Behavioral Sciences Research

The Department of Behavioral Sciences is a leader in research across several areas in health psychology and neuropsychology. Research in sleep, pain and traumatic stress are special strengths. Our leading faculty are frequently invited to provide keynote addresses and serve on publication and organizational boards. Many of our early career faculty are gaining research momentum, and their publications appear in many of the best journals in psychology and medicine. We collaborate broadly across the medical specialties at Rush University Medical Center, and our work is largely translational with a real-world emphasis.

In 2015, the department secured $3,326,000 in research grant funding, ranking among the leading departments at Rush. Furthermore, our faculty and students are active in disseminating research findings, with 70 to 80 publications per year.

Research in the Department of Behavioral Sciences is divided into the following sections and labs.

Section of Outpatient Psychotherapy

The section of outpatient psychotherapy includes research across several areas of health psychology:

  • The Traumatic Stress and Resilience Research Group focuses on how individuals and groups are impacted by traumatic life circumstances and how that translates to psychological distress and illness, as well as a surprising degree of thriving.
  • The Eating Behavior, Obesity and Diabetes Lab investigates behavioral and psychological factors in metabolic conditions, particularly obesity and diabetes, and applies this knowledge to the development of interventions that improve treatment of these conditions and quality of life in the patients who have them.
  • The Acute and Chronic Pain Research Lab studies the emotional, cognitive, social and physiological determinants of acute and chronic pain intensity.

Section of Neuropsychology

Section of Sleep and Biological Rhythms

Researchers in the Department of Behavioral Sciences have been conducting internationally recognized research on sleep and circadian rhythms:

Section of Geropsychology and Rehabilitation

Research and scholarship in geriatric and rehabilitation psychology focuses on a range of topics, including the following:

  • The interaction of depression and cardiometabolic syndrome in older adults
  • The efficacy of community-based interventions to change health and self-care behavior
  • Management of multiple chronic illnesses
  • Physician communication
  • Psychological and physiological consequences of chronic stress in older adults
  • Elder abuse

Section of Psychosocial Oncology

The Psychosocial Oncology and Cancer Integrative Medicine Service conducts patient-oriented research on the following topics: