UT Tyler Researcher Receives Grant to Study New Approach to Treating Anxiety
June 16, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas – Dr. Sarah Sass, an assistant professor in the Dept. of Psychology and Counseling at the University of Texas at Tyler, has received a $17,150 grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to find out if anxiety can be treated by diverting people’s attention away from emotionally arousing stimuli.
Her proposal was selected from a pool of 48 applicants from 17 universities across Texas. The foundation awarded one-year grants totaling $226,770 to 13 tenure-track assistant professors exploring different aspects of mental health in Texas.
Sass will develop a computer program that can divert people’s attention away from emotionally arousing stimuli that may contribute to anxiety. She hopes to show that attention training is capable of reducing symptoms of anxiety.
“This project has potentially far-reaching implications for refining theories about the cause and treatment of anxiety. If proven effective, computer-based interventions can be used to treat people with less access to mental health resources, such as those without health insurance, from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds, or who live in rural locations,” Sass said.
“Anxiety disorders affect millions of people in the U.S. For example, general anxiety disorder affects about four million adults, while social anxiety disorder impacts another 5.3 million adults. This highlights the need to continue to look for effective treatments and that is just what Dr. Sass is doing with this grant,” said Dr. Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation.
The Hogg Foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Governor James S. Hogg, and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. The foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research, and public education.