Dr. Shenk has recently initiated a programmatic line of research for optimizing the selective prevention of psychiatric disorders following an instance of child maltreatment. This effort involves the identification of active and inert treatment components of existing interventions (Berkowitz, Stover, & Marans, 2011) in addition to the testing of novel components (Shenk & Fruzzetti, 2011) in order to build more effective multi-component interventions.
Recent funding awarded to Dr. Shenk (Grant #: 423-241001) is supporting this line of research through a randomized clinical trial evaluating the feasibility of delivering existing and novel treatment components as stand-alone preventive interventions following child maltreatment (IRB application is pending approval). However, measurement of change in transdiagnostic mechanisms is outside the scope and budget of the existing clinical trial. The Mark Chaffin Division 37 Early Career Psychologist Research Grant would advance this line of research by providing supplemental funds to measure change in several transdiagnostic mechanisms during the clinical trial.
The coinciding timelines of the trial and Early Career Psychologist Research Grant provide an excellent opportunity to evaluate which treatment components achieve a preventive effect by targeting transdiagnostic mechanisms relevant to the child maltreatment population and identified in prior basic science research: affect regulation, psychological flexibility, and episodic memory.