Student Advising and the Interpersonal RVT

Student advising is primarily in the form of mentoring students a) in becoming acculturated to the scientific research enterprise through the development of team research projects and b) mentoring students through personal dissertation research projects. The Interpersonal Research Vertical Team is designed to offer students a structured step-wise process for researching and writing scholarly works suitable for publishing or presentation as well as sequential movement through the dissertation project, utilizing the expertise of myself as the project advisor, faculty research committee members and fellow students as collaborators on RVT projects. The Interpersonal Research Vertical Team focuses on the nexus of intrapersonal and interpersonal factors in relationships, within a systems paradigm. The work is rooted in clinical experience, a family psychology paradigm and an interpersonal model.


The Interpersonal RVT is designed to maximize achieving four main goals:

  1. Students acquiring a level of competency in understanding and utilizing effective research skills in the application of new knowledge for the benefit of persons and communities.
  2. Students identifying, researching and presenting a scholarly dissertation research project in fulfillment of academic program requirements and to further the knowledge base in the field of psychology.
  3. Students promoting the growth and development of the Interpersonal Research Vertical Team through team research on interpersonal topics.
  4. Student and faculty collaboration on specific faculty interpersonal research projects.

To that end the Interpersonal RVT is organized according to a mentor model, where each cohort mentors the cohort below it.

<Jessa Carlile and Maria Dal Maso

Jessa Carlile and Maria Dal Maso

Poster presented at national convention of APA in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Carlile, Dal Maso, Clark & Thoburn (2013,August),Courage and Quality of Family Relationships.


Noel Clark with poster presentation

Noel Clark with poster presentation

  • First Year Team Members:
  • Develop an understanding and familiarity of the Clinical Psychology program.
  • Become familiar with the procedures and culture of the RVT.
  • Gain experience with the processes of research and manuscript writing.
    • Assist team members with ongoing projects.
    • Assist in the development of new studies.
    • Explore areas of personal interest, make initial forays into the literature, and begin to identify areas of personal and team potential research.
  • Begin considering topics and procedures for second year project (2YP) and dissertation.
  • Consider involvement in opportunities to gain clinical experience.

Second Year Team Members:

  • Develop and complete 2YP.
  • Begin developing and conducting additional personal research projects.
  • Assist third and fourth year members in data collection and analysis of data.
  • Assist first year members in how to formulate a topic question and conduct a literature review.
  • Continue gaining clinical experience as possible.
  • Achieve M.S. degree.

Third Year Team Members:

  • Begin practicum.
  • Propose dissertation.
  • Complete comprehensive exams (comps).
  • Begin application process for internship.
  • Assist second year members in understanding the process of experimentation and writing a manuscript – data collection, analysis of data, results write-up, and discussion.
  • Assist fourth year members in data collection and analysis of data.

Fourth Year Team Members:

  • Begin advanced practicum.
  • Complete dissertation.
  • Apply for internship (early in year).
  • Assist second year team (and possibly third year) members in the process of experimentation and writing a manuscript – understanding data collection, analysis of data and results write-up and discussion.

Heather Lucas poster presentation

Heather Lucas poster presentation

The Interpersonal RVT has been focused on the dynamics of three relationship sets:

  1. Relationships in ministry. Early research from this RVT was on the dynamics of relationship between clergy, staff and congregation.  Research continues on understanding clergy spouses when there has been clergy sexual misconduct and the connection between clergy sexual misconduct and sexual addiction.
  2. Family psychology and disaster/international psychology .i.e. the impact of personal, family and community resources on recovery from natural and manmade disasters. Current research centers around the Health Support Team curriculum, a psychological first aid model that has been developed during the crisis in Haiti. The current project involves two qualitative studies; the first is on the impact of the HST curriculum on survivors and the second is the impact of the curriculum on trained peer support team members.
  3. Relationship between couples. The RVT is exploring:
    1. Issues related to mate selection and
    2. The influence of attachment in couples therapy
    3. Systems issues related to veterans reintegration into their families.
    4. Issues around the internet and dating.

Recent Student dissertation projects

Ahmad, Z. Muslim American veterans: Experience of faith and culture in the American military.

Bentley, J. Cross-cultural assessment of psychological symptoms among Somali refugees.

Boutinen, M. Female Body Frame, Body Dissastisfaction, and Eating Disorder Risk: A Moderated Mediation Model.

Carlile, J. Ecosystemic Effects of Military Sexual Trauma in Male Service Members and Veterans.

Davies, J. Autism spectrum disorder and emotional availability of parents.

Del Maso, M. Development of the Online Sexual Stimuli and Behavior Inventory.

Gilmore, S. Sex trafficking, trauma and resilience.
Gunn, G. Attachment, shame, and childhood sexual abuse on the acquisition of sexual addiction.

Hagan, A. The process of working ethically with multiple constellations of the family.

Hoffman, G. Attachment and its effect on the correlation between opposite-sex parent and romantic partner personality

Jones, K. The effects of a mindful parenting program on parenting behavior.

McBrearty, M. Early psychosexual imprinting and its influence on future mate preference.

Sanchéz, O. Latinos and Depressive Symptomatology: A Multidimensional Investigation of Acculturation.

Shelly, L. A qualitative analysis of Critical Incident Stress management following a disaster.