Rajita Sinha, PhD

Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neurobiology; Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Stress Center; Chief, Psychology Section in Psychiatry; Deputy Director for Interdisciplinary Research, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (Yale CTSA)

Research Organizations


Psychiatry: Connecticut Mental Health Center: Division of Substance Abuse | Psychology Section | Psychotherapy Development Center | Stress & Addiction Clinical Research Program

Research Summary

Clinical neurobiology of stress and relaxation, stress coping and regulation, emotion dysregulation, effects of stress and emotion dysregulation on desire for reward, dysfunctional motivation and addictive behaviors, such as, alcohol use, smoking, high calorie food intake, sex, gambling and drug use. Mechanisms underlying sex differences in stress neurobiology, and interaction with motivational processes and effects on health outcomes is integral to this research area. The neurobiology of relaxation and its effect on resilience and chronic stress and emotion dysregulation is also being studied. An additional interest is in developing treatments to target stress-related relapse in addictive behaviors. We’ve developed and validated a laboratory model of stress-induced and hedonic cue-induced craving and lapse to addictive behaviors. The laboratory model characterizes the compulsive craving state and is being applied to test new pharmacological and psychological interventions to reduce craving and maladaptive behaviors. Individual difference variables such as gender, genetics, early trauma, chronic stress, prefrontal cognitive functioning that may modulate responses to stress and urges are also being studied.

Selected Publications

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