Steven M Southwick MD

Glenn H. Greenberg Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center

Research Interests

Posttraumatic stress disorder; Resilience; Neurobiology; Epidemiology

Current Projects

"Risk and Resilience Factors in Iraq Combat Veterans" - To improve understanding of the needs, symptoms and strengths of Connecticut OIF/OEF veterans.

"Research Training-Clinical Neuroscience-Stress Disorders" - Purpose of this training program is to increase the number of fully trained research psychiatrists conducting research in stress and trauma-related mental disorders.

"Mental Health & Resilience: Soldier's Perceptions about Psychotherapy, Medication, and Barriers to Care in the U.S. Military" - To determine characteristics that differentiate symptomatic soldiers who seek mental health treatment and symptomatic soldiers who do not seek professional mental health treatment.


Research Summary

Steven Southwick is Professor of Psychiatry at the Yale Medical School and at the Yale Child Study Center, Adjunct Professor at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and Medical Director of the Clinical Neurosciences Division of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. He is a recognized expert on the psychological and neurobiological effects of extreme psychological trauma. Dr. Southwick has served on the Board of Directors of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Traumatic Stress. He has published extensively in the scientific literature on the phenomenology and neurobiology of PTSD, the longitudinal course of trauma-related psychological symptoms, memory for traumatic events, treatment of PTSD and on neurobiological and psychological factors associated with resilience to stress. He has worked with a wide range of stress sensitive and stress resilient individuals including combat veterans with PTSD, civilian children and adults with PTSD and very high functioning stress-resilient prisoners of war and active Special Forces soldiers. Dr. Southwick has been awarded numerous research grants and has served on a number of federal grant review committees. He has also won awards for excellence in teaching and clinical work.


Selected Publications

  • Pietrzak RH, Goldstein MB, Malley JC, Johnson DC, Southwick SM: Subsyndromal posttraumatic stress disorder is associated with health and psychosocial difficulties in veterans of operations enduring freedom and Iraqi freedom. Depress Anxiety, Jun 3. [Epub ahead of print] 2009.
  • Pietrzak RH, Southwick SM: The Importance of four-factor emotional numbing and dysphoria models in PTSD. Am J Psychiatry, Jun;166(6):726-7; 2009.
  • Southwick SM, Friedman M, Krystal JH: Does Psychoeducation help prevent post traumatic psychological stress disorder? In Reply. In: Psychiatry: Interpersonal and biological processes, 71(4): 303-307, 2008.
  • Stellman JM, Smith RP, Katz CL, Sharma V, Charney DS, Herbert R, Moline J, Luft BJ, Markowitz S, Udasin I, Harrison D, Baron S, Landrigan PJ, Levin SM, & Southwick S: Enduring mental health morbidity and social function impairment in world trade center rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers: The psychological dimension of an environmental health disaster. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116 (9):1248-1253, 2008.
  • Haglund ME, Nestadt PS, Cooper NS, Southwick SM & Charney DS: Psychobiological mechanisms of resilience: Relevance to prevention and treatment of stress-related psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 19:889-920, 2007.
  • Southwick SM, Gilmartin G, McDonough P, & Morrissey P: Logotherapy as an adjunctive treatment for Chronic Combat-related PTSD: A meaning-based intervention. American Journal of Psychotherapy 60(2): 161-174, 2006.

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