Research Projects

The mission of the Behavioral Medicine Technology Laboratory is to develop and evaluate cutting edge approaches to providing technology-assisted interactive programs for both the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.  The laboratory is dedicated to putting Stanford University at the forefront of research in this area through evidence-based psychiatric techniques, stepped-care interventions, population-based change strategies, and the innovative use of technology. We achieve this through research and project development, working in partnership with faculty, students and research groups. Examples of previous and current projects include healthy weight regulation, eating disorders, anxiety/mood disorders and clinical training.

Current Projects

IaM (Image and Mood)

IaM (Image and Mood)

Eating disorders are common and disabling problems among college-aged women. Research has identified a group of college-aged women at particularly high risk for eating disorders and co-morbid conditions. The purpose of this study is to determine if an Internet-based intervention, called IaM (Image and Mood) can reduce the onset of eating disorders among this highest risk population and also reduce co-morbidity (such as depression.)    IaM consists of ten weekly psychoeducational sessions, followed by a monthly monitoring and feedback component.  The program includes a moderated discussion board, self-monitoring tools and journals.   If effective, IaM could have a major public health impact on reducing eating disorder rates. The project is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. 

Partners: Denise Wilfley, PhD, and her team at Washington University are co-investigators in this study.  Corinna Jacobi, PhD, and her team at Technische Universität Dresden conducted some of the pilot studies related to this work.  The on-line program was provided by ThriveResearch.

Project Status:  To date, over 500 women have been recruited to the study.   About 200 women have been randomized to IaM. Follow-up for the main studies will occur through January 2012.

Contact: Darby Cunning

 

Student Bodies

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Student Bodies is an online psychoeducational intervention designed to help women at risk for developing eating disorders develop healthier dietary practices and improve body satisfaction.

Since 1995, Student Bodies has been evaluated with hundreds of high school and college students.  The program has been found to help women develop healthier dietary practices and improve their body image.  Student Bodies is currently being evaluated in a multisite study investigating the impact that the online discussion group feature as on the program’s effectiveness to reduce risk factors and disordered eating pathology in students likely to develop eating

Partners: The online program is currently provided by Beyond Blackboards.

Contact: http://www.beyondblackboards.com/Contact.aspx

 

Student Bodies-BED (Binge Eating Disorder)

Student Bodies-BED is an Internet-facilitated intervention for healthy weight maintenance and the reduction of binge eating in adolescents. It is a targeted program for males and females at risk for overweight.  The program is  a16 week semi-structured program that uses cognitive-behavioral principles for binge eating disorder, healthy weight loss strategies, and hunger and satiety awareness skills.  Currently, a shortened 12 week version of the program is being evaluated by adolescents in the United States and Australia. 

Contact: Megan Jones

 

StayingFit

StayingFit

As rates of childhood obesity and adolescent eating disorders rise, the eating and physical activity patterns of teenagers have become an especially important focus. Unfortunately, health education and behavior programs are being cut at schools across the country.  The purpose of this study is to determine if an Internet-based intervention, called Staying Fit, can reduce the risk of obesity and eating disorders in high school students.

The program is delivered to all students, but is tailored to individual risk level. Weekly monitoring forms and feedback help personalize the program, and an interactive discussion group helps to make change a community-wide goal.   Early pilot studies have suggested that similar programs could have a beneficial effect on weight maintenance and risk for eating disorders. In this pilot phase, 500 students will take the program at three sites.

Partners: Joanne Williams at Murdoch Children's Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia) and Denise Wilfley, PhD, and her team at Washington University, The on-line program was provided by Health Munk.

Project Status: The program was offered to all 9th grade students at a Bay Area high school in San Mateo, Ca and a high school student high school in St. Louis.  The core program will be offered again to students for the 2011-12 school year and to several high schools in Melbourne Australia.   In addition, we hope to add and evaluate new program features this coming year, including the use of games, virtual reality and apps.

 

The Whole Image: Body Image Culture Change Program

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The Whole Image: Body Image Culture Change Program

The Whole Image is an Internet-based program aimed at improving the culture around body image for high school males and females. Rather than focusing solely on individuals’ body image concerns, this program focuses on improving the social culture, such as student communication, behaviors, and social norms related to body image. The Whole Image consists of 8 weekly sessions, as well as in-class activities and a monitored discussion board. The goal of the current study is to examine the effectiveness of this approach in reducing body image concerns among adolescents.

