroviral medication uptake and adherence; psychosocial treatment interventions for stimulant use disorder and concurrent HIV risk; infectious disease and psychiatric epidemiology; and global health research.
Peter M Monti, PhD
Donald G. Millar Distinguished Professor of Alcohol and Addiction Studies, Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Director of Alcohol and Addiction Studies
Dr. Monti’s research interests include adolescent substance abuse prevention and treatment; coping skills and relapse prevention; combined cognitive behavioral and pharmacological interventions; and treatment of alcohol and HIV/AIDS.
Jennifer A. Pellowski, PhD
Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Dr. Pellowski’s research program is dedicated to improving the lives of people living with HIV through addressing psychosocial and contextual factors that impede engagement in health behaviors, domestically and internationally. She has interests in social and contextual determinants of health, sexual and reproductive health of women, and the development of behavioral interventions to improve health and well-being.
Megan L. Ranney, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Ranney is a practicing emergency physician and researcher, looking at the intersection between digital health and violence prevention. Her research is focused on (a) the design and use of technology to facilitate behavioral health among vulnerable populations and (b) firearm injury prevention.
David A. Savitz, PhD
Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Epidemiology, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Professor of Pediatrics
Dr. Savitz's research is focused on reproductive and environmental epidemiology. He has conducted studies of the causes of adverse pregnancy outcome, including miscarriage and preterm birth, as well as pregnancy complications, birth defects, and child health problems. His environmental interests include a wide range of chemical and physical exposures, including perfluorinated chemicals, pesticides, drinking water treatment by-products, and non-ionizing radiation.
Jennifer Tidey, PhD
Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
Dr. Tidey studies biological, environmental and social factors that contribute to the high rates of tobacco use in vulnerable populations, particularly among people with serious mental illness, in order to inform regulatory and treatment approaches to reducing tobacco and other substance use disorders. She recently completed a large multi-site laboratory study aimed at understanding the subjective and behavioral effects of cigarettes varying in nicotine content among smokers with current depression and/or anxiety disorders, and a multi-site randomized controlled trial of cigarettes varying in nicotine content in smokers with current depression and/or anxiety disorders, both in collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science (TCORS; Center PI Higgins). As part of the 5-year renewal of that TCORS, she is currently leading a multi-site randomized controlled trial of very low nicotine cigarettes, alone and combined with electronic cigarettes, in smokers with current depression and/or anxiety disorders (2U54DA036114). Her publications in this area focus on tobacco regulatory approaches for reducing tobacco use in people with depression.
Jacob J. van den Berg, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Assistant Professor of Medicine
Dr. van den Berg's research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of community-based behavioral and biomedical health interventions for underserved and marginalized groups. He is particularly interested in advancing the integration of health informatics (eHealth/mHealth) and biobehavioral strategies for preventing HIV/STIs and substance use among racial/ethnic and sexual and gender minority populations.
Ira B. Wilson, MD, MSc
Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, Professor of Medicine, Chair of Health Services, Policy and Practice
Dr. Wilson’s main research interests are in how structural features of healthcare systems affect the interactions between physicians and patients, and how those interactions in turn affect patients' health outcomes. To study these relationships, he has studied patients with chronic conditions such as the elderly, persons with depression, and persons with HIV. In recent years, his research has focused on understanding and improving the quality of medication prescribing and medication management, the development and testing of interventions to improve adherence, and aspects of HIV and aging.
