Adult Psychopathology

About the Adult Psychopathology Program

The study of psychopathology, or mental disorder, is a central focus for clinical psychologists. Many of the faculty members in the Psychology Department at Kent State are engaged in research, teaching, and/or clinical practice related to adult psychopathology.  The adult psychopathology program at Kent State University is comprised of faculty and students with active programs of research on the etiology, course, and treatment of emotional disorders, including anxiety and mood disorders, eating disorders, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders.  This research utilizes experimental, treatment development, and field research methodologies.  A large proportion of the research undertaken is conducted with patient populations.

Research Training in Adult Psychopathology

Psychopathology research is broadly defined as investigation into the nature and origins of mental disorders, and into the factors that affect the course and outcome of these disorders. The training for the specialization in adult psychopathology involves engagement in research, in collaboration with a faculty mentor, on a topic related to adult psychopathology. During the course of graduate training, a student in this specialty area works toward identifying and developing a particular research interest area of his/her own within the general area of the mentor's expertise. Students typically conduct both their master's thesis and doctoral dissertation in their identified area of interest.

Graduate Coursework in Adult Psychopathology

All students in the clinical program take classes related to adult psychopathology and receive training in adult assessment and treatment as part of the core program. Students may elect to pursue advanced training in adult psychopathology by choosing it as a specialty. The adult psychopathology specialty area is defined primarily as a research focus area, complemented by related coursework and clinical training experiences. Students complete all departmental and clinical core course requirements, as well as the clinical program's requisite number of clinical and experimental elective credits. We recommend that students in the adult psychology program take the course Theories of Personality, and either Physiological Psychology or Cognitive Neuropsychology, as part of the departmental core. Students also are required to choose at least three of their electives from courses directly related to their particular research focus within adult psychopathology (e.g., seminars on schizophrenia, borderline psychopathology, aggression, neuropsychology, metacognition, cognitive behavior therapy, and/or psychopharmacology, depending on the student's specific research focus). A student's choice of core courses and electives is made in consultation with the faculty mentor. Students also may choose to have some of their elective requirements waived so that they can involve themselves in additional research projects.  

Clinical Experiences

Students in this specialty area complete their practicum requirements by taking the general practicum in their second year, and selecting an adult advanced or specialty practicum in their third year. It is recommended that students choose a third-year specialty practicum related to their research focus, if one is available. In addition, students may request that they be assigned cases related to their area of interest when it is possible and feasible for the Clinic to do this. Students also complete at least one year of the required field placement in an adult assessment and/or treatment setting.

Clinical Internships,  Postdoctoral Fellowships, and Employment of Graduates

Adult psychopathology students have obtained excellent clinical internships.  Most students have gone on to complete postdoctoral fellowships, and all graduates have subsequently obtained academic, research, and/or clinical positions in the field.  

Core Faculty

Core Clinical Faculty

Dr. Jeffrey Ciesla - The processes and course of depressive disorders.

Dr. Karin Coifman - Emotion processing and emotion regulatory strategies in the development and persistence of psychopathology in stressed populations.

Dr. Janis Crowther - Body image disturbance and eating disorders, including the topography and function of binge eating.

Dr. Nancy Docherty - Cognitive and emotional disturbances associated with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

Dr. David Fresco - Cognitive, emotional, and physiological reactivity, and emotion regulation, in anxiety and depression as they relate to risk and resilience factors and in terms of their implications for treatment.

Core Experimental Faculty

Dr. Douglas Delahanty - Psychophysiological predictors and correlates of post-traumatic stress disorder, and pharmacological interventions for the disorder.

Faculty with Related Interests

  • Dr. Yossef Ben-Porath studies the assessment of personality and psychopathology.
  • Dr. John Gunstad studies neurocognitive functioning, particularly as it relates to medical conditions.
  • Dr. Angela Neal-Barnett studies the development of anxiety and anxiety related disorders in African Americans.
  • Mary Beth Spitznagel studies neurocognitive functioning as it relates to physical health and aging.
  • Dr. John Updegraff studies cognitive and emotional processes that underlie health, well-being, and adaptation to stress.

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