Partners: Kaleazy Creative (www.kaleazy.com) was responsible for web design and programming. Kaleazy Creative is a multidisciplinary design firm based in Los Angeles.

Project Status: To date, approximately 300 high school students have participated in the study, with approximately half of these students receiving the program and half serving as a control group.

Contact: Hannah WeismanMercedes Yee

 

P@N (Parents Act Now)

Early detection and rapid intervention is needed for AN, which has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders and is often resistant to treatment. Studies suggest that early intervention in adolescents with AN is effective, especially when parents are helped to change and manage weight restoration. Thus, early interventions aimed at supporting parental management of eating behaviors in adolescents at high risk for developing AN could be effective. The Parents Act Now (P@N) intervention is based on the Family-Based Treatment for AN by Lock (2001) and an Internet-based intervention to prevent eating disorders for adolescents and parents (Jacobi et al., 2007). The intervention is comprised of six online sessions accessible over six weeks. Components include educational reading, online discussion group, monitoring journals, videos, and two phone calls to enable individualized feedback.

The primary aims of the Phase I pilot studies are to examine the feasibility and short-term efficacy of a preventive intervention for Anorexia Nervosa (AN). The project aims to extend prior research by investigating whether the risk status of adolescent females can be altered through an online parent program.

The project is funded by the Swiss Anorexia Nervosa Foundation and the Davis Foundation.

Partners: Corinna Jacobi, PhD, and her team at Technische Universität Dresden conducted some of the pilot studies related to this work.   

Project Status: To date, 88 adolescent females have been screened for Anorexia risk in the United States and 701 adolescent females have been screened in Germany. 25 parent/child pairs have enrolled in the US pilot study and 21 in the German pilot study. Data collection and analysis for the Phase I pilot studies are complete.

Contact: Megan Jones

 

Disordered Eating Symptom Reduction Study (Women 18-35)

The Symptom Reduction Program (SRP) is a promising new computer-based treatment that has been found to be effective for many people suffering from anxiety disorders and there is some evidence to suggest it could be effective for women with eating disorders as well. Women participating in this study will complete eight 15-minute sessions over one month (2 times per week for 4 weeks).

Project Status: Currently accepting participants (see Study Opportunities)

Contact: Raquel Friedman, 650-725-5735

 

Body Image Improvement Study (Women 18-30)

Body Image Improvement Study (Women 18-30)

Researchers at Stanford are investigating the effectiveness of a state-of-the-art computer program designed to improve body image among college-aged women.  Previous research has found this program to be effective after only one session. We are interested in whether the positive effects of completing the program can be maintained over time.  Each session of the program takes only 10 minutes per week, and the entire intervention is completed in four consecutive weeks at a convenient location on the Stanford campus. 

Project Status: Currently accepting participants (see Study Opportunities).

Contact: Clare Purvis (650) 725-5393

 

Refresh

Refresh is an Internet based program focused on behavioral and cognitive strategies to improve mood, physical health and academic performance by improving sleep hygiene.  The program focuses on developing healthy sleep patterns through 8 weekly sessions; sleep diaries; and strategies to improve one’s sleep environment. 

Contact: Mickey Trockel, PhD, M.D.

 

Staying Free

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Staying Free is designed to provide you with the skills to deliver a smoking cessation intervention to hospitalized patients.  In addition, the skills that you acquire will be beneficial to helping individual in many other healthcare settings to quit smoking.  The Staying Free intervention has been well-validated in numerous clinical research trials by investigators from the Stanford University School of Medicine and shown to be highly effective when transferred to a clinical practice settings.

This training program will take on average two hours to complete.  It is divided into sections allowing you flexibility to work through the training at your own pace.

Additional information is available for those individuals who complete the Staying Free training program and would like to become certified providers of this program.  If you are interested in this certification, please email Nancy Houston Miller.

