Teen Anxiety and Brain (TAB) Study

More American teens are suffering from anxiety than ever before. Recent articles call attention to this epidemic, but we need to know much more before we can prevent and treat teen anxiety effectively. This is our mission, and in the Teen Anxiety and Brain (TAB) study, we focus squarely on the question of how best to identify and treat teen anxiety.

One factor we consider is the role of digital technology in teens’ lives. In a recent New York Times Op Ed, Dr. Dennis-Tiwary explores what we know – and don’t know – about the link between digital technology and teen anxiety. She highlights the crucial role that research must play in teasing apart this conundrum and developing new, effective solutions.

Please consider participating to help support these efforts, and to gain personal knowledge about teen anxiety that can be applied to daily life. Read below to find out more about the project and to sign up.

If you have questions, you can call us at 212-650-3878 or email at erlab@hunter.cuny.edu.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Tracy Dennis-Tiwary (Hunter College); Dr. Amy Roy (Fordham University and NYU); and Dr. Carrie Masia-Warner (Montclair State University and NYU).

Lead Researchers:

Dr. Sarah Myruski

Sarah Myruski (Ph.D., The Graduate Center, CUNY) is a post-doctoral researcher on the Teen Attention and Brain (TAB) Study, which is a collaboration across Hunter College, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Fordham University. As part of the TAB Study team, her current research aims to harness multiple behavioral and biological measures (EEG, fMRI, eye tracking) to understand key cognitive mechanisms related to anxiety in teens. Dr. Myruski also has a special interest in how the social regulation of emotion relates to resilience or vulnerability to symptoms of psychopathology throughout development. For example, patterns of expressing and managing emotions via social media, a medium used pervasively by teens, may be linked to emotional well-being.

For more visit sarah.myruski.com

Samantha Denefrio

Samantha Denefrio is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center (CUNY) in the Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience program. Her research interests include attention-emotion interactions and identifying biological markers associated with emotion dysregulation in anxiety and mood disorders. In particular, she is interested in how pathological anxiety influences the processing of emotional stimuli and the underlying attentional control processes associated with the development and maintenance of maladaptive cognitive biases.

E-mail: samanthadenefrio@gmail.com

Mariah DeSerisy

Mariah is a third-year student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Fordham University. She graduated from Trinity University in Texas in 2014 where she double majored in Neuroscience and Psychology. After graduation she joined the Mental Health Interventions and Technology (MINT) Team in Miami, Florida at Florida International University as the research coordinator. There, she worked primarily with young children suffering from anxiety and disruptive behaviors and novel approaches to treatment, including telemedicine. Clinically, Mariah is in the Child and Family Specialization at Fordham University and works primarily with children, teens, and families struggling with anxiety, mood, and behavioral difficulties. Her research is interested in the neural underpinnings and treatment outcomes of young children with anxiety and behavioral dysregulation.

E-mail: mdeserisy@fordham.edu


Funding: The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Grant Press Release: Click here

Challenge & Background:
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness among teens, with symptoms frequently emerging during mid-adolescence, a period of rapid and profound brain development. Disruptions in attention towards emotional information are thought to contribute to anxiety. However, these disruptions and their neural bases are poorly understood. Our goal is to learn more about how patterns of brain activity related to how we pay attention in the world can inform how we prevent and treat teen anxiety.

Study Description:
We are currently recruiting 12- to- 14-year-olds for our research project. To capture a range of anxiety severity and symptoms, we are recruiting teens who show mild anxiety as well as those who show more moderate or severe levels of anxiety. This study combines measures of brain and behavior, including non-invasive fMRI and EEG, eye-tracking technology, and measures of mood and anxiety symptoms.

The outcome of this study will help improve treatment of anxiety disorders in youth by making more personalized intervention approaches possible.