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Douglas Mennin

Ph.D. 2001, Temple University  


Department of Psychology
Hunter College, Room 742N
695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10065
Tel: 212-772-5567


Current Areas of Research


      My research objective has been to elucidate the nature of human anxiety and to improve treatment for its disorders. I am very interested in examining anxiety disorders in their most complex form (e.g., high levels of comorbidity, unyielding course, poor life satisfaction, refractory response to treatment) and in expanding our knowledge of their etiology, development and maintenance across the lifespan. As a result, my research program broadly focuses on these complicated forms of anxiety disorders and specifically aims to 1) provide evidence for their associated dysfunction and suffering; 2) improve their validation and detection; 3) test a theoretical model that implicates a central role for emotion dysregulation in their refractory nature; and 4) improve existing treatments for the anxiety disorders to address these issues of complexity.

      Although I am interested in studying many forms of anxiety disorders, it is the subject of generalized anxiety disorder (a disorder characterized by chronic worry and physical tension) that I have found most clearly fits the goals of my research program. Unlike the other anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) has been relatively neglected as an area of study. Most important to improving awareness and treatment of GAD is developing a richer theoretical understanding of generalized anxiety and worry. Conceptualizations of the condition may benefit from attention to recent findings in emotion theory (e.g., Ekman & Davidson, 1994), emotion regulation (e.g., Cicchetti, Ackerman, & Izard, 1995; Gross, 1998), affective neuroscience (e.g., LeDoux, 1996) and the emotion-focused interventions (e.g., Greenberg, 2002). I have recently been developing and empirically evaluating a theoretical model of the etiology and maintenance of GAD that implicates a central role for emotion regulation dysfunction. In particular, individuals with GAD may be highly emotionally sensitive, have difficulty understanding their emotional experience, and possess few skills to modulate their emotions. This may, in turn, cause them to experience emotions as subjectively aversive and use worry as a defensive strategy to control, avoid, or blunt emotional experience. Results from prior empirical investigations support these theoretical suppositions. A focus on emotion regulation may also suggest new directions for improving treatment for GAD. A large percentage of patients continue to experience significant symptoms following existing treatments (approximately one-third to one-half; Borkovec & Whisman, 1996). As such, I have been involved in developing an emotion regulation perspective on treatment of GAD and am translating these ideas into a synthesized integrative approach that combines cognitive-behavioral and emotion-focused, and interpersonal components.


Read more about Douglas Mennin's lab at Hunter College by clicking here.


Selected Publications


Mennin, D. S., & Fresco, D. M. (2009). Emotion regulation as an integrative framework for understanding and treating psychopathology. In A. M. Kring & D. M. Sloan, Emotion Regulation in Psychopathology: A Transdiagnostic Approach to Etiology and Treatment (pp. 356-379). New York: Guilford.

Mennin, D.S., Heimberg, R.G., Fresco, D.M., & Ritter, M. (2008). Is generalized anxiety disorder an anxiety or mood disorder? Considering multiple factors as we ponder the fate of GAD. Depression and Anxiety, 25, 289-299.

Farach, F. J., Mennin, D. S., Smith, R. L., & Mandelbaum, M. (2008). The impact of pretrauma analogue GAD and posttraumatic emotional reactivity following exposure to the September 11 terrorist attacks: A longitudinal study. Behavior Therapy, 39, 262-276.