Clinical Ph.D. Student Awarded Psi Chi Research Grant

Rowan University Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology, Krista Herbert, M.A. was awarded a 2018-19 Spring Graduate Research Grant by Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. Herbert, a Ph.D. student in Dr. Jim A. Haugh’s Research on Anxiety and Depression (ROAD) lab, is using the grant for a study that aims to examine the feasibility and acceptability of implementing mobile applications to alleviate depressive symptoms in primary care populations.

“These grants are prestigious and competitive,” Haugh said. “In my 18 years at Rowan, this is the first student (undergraduate or graduate) that I know who has been successful at securing one. The grant also highlights the high-level work that is being done by students in our doctoral program and provides another indicator of the quality of our program and the students in it.”

This grant provides financial support for research examining the use of mobile apps for people with mild to moderate depression in primary care settings. These individuals often do not seek out treatment whether that treatment is traditional talk therapy or psychiatric medications. The research indicates; however, that a number of these patients would like to try to get help in more non-traditional ways. This grant will allow the research team to fulfill this need and examine how feasible this work is in a primary care setting. This initial project has already set the stage for future, larger-scale grant work.

For the study, participants will be randomized to one of four conditions: a problem-solving mobile app, cognitive behavioral mobile app, a mindfulness mobile app, or a waitlist control condition. Those in the app conditions will be asked to use the app at least once per week for six weeks. They will then assess outcomes at week six and one month later. Those in the waitlist control will have access to the apps at the end of their participation and can be “re-entered” into the study with the app of their choice in order to assess its effectiveness.

The Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology, which is in its fourth year, has helped raise the profile of the Psychology Department and gives the students a path to help people in real life situations. The program also has a unique focus on integrating mental and physical health perspective in order to treat patients holistically in primary care and other health settings. It also allows for the students to think outside the box and come up with innovative ways to help people.

“The doctoral program encourages students to become independent researchers and create our own research program,” Herbert commented. “Getting a grant like this allows me to do the research I want to do—research I am excited to conduct. Receiving this grant also gives me the confidence that I am receiving the training necessary to pursue to my long-term career goals.”

About Rowan University Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology:
The Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology is a doctoral program which recently was granted Accreditation on Contingency from the American Psychological Association. Information about the program can be found at by clicking here or by contacting Dr. Haugh who also serves as the Director of Clinical Training for the program.