Welcome to the Affective and Biological Underpinnings of Substance Use and Anxiety (ABUSA) lab in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University. In the ABUSA lab we seek to identify underlying vulnerabilities that place individuals at risk for co-occurring anxiety pathology and substance use disorders, and/or may serve to maintain associated dysfunction.
Our program of work is translational in nature and utilizes laboratory paradigms with an emphasis on stress provocation studies to understand these processes. However, our end goal is to develop targeted interventions to help improve both health and mental health outcomes for this difficult to treat population.
Given the bidirectional relations of behavior, affect, and physiology, it is our belief that psychological interventions should be integrative. Thus, toward our goal of understanding risk factors for anxiety and substance use, we take a multi-method approach, utilizing a combination of self-report, behavioral, and psychophysiological methods.
Current research focuses on cigarette smoking, with an emphasis on understanding factors that may moderate affective and behavioral responses to acute nicotine withdrawal in the context of stress. Future directions of the lab include the development of novel smoking cessation interventions that target both cognitive and physiological parameters.