Steffany J. Fredman
Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
205 Health and Human Development Building
My research focuses on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and related conditions within a family and developmental context. My work sits at the junction of clinical psychology and human development and family studies and represents a synthesis of cognitive-behavioral and ecological/family systems perspectives. The goal of my work is to promote individual and couple/family well-being during high stress developmental contexts, including the post-deployment period, the college years, and the transition to parenthood. 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. I am the Director of the PSU Couple and Family Adaptation to Stress (CFAS) Lab, where, across both basic and applied studies, we apply cutting-edge quantitative methods (e.g., actor-partner interdependence models, multi-level modeling, structural equation modeling, intensive longitudinal assessment) to better understand the dynamic interplay between posttraumatic stress symptoms and intimate relationship adjustment during and across specific temporal contexts.
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. 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. To address these concerns and to capitalize on the fact that Service Members may be relatively more receptive to intervention because they and their partners have the support of their command and broader military community, my colleagues and I have developed an accelerated version of the therapy 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 at 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. Graduate students interested in developing and testing couple-based prevention and intervention programs for military and Veteran couples can be involved in protocol development and data analysis.
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 in the process of developing a trauma-informed intervention that represents a hybrid of CBCT for PTSD and Family Foundations (Feinberg & Kan, 2008), a universal transition to parenting program that focuses on the co-parenting relationship as a conduit to enhance individual, couple, and parenting functioning. We will also be starting up a daily diary study of parenting in the presence of PTSD. Graduate students are currently involved in manuscript preparation using existing data on the association between PTSD symptoms, couple functioning, and parenting stress during the transition to parenthood and will have opportunities to be involved in protocol development, data collection, and grant submissions.
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
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
2015-present 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
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. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2016.05.001
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
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.
Fredman, S. J. (2010). Couple/family-based assessment strategies for individuals with psychological problems. In K. Hahlweg, M. Grawe-Gerber, & D. H. Baucom (Eds.). Enhancing couples: The shape of couple therapy to come. (pp. 185-198). Göttingen: Hogrefe.
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 Press.
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
Monson, C. M., Taft, C. T., & Fredman, S. J. (2009). Military-related PTSD and intimate relationships: From description to theory-driven data and intervention development. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 707-714. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.09.002
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: 10.1037/0893-318.104.22.168
Steffany Fredman vitae
- Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development
- Domains of Health and Behavior
- Contexts and Social Institutions