Steffany J. Fredman 

photo of Steffany Fredman

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies; Karl R. and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professor for the Study of Families Pennsylvania State University

Contact Information

205 Health and Human Development Building

814-867-5296

(fax) 814-863-7963

sjf23@psu.edu

Research Interests

My research focuses on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions within an interpersonal and developmental context. My work sits at the junction of human development and family studies and clinical psychology and represents a synthesis of cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and ecological perspectives. Specifically, I seek to enhance understanding of the ways that intimate relationships affect, and are affected by, the presence of mental health problems in one member of a dyad or family system and how involving intimate others can improve both individual and relationship outcomes for those with PTSD and their loved ones, particularly during high stress developmental contexts and transition periods. In my lab, we are also applying cutting-edge quantitative methods (e.g., dynamical systems modeling) to better understand the regulation and co-regulation of emotional arousal between partners on short time scales across multiple samples.

Current projects include:

Accelerated Couple-Based Intervention for PTSD

I am the co-developer of Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD (CBCT for PTSD; Monson & Fredman), an empirically-supported 15-session couple-based treatment for PTSD that has been tested in civilian, Veteran, and active duty military samples. Although CBCT for PTSD is efficacious in simultaneously treating PTSD symptoms and improving intimate relationship functioning, the current format presents challenges for large scale dissemination within both an active duty military context and the Department of Veterans Affairs. My colleagues and I have developed an accelerated version of CBCT for PTSD that has the potential to be readily “scaled up” within both the DoD and VA. I am the Principal Investigator of an externally-funded study investigating the efficacy of an accelerated, multi-couple group version of CBCT for PTSD (AM-CBCT) delivered in a weekend retreat format near Ft. Hood for active duty Service Members and Veterans with PTSD and their partners. This study is being conducted under the auspices of the DoD- and VA-funded Consortium to Alleviate PTSD (CAP; https://tango.uthscsa.edu/consortiumtoalleviateptsd). If our accelerated, multi-couple version of CBCT for PTSD shows promise, we will use these data as preliminary studies to apply for a larger RCT to test the efficacy of an accelerated, multi-dyad group version of CBCT for PTSD that could have broad impact within the DoD and VA.

Academic and Relationship Adjustment in Student Veterans with PTSD

Over 1 million returning student Service Members and Veterans have taken advantage of the GI bill to pay for college, but there are high levels of psychological distress, academic impairment, and interpersonal relationship dysfunction in many of these students, which may interfere with their being able to fully avail themselves of their educational opportunities. I am the PI of an internally funded grant conducted in collaboration with colleagues from Psychology and the PSU Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness to examine the associations among PTSD symptoms, intimate relationship adjustment, and academic functioning in student Service Members and Veterans to help inform targeted prevention and intervention programs for this population. Graduate and undergraduate students are actively involved in data analysis and manuscript preparation based on existing data, as well as in protocol development, IRB coordination, and software programming for new data collection.

Posttraumatic Stress during the Transition to Parenthood

In an effort to reduce adverse outcomes for children of parents with PTSD, we seek to capitalize on a unique window of opportunity – the transition to parenthood – to engage first-time parents in which one or both members have experienced a trauma and are experiencing clinically elevated PTSD symptoms. In collaboration with Dr. Mark Feinberg of the PSU Prevention Research Center, we are conducting research on the intersection of individual and couple functioning during the transition to parenthood and the implications for parenting and child well-being. Graduate students are currently involved in manuscript preparation using existing data on the association between PTSD symptoms, couple functioning, and parenting attitudes and behaviors during the transition to parenthood and will have opportunities to be involved in protocol development, data collection, and grant submissions.

Education

1996--B.A., Psychology, Amherst College
2007--Pre-Doctoral Clinical Internship, Boston Consortium in Clinical Psychology
2007--Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2010--Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Women's Health Sciences Division, VA National Center for PTSD

Professional Experience

  • 2014-Present, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2010-2013, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Psychology, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 2009-2010, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine

Honors and Awards

  • 2017-present Karl R. Fink and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professorship
  • 2016 Teaching Excellence Award, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2015-2017 Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award Renewal, National Institutes of Health
  • 2014-2015 Fran and Holly Soistman Faculty Endowment, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2012 Texas A&M NSF ADVANCE Center for Women Faculty Workshop Scholar
  • 2011-2012 Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award Renewal, National Institutes of Health
  • 2008-2010 Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award, National Institutes of Health
  • 2007 Participant, Klaus-Grawe Think Tank Meeting, Zurich and Zuoz, Switzerland
  • 2006 American Psychological Foundation Todd E. Husted Memorial Award
  • 2005 Martin S. Wallach Award, Outstanding Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2004-2006 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, National Institute of Mental Health

Selected Publications

Fredman, S. J., Beck, J. G., Shnaider, P., *Le, Y., Pukay-Martin, N. D., *Pentel, K. Z., & Marques, L. (in press). Longitudinal associations between PTSD symptoms and dyadic conflict communication following a severe motor vehicle accident. Behavior Therapy, 48, 235-246. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2016.05.001

Fredman, S. J., *Le, Y., Marshall, A. D., Brick, T. R., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). A dyadic perspective on PTSD symptoms’ associations with couple functioning and parenting stress in first-time parents. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 6, 117-132. doi:10.1037/cfp0000079

*Le, Y., Fredman, S. J., & Feinberg, M. E. (2017). Parenting stress mediates the association between negative affectivity and harsh parenting: A longitudinal dyadic analysis. Journal of Family Psychology, 31, 679-688. doi:10.1037/fam0000315

Fredman, S. J., Baucom, D. H., Boeding, S., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2015). Relatives’ emotional involvement moderates the effects of family therapy for bipolar disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 81-91. doi:10.1037/a0037713

Fredman, S. J., Vorstenbosch, V., Wagner, A. C., Macdonald, A., & Monson, C. M. (2014). Partner accommodation in posttraumatic stress disorder: Initial testing of the Significant Others’ Response to Trauma Scale (SORTS). Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 372-381. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.04.001

Monson, C. M., Fredman, S. J., Macdonald, A. M., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Resick, P. A., & Schnurr, P. P. (2012). Effect of cognitive-behavioral couple therapy for PTSD: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 308, 700-709. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9307.

Monson, C. M., & Fredman, S. J. (2012). Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: Harnessing the healing power of relationships. New York, NY: Guilford.

Fredman, S. J., Monson, C. M., Schumm, J. A., Adair, K. C., Taft, C. T., & Resick, P. A. (2010). Associations among disaster exposure, intimate relationship adjustment, and PTSD symptoms: Can disaster exposure enhance a relationship? Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23, 446-451. doi: 10.1002/jts.20555

Fredman, S. J., Baucom, D. H., Miklowitz, D. J., & Stanton, S. E. (2008). Observed emotional involvement and overinvolvement in families of patients with bipolar disorder. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 71-79. doi:10.1037/0893-3200.22.1.71

Fredman, S. J., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Macdonald, A., Wagner, A. C., Vorstenbosch, V., & Monson, C. M. (2016). Partner accommodation moderates treatment outcomes for couple therapy for PTSD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. doi:10.1037/ccp0000061

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Steffany Fredman vitae

Center Affiliations

  • Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development

Strategic Themes

  • Domains of Health and Behavior
  • Contexts and Social Institutions