UNT Professors Receive Research Grant to Study Links Between Trauma and PTSD
May 24, 2010
AUSTIN, Texas – Dr. Adriel Boals and Dr. Amy Murrell, assistant professors in the Dept. of Psychology at the University of North Texas in Denton, will test the effectiveness of a promising treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder with the help of a research grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
Their proposal was selected from a pool of 47 applicants from 19 universities across Texas. The foundation awarded 10 grants totaling nearly $150,000. The one-year grants are capped at $15,000 each.
Boals and Murrell will study the effectiveness of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) in treating post-traumatic stress symptoms caused by relationship violence or sexual assault. ACT promotes strategies to live life in the present and focus more on important values and goals and less on painful thoughts, feelings and experiences, according to the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science.
“The cost of trauma to individuals and to society is considerable. A critical consequence of any type of traumatic event, such as relationship violence, is that a person may come to construe the event as a core part of identity, affecting his or her sense of self and view of the world and leading to emotional difficulties,” said Murrell.
The study is the first of its kind and will include 80 participants.
“This study could identify exciting new treatment options for victims of trauma such as veterans and survivors of assault or domestic violence,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the foundation.
The Hogg Foundation was founded in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James Hogg to promote improved mental health for the people of Texas. The foundation’s grants and programs support mental health consumer services, research, policy analysis and public education projects in Texas. The foundation is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.