Meeting the end-of-life care needs of nursing home residents with advanced Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia: A longitudinal study of pain and depressive symptoms
Principal Investigator: Dr. Emmanuelle Belanger
Funding: National Institute of Aging, NIH
Our Family Our Future: A resilience-oriented family intervention to prevent adolescent HIV/STI infection and depression in South Africa
Multiple Principal Investigators: Dr. Caroline Kuo, Dr. Linda-Gail Bekker, Dr. Dan Stein
Funding: National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
South Africa Addiction Transfer Center
Multiple Principal Investigators: Dr. Sara Becker and Dr. Caroline Kuo
Funding: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Adherence to HIV Treatment Postpartum: The Implications of Transitions Among Women Living with HIV in South Africa
Principal Investigator: Dr. Jennifer Pellowski
Funding: National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
Adaptation of the Friendship Bench mental health intervention for HIV-infected perinatal women in Malawi
Multiple Principal Investigators: Dr. Brian Pence and Dr. Angela Bengtson
Funding: National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
Intervention to Prevent Peer Violence & Depressive Symptoms Among At-Risk Adolescents
Principal Investigator: Dr. Megan Ranney;
Co-Investigator/ Biostatistician: Shira Dunsiger
Funding: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, NIH
A Technology-Augmented Intervention to Prevent Peer Violence & Depressive Symptoms Among At-Risk Emergency Department Adolescents
Principal Investigator: Dr. Megan Ranney
Funding: National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
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Barnett, W., Pellowski, J., Kuo, C., Koen, N., Donald, K. A., Zar, H. J., & Stein, D. J. (2019). Food-insecure pregnant women in South Africa: a cross-sectional exploration of maternal depression as a mediator of violence and trauma risk factors. BMJ Open, 9(3), e018277. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018277
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Bengtson, A. M., Pence, B. W., Crane, H. M., Christopoulos, K., Fredericksen, R. J., Gaynes, B. N., … Mugavero, M. J. (2016). Disparities in Depressive Symptoms and Antidepressant Treatment by Gender and Race/Ethnicity among People Living with HIV in the United States. PLOS ONE, 11(8), e0160738. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0160738
Bengtson, A. M., Pence, B. W., Gaynes, B. N., Quinlivan, E. B., Heine, A. D., O’Donnell, J. K., … Mugavero, M. J. (2016). Improving depression among HIV-infected adults: transporting the effect of a depression treatment intervention to routine care. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (1999), 73(4), 482–488. https://doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001131
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Cioe, P. A., Anderson, B. J., & Stein, M. D. (2013). Change in symptoms of erectile dysfunction in depressed men initiating buprenorphine therapy. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 45(5), 451–456. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2013.06.004
Clawson, A. H., Borrelli, B., McQuaid, E. L., & Dunsiger, S. (2016). The role of caregiver social support, depressed mood, and perceived stress in changes in pediatric secondhand smoke exposure and asthma functional morbidity following an asthma exacerbation. Health Psychology: Official Journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association, 35(6), 541–551. https://doi.org/10.1037/hea0000318
Epstein-Lubow, G., Gaudiano, B., Darling, E., Hinckley, M., Tremont, G., Kohn, R., … Miller, I. W. (2012). Differences in depression severity in family caregivers of hospitalized individuals with dementia and family caregivers of outpatients with dementia. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry: Official Journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 20(9), 815–819. https://doi.org/10.1097/JGP.0b013e318235b62f
Epstein-Lubow, G., Gaudiano, B. A., Hinckley, M., Salloway, S., & Miller, I. W. (2010). Evidence for the validity of the American Medical Association’s caregiver self-assessment questionnaire as a screening measure for depression. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 58(2), 387–388. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1532-5415.2009.02701.x
Epstein-Lubow, G. P., Beevers, C. G., Bishop, D. S., & Miller, I. W. (2009). Family Functioning Is Associated With Depressive Symptoms in Caregivers of Acute Stroke Survivors. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 90(6), 947–955. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2008.12.014
Gilman, S. E., Kawachi, I., Fitzmaurice, G. M., & Buka, S. L. (2003). Socio-economic status, family disruption and residential stability in childhood: relation to onset, recurrence and remission of major depression. Psychological Medicine, 33(8), 1341–1355. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291703008377
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Gomez, J., Becker, S. J., O’Brien, K., & Spirito, A. (2015). Interactive Effect of Child Maltreatment and Substance Use on Depressed Mood among Adolescents Presenting to Community-Based Substance Use Treatment. Community Mental Health Journal, 51(7), 833–840. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-015-9894-0
Gonzalez, J. S., Peyrot, M., McCarl, L. A., Collins, E. M., Serpa, L., Mimiaga, M. J., & Safren, S. A. (2008). Depression and Diabetes Treatment Nonadherence: A Meta-Analysis. Diabetes Care, 31(12), 2398–2403. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc08-1341
Hayes, R. B., Dunsiger, S., & Borrelli, B. (2010). The influence of quality of life and depressed mood on smoking cessation among medically ill smokers. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 33(3), 209–218. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-010-9254-z
Hersh, J., Curry, J. F., & Becker, S. J. (2013). The Influence of Comorbid Depression and Conduct Disorder on MET/CBT Treatment Outcome for Adolescent Substance Use Disorders. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 6(4), 325–341. https://doi.org/10.1521/ijct.2013.6.4.325