 

Department of Veteran Affairs Training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for Depression; and Department of Veteran Affairs Training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Insomnia

As part of an effort to bring evidence-based psychotherapies to Veterans who can benefit from them, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed national initiatives to disseminate and implement evidence-based psychotherapies for depression, insomnia, and other conditions throughout the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) – the health care component of VA (Karlin et al, 2010). Included in this rollout, are two education and evaluation programs for depression: CBT-D axnd ACT-D, as well as a CBT education and evaluation program for insomnia (CBT-I). The overall goal of these programs is to provide competency-based training to core VA mental health staff in four core disciplines (psychology, psychiatry, social work, and nursing) who treat Veteran patients for depression and insomnia. Each of these training programs focus on both the theory and application of their respective treatment modalities and include an initial experientially-based workshop followed by a weekly consultation with an expert in CBT-D, ACT-D or CBT-I. The Stanford-based evaluation team is currently examining several evaluation levels in each of the programs including: workshop, therapist, patient, consultant and implementation.

Partners: Evaluation Program Manager is Lori Peterson; Jerry Yesavage and his team at the Palo Alto VA are responsible for program recruitment and support; and Robyn Walser, Menlo Park VA, is in charge of the ACT-D training development.

Project Status: To date over 450 VA therapists have been trained in either CBT for Depression, ACT for Depression or CBT for Insomnia.  Another 600 (approximate) are currently being trained or will participate in one of the remaining workshops scheduled through November, 2011(with subsequent consultation periods following the workshop).

Contact: Darby Cunning

Recently Completed Projects

Social Connections

Social Connections is a universal Internet-based program designed to increase social skills and social self-efficacy for first semester college students. The aim of the program is to reduce the risk of adjustment disorders, loneliness, and depression among college freshmen by improving their interpersonal relationships.  Students may choose sessions that are of most interest to them. Session topics include: friendships, partying, dating, assertiveness and conflict resolution skills, relationship dynamics, and breakups.

Partners: The on-line program was provided by ThriveResearch.

Project Status: In Fall 2010, the program was piloted in two first year student college dorms for feasibility, engagement, and effectiveness.

Contact: Hannah Peters

 

Social Nerves

Social Nerves is a universal and targeted Internet-based program designed to reduce social anxiety in high school students. The program teaches basic social and communication skills, including how to meet new people, improve assertiveness, and resolve conflicts with peers. Other topics include developing ways to cope with anxiety, challenging negative thoughts, and improving public speaking. Social Nerves consists of 8 weekly psychoeducational sessions, and integrates discussion boards, interactive activities and exercises, and weekly “Stress-Less Challenges” to reinforce the material learned.

Partners: The on-line program was provided by ThriveResearch.

Project Status: 60 students from a Bay Area high school completed the program in Fall 2010.  The program was assessed for feasibility, engagement, and effectiveness.

Contact: Alexandra Thurston

 

inJoy

InJoy is a universal Internet-based program aimed at reducing risk for depression and increasing happiness through the use of positive psychology and cognitive-behavioral techniques.  The program’s interventions target the modifiable risk factors for depression, and teach high school and college students to manage difficult emotions, identify personal strengths, and develop coping strategies to improve mood and relationships.  InJoy consists of 8 interactive, psychoeducational sessions and a monitored discussion board.

Project Status: In Fall 2009, 180 freshmen high school students completed InJoy.  Pre and post data was gathered on 110 students, 23 of whom were identified to be at high-risk for depression at pre-test.  There was a significant reduction in depression scores within the high-risk student group. 

Following the above study, a second study in spring 2010 was conducted with 58 high school students, using a revised  (more interactive and engaging) version of InJoy and a control program.  There were no significant changes in depression scores for the high or low risk students in this study, however there were modest increases in coping and emotion regulation and a decrease in perceived stress for the universal population of the InJoy group.  Additionally, students found the InJoy program to be significantly more engaging (helpful and interesting) than the control program. 

Contact: Nicole Redzic

 

Social Buzz

Social Buzz is an Internet-based program developed to prevent alcohol abuse and reduce binge drinking among college-aged students.   The program taught first year college students the about alcohol use and the consequences it has on both the individual and group level. The program provided skills training on challenging unhealthy cultural ideals about alcohol use.

Partners: The on-line program was provided by ThriveResearch

Project Status: In Fall 2009, the program was piloted in a first year student college dorm for feasibility, engagement, and effectiveness.

Contact: Jakki Bailey