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The following projects are currently in progress.

Project Trust

Project Trust is an exploratory study that aims to close the gap between spiritual communities, historically marginalized groups, and mental health providers.


Kaiser Permanente of Northern California is supporting the program through a grant to the San Francisco Theological Seminary.  


The initial phase of Project Trust is focusing on African American individuals in faith communities, in Oakland and San Francisco including sexual and gender minorities (LGBTQ+) in Christian congregations. 

New Zealand Longitudinal Study of Ageing

The Risk and Resilience Research group has partnered with the Health and Aging Research Team at Massey University to follow the choices and life circumstances of New Zealand older adults to determine the factors that predict positive psychological outcomes in late life. Specifically, the research (1) explores how older people’s choices about workforce participation impacts wellbeing; (2) identifies factors that influence health in older adults as they move from work into retirement; (3) monitors the variations in these influences over time and (4) of most import for our purposes, monitors how these factors vary between groups (e.g. according to age, gender and ethnicity) in society.

Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (STARRS)

The Army Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (STARRS) is large-scale, comprehensive research initiative designed to study mental health outcomes in active duty Army personnel. Between 2011 and 2013, over 30,000 Soldiers were assessed on a variety of historical, demographic, and psychological measures. The Risk and Resilience Research Lab has access to the STARRS datasets, and has been engaged in secondary data analysis, pursuing a variety of research topics. More information on the STARRS study can be found here.

Science application for Risk Reduction (SAFRR): HayWired Scenario

This Risk and Resilience Research students are collaborating with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to demonstrate a proof of concept for a narrative-based template aimed at informing the bay area of earthquake risk along the Hayward fault and proper procedures to take in an event, such as demonstrated in the HayWired scenario.  The research focuses upon culturally diverse and vulnerable groups. 

PTSD research among North Korean defectors

Considering the increasing number of North Korean defectors living in South Korea (> 30,000 in 2016) and their pervasive traumatic experiences in North Korea and during defection, it is important to research on risk/protective factors and symptoms of PTSD among the population. Despite the increasing needs of the urgent care for this population due to the deteriorating social/financial situations in North Korea, most research has focused on their social adjustment (outcomes) rather than their mental health and precipitating factors of their mental disorders. Throughout 2014 and 2015, data collection has already been completed with the cooperation of The Committee for Democratization of North Korea. This research was presented as part of the poster presentation session at the 2016 APA annual convention in Denver, CO. Currently, data analysis is in the process for the purposes of publishing in a professional journal.

TAP2 and VAT.

Jennifer Dack is currently working on her dissertation using a data set from the San Francisco VA. She has been working on a controlled trial study with principal investigator, Dr. David Pennington, that examines Topiramate treatment for alcohol dependence in veterans with PTSD and/or TBI.  She will be looking at the relationships between ptsd and anger/hostility with the influence of heavy alcohol use and emotion regulation. Her sample consists of veterans who have sought treatment for their ptsd and alcohol use.

Elder Financial Exploitation

Our lab explores issues that combine psychology and the law. Specifically, we are currently researching the magnitude and repercussions of elderly financial exploitation, and the federal and state institutional mechanisms of support of elderly victims post financial exploitation.  

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