Hitsman, B., Abrams, D. B., Shadel, W. G., Niaura, R., Borrelli, B., Emmons, K. M., … Colby, S. M. (2002). Depressive symptoms and readiness to quit smoking among cigarette smokers in outpatient alcohol treatment. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors: Journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors, 16(3), 264–268. PMID: 12236463
White Hughto, J. M., & Reisner, S. L. (2018). Social Context of Depressive Distress in Aging Transgender Adults. Journal of Applied Gerontology: The Official Journal of the Southern Gerontological Society, 37(12), 1517–1539. https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464816675819
White Hughto, J. M., Pachankis, J. E., Willie, T. C., & Reisner, S. L. (2017). Victimization and depressive symptomology in transgender adults: The mediating role of avoidant coping. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64(1), 41–51. https://doi.org/10.1037/cou0000184
Kacanek, D., Jacobson, D. L., Spiegelman, D., Wanke, C., Isaac, R., & Wilson, I. B. (2010). Incident depression symptoms are associated with poorer HAART adherence: a longitudinal analysis from the Nutrition for Healthy Living study. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (1999), 53(2), 266–272. https://doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181b720e7
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Kuo, C., LoVette, A., Stein, D. J., Cluver, L. D., Brown, L. K., Atujuna, M., … Beardslee, W. (2019). Building resilient families: Developing family interventions for preventing adolescent depression and HIV in low resource settings. Transcultural Psychiatry, 56(1), 187–212. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363461518799510
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McManama O’Brien, K. H., Becker, S. J., Spirito, A., Simon, V., & Prinstein, M. J. (2014). Differentiating adolescent suicide attempters from ideators: examining the interaction between depression severity and alcohol use. Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior, 44(1), 23–33. https://doi.org/10.1111/sltb.12050
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Sivasubramanian, M., Mimiaga, M. J., Mayer, K. H., Anand, V. R., Johnson, C. V., Prabhugate, P., & Safren, S. A. (2011). Suicidality, clinical depression, and anxiety disorders are highly prevalent in men who have sex with men in Mumbai, India: Findings from a community-recruited sample. Psychology, Health & Medicine, 16(4), 450–462. https://doi.org/10.1080/13548506.2011.554645
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Stein, L. A. R., Clair, M., Lebeau, R., Colby, S. M., Barnett, N. P., Golembeske, C., & Monti, P. M. (2011). Motivational Interviewing to Reduce Substance-Related Consequences: Effects for Incarcerated Adolescents with Depressed Mood. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 118(2–3), 475–478. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.03.023
Strong, D. R., Kahler, C. W., Leventhal, A. M., Abrantes, A. M., Lloyd-Richardson, E., Niaura, R., & Brown, R. A. (2009). Impact of bupropion and cognitive-behavioral treatment for depression on positive affect, negative affect, and urges to smoke during cessation treatment. Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 11(10), 1142–1153. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntp111
Tidey, J. W., Pacek, L. R., Koopmeiners, J. S., Vandrey, R., Nardone, N., Drobes, D. J., … Donny, E. C. (2017). Effects of 6-Week Use of Reduced-Nicotine Content Cigarettes in Smokers With and Without Elevated Depressive Symptoms. Nicotine & Tobacco Research: Official Journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, 19(1), 59–67. https://doi.org/10.1093/ntr/ntw199
Tidey, J. W., Davis, D. R., Miller, M. E., Pericot-Valverde, I., Denlinger-Apte, R. L., & Gaalema, D. E. (2018). Modeling nicotine regulation: A review of studies in smokers with mental health conditions. Preventive Medicine, 117, 30–37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2018.07.003
Tidey, J. W. (2016). A behavioral economic perspective on smoking persistence in serious mental illness. Preventive Medicine, 92, 31–35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2016.05.015
Turuba, R., Pirkle, C., Bélanger, E., Ylli, A., Montes, F. G., & Vafaei, A. (2019). Assessing the relationship between multimorbidity and depression in older men and women: The International Mobility in Aging Study (IMIAS). Aging & Mental Health, 0(0), 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2019.1571018
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Master of Public Health
Aimua, Nicole Iziegbe, "Examining the Relationship Between Major Depressive Disorder and Physical Activity in United States Prisons" (2017). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z00C4T60
Duru, Kimberley, "Postpartum Depression Symptoms and Sleep-Related Child Care Practices among US Mothers" (2019). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.26300/97wh-by63
Haubrick, Kayla Kristen, "Rural/Urban Differences in Depression Diagnosis and Treatment among Those with Multiple Sclerosis in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey" (2018). Public Health Theses and Dissertations.Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.26300/qxzt-9g47
Jiang, Tammy, "Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status and Major Depressive Disorder: The New England Family Study & Childhood Learning Ability and Risk of Suicidal Behavior" (2017). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.7301/Z0F18X5W
Long, Sara, "The Influence of Depression Status on Weekly Exercise in Children Ages 6 to 17 Years & Information Overload: Does Lengthy Nursing Home to Emergency Department Transfer Correspondence Increase Emergency Department Length of Stay?" (2018). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.26300/0dp2-b545
Sekyi-Appiah, Nana Akua, "The Association between Oral Contraceptive Use among Adult Women in the United States and the Risk of Depression: A Cross-sectional Study" (2019). Public Health Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library. https://doi.org/10.26300/8h75-8t17