There are several projects currently ongoing in the MAPS Lab. See below for brief descriptions of a few of these projects and please feel free to contact us if you are interested in participating in any way.
Individuals with depression and anxiety often report a decreased sense of social connection, yet traditional therapies, such as CBT, may not be effective at improving social connection. Previously, we have conducted research showing that acts of kindness not only improve social connectedness, but also improve depression/anxiety symptoms and life satisfaction for individuals with depressive and anxiety disorders. Currently, we are interested in determining what characteristics of acts of kindness make them a more effective intervention compared to other well-being interventions, such as social activities and cognitive reappraisal. Specifically, we are working to examine whether individuals are able to complete acts of kindness at a higher quality compared to other well-being interventions.
Currently, we are involved in testing some of the more basic tenets of hope theory. For example, it has long been theorized that hope is related to the ability to generate solutions to potential problems and the ability to persist in goal pursuits in the face of goal blockages. We are testing these and related tenets in an effort to continue to adapt and refine therapeutic interventions designed to increase hope.
Emotion Regulation Studies
Individuals with mood and personality disorders often report difficulties in changing the course and intensity of their emotional experiences. We are interested in the addressing emotion regulation difficulties through therapeutic interventions as well as bettering our understanding of the particular contexts in which regulation is most difficult. Specifically, we are currently conducting studies examining flexibility in emotion regulation and specificity of emotion language.
Social Media Studies
Social media engagement is a prominent feature in everyday life, especially amongst young adults. The impact that social media use has on mental health has varying effects based on several factors, such as the purpose of use, length of use, and the content being viewed. We are interested in studying the double edged sword of social media and how leveraging the content can produce wide reaching impacts on mental health in both beneficial and detrimental ways. Specifically, we are interested in how various language patterns in social media posts have differential effects on beliefs about mental illness about the self, others, and the world.