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The Mood and Personality Studies (MAPS) Lab, located at the Ohio State University (OSU) Department of Psychology, is directed by Jennifer Cheavens, Ph.D.

Doctoral Student Lab Members

We asked each of the MAPS Lab's graduate student ABCT members:

  • What is your area of research interest?
  • How has ABCT been helpful to you?
  • If a student were thinking about joining ABCT, what activities would you recommend they get involved in?

Erin Altenburger, M.A.

  • My research interest lies in therapist behavior, specifically validation, and client outcomes. I am interested in how client characteristics, namely borderline features and depressive symptoms, influence therapist behavior. I am also interested in the factors that influence treatment-seeking behavior among depressed populations.
  • ABCT has contributed further to my education in clinical psychology. It has also served to connect me with researchers in the field and facilitate collaborations.
  • I would recommend they both attend and present at ABCT conventions and join a SIG of interest to them to give them a more in-depth experience in that subfield.

Kristen Howard, M.A.

  • I am interested in interpersonal and emotional functioning in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). In particular, I am interested in how individuals with BPD regulate their emotions with the help of members of their social network (i.e., interpersonal emotion regulation), as well as how members of their social networks may relate to functioning in individuals with BPD.
  • ABCT has been a valuable outlet to present my research. Attending conferences has been extremely rewarding, and I've enjoyed the opportunity to attend talks from leaders in the field.
  • I would encourage students to attend and present their work at ABCT conventions. I would also encourage them to apply to the various awards associated with ABCT.

Sara A. Moss, M.A.

  • I am interested in the intersection between psychopathology and behavior change, goal pursuit, and emotion regulation in both younger and older adults.
  • ABCT has given me opportunities to network and disseminate research findings. I also enjoy reading the Behavior Therapist to learn about the conversations currently dominating the field.
  • I would recommend attending ABCT conventions to really bring the principles and debates surrounding evidence-based treatments alive. Download the conference app and pre-plan which talks, networking sessions, and events you want to attend.
Matt Southward, M.A.
  • I'm interested in translating basic findings on emotion regulation flexibility to better personalize and optimize treatments (e.g., DBT) for Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • ABCT has been an amazing organization to connect me with new colleagues, new friends, and potential mentors. As a member of the ABCT Twitter team, I've been lucky to meet outstanding young researchers and practice more effective science communication. Going to the annual conference has also exposed me to new theories and methods (e.g., GIMME, network analysis) that has helped me further develop my own lines of research, and it's where I presented my first national talk!
  • I would highly recommend getting involved in ABCT's social media committee (Facebook or Twitter). It's an awesome group of people who are invested in supporting members and the broader mission of ABCT. It also lets you get a sense for how to navigate social media as a young academic and it connects you to a vibrant community of folks online doing great research and clinical work.

Anne Wilson, M.A.

  • I'm interested in better understanding how different emotion-regulation strategies impact our emotions and behavior, and in translating these findings into clinical practice.
  • Being a member of ABCT has helped me to build and maintain connections with colleagues and mentors, stay up to date on the latest research, advance my development as a researcher and clinician at each stage of my career.
  • I would highly recommend presenting at the ABCT convention. It's a great way to meet people with similar research interests and spark ideas for future research projects.

Other students in the OSU MAPS Lab:

David Cregg, M.A.

Jennifer S. Cheavens, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Cheavens is an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the Ohio State University (OSU). She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Kansas, after completing her internship year at Duke University Medical Center.

Dr. Cheavens directs the Mood and Personality Studies (MAPS) research group at OSU, where she conducts investigations aimed at characterizing and improving treatment for disorders of emotion dysregulation, including borderline personality disorder and depression. She also studies ways to incorporate client strengths into treatments. Additionally, she directs and provides supervision in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy clinic.

The OSU MAPS lab is involved in two primary lines of research. First, we work to optimize treatments for emotion dysregulation, focused on borderline personality disorder and depression. We use a translational science framework in which we rely on, among other things, behavioral laboratory paradigms and social network assessments to characterize emotional and interpersonal difficulties, process research to identify potential mechanisms of change and maintenance, and outcome research to determine the efficacy of treatments. Second, we study ways to incorporate constructs associated with flourishing (e.g., hope, gratitude) as well as client-specific strengths into treatments for disorders of emotion dysregulation.

How do you stay current with developments in the field, both research and practice?

Serving as an Associate Editor, on editorial boards, and as an ad hoc reviewer helps me to stay current with developments in the field. Additionally, I rely on alerts, both from journals and Google Scholar, to let me know when something new and relevant has come out. Finally, I often find out about interesting and relevant developments through involvement in list serves, attendance at meetings, and discussions with colleagues and students.

How often and why do you attend the ABCT convention?

I have attended the ABCT convention annually, with a few exceptions, since I was an advanced graduate student. ABCT has always been my "scholarly home" and attendance at the conference serves many functions for me. First, I always learn something new, and it is a great way to hear about innovative and interesting developments in the field relatively early on. Second, it is a terrific time to reconnect with friends and colleagues at other institutions. Third, I think the ABCT convention provides tremendous training opportunities for my students and I like to experience the conventions with them as they are developing their professional identities.

How long have you been a member of ABCT?

For a little over 20 years; definitely since it was AABT.

How has ABCT helped you/your lab professionally?

In addition to providing an opportunity to share our work and stay connected with the work others are doing in the area, ABCT has helped my students and I develop relationships with other people doing similar work. It is such an important organization for those interested in evidence-based assessment and intervention in clinical psychology; in addition to highlighting the scholarly and empirical advances being made, ABCT provides the occasion to learn from some of the most skilled treatment developers and providers in our field. Further, we have benefitted from access to the ABCT affiliated publications and teaching, clinical, and research resources available through the website.

Does your lab have any traditions? Does your lab do anything together for fun?

We do all sorts of fun things together! It is important to us to celebrate the wins so we try to plan fun outings to celebrate papers being accepted, grants being awarded, and internship matches occurring as well as celebrations of personal events or accomplishments.

What advice would you give prospective trainees?

I think that learning as much as you can about the graduate training trajectory, starting with the application process and moving all the way through to your first job, is really important. In order to make good decisions about graduate school, it is important to know where you are trying to go professionally and how to get there. Finding the right match, both in terms of a mentor and a program, is an essential step in your professional development and career.

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