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ItemOpen Access
Understanding Our Own Biology: The Relevance of Auto-Biological Attributions for Mental Health
(Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 2017-03-01) MacDuffie, KE; Strauman, TJ
As knowledge of the neurobiological basis of psychopathology has advanced, public perceptions have shifted toward conceptualizing mental disorders as disorders of biology. However, little is known about how patients respond to biological information about their own disorders. We refer to such information as auto-biological—describing our own biological systems as a component of our identity. Drawing on research from attribution theory, we explore the potential for auto-biological information to shape how patients view themselves in relation to their disorders. We propose an attributional framework for presenting auto-biological information in a way that encourages agency, rather than destiny. We argue that this framework has the potential to change expectations and improve outcomes in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
ItemOpen Access
Understanding our own biology: The relevance of auto‐biological attributions for mental health.
(Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice) MacDuffie, Katherine E; Strauman, Timothy J
ItemOpen Access
Self-Regulation and Psychopathology: Toward an Integrative Translational Research Paradigm.
(Annual review of clinical psychology, 2017-05) Strauman, Timothy J
This article presents a general framework in which different manifestations of psychopathology can be conceptualized as dysfunctions in one or more mechanisms of self-regulation, defined as the ongoing process of managing personal goal pursuit in the face of internal, interpersonal, and environmental forces that would derail it. The framework is based on the assertion that self-regulation is a critical locus for the proximal influence on motivation, cognition, emotion, and behavior of more distal factors such as genetics, temperament, socialization history, and neurophysiology. Psychological theories of self-regulation are ideal platforms from which to integrate the study of self-regulation both within and across traditional disciplines. This article has two related goals: to elucidate how the construct of self-regulation provides a unique conceptual platform for the study of psychopathology and to illustrate that platform by presenting our research on depression as an example.
ItemOpen Access
On the Concurrent Use of Self-System Therapy and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as Treatment for Depression.
(The journal of ECT, 2018-12) Neacsiu, Andrada D; Luber, Bruce M; Davis, Simon W; Bernhardt, Elisabeth; Strauman, Timothy J; Lisanby, Sarah H


Despite the growing use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) as a treatment for unipolar depression, its typical effect sizes have been modest, and methodological and conceptual challenges remain regarding how to optimize its efficacy. Linking rTMS to a model of the neurocircuitry underlying depression and applying such a model to personalize the site of stimulation may improve the efficacy of rTMS. Recent developments in the psychology and neurobiology of self-regulation offer a conceptual framework for identifying mechanisms of action in rTMS for depression, as well as for developing guidelines for individualized rTMS treatment. We applied this framework to develop a multimodal treatment for depression by pairing self-system therapy (SST) with simultaneously administered rTMS delivered to an individually targeted region of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex identified via functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).


In this proof-of-concept study, we examined the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of combining individually fMRI-targeted rTMS with SST. Using the format of a cognitive paired associative stimulation paradigm, the treatment was administered to 5 adults with unipolar depression in an open-label trial.


The rTMS/SST combination was well tolerated, feasible, and acceptable. Preliminary evidence of efficacy also was promising. We hypothesized that both treatment modalities were targeting the same neural circuitry through cognitive paired associative stimulation, and observed changes in task-based fMRI were consistent with our model. These neural changes were directly related to improvements in depression severity.


The new combination treatment represents a promising exemplar for theory-based, individually targeted, multimodal intervention in mood disorders.