Our lab engages in a number of activities that include basic and applied research surrounding the topic of the nature and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders (see the "Projects" tab for more details).

Dr. Michelle Newman's research focuses on the nature and treatment of anxiety disorders. She is examining the etiology and classification, individual predictors of psychotherapy outcome, and impact of brief psychotherapy with respect to social phobia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and trauma. Dr. Newman is also conducting several basic experimental studies examining underlying processes related to these disorders. Further, she is examining issues relevant to health implications of anxiety disorders. Current research projects include an integrative therapy for GAD (examining the addition of interpersonal and experiential therapies to cognitive behavioral therapy); evaluation of technologically driven mobile momentary interventions in the U.S. and India; assessment and classification of anxiety disorders and mood disorders; momentary assessment of symptoms and emotion in anxiety disorders; examination of the impact of psychotherapy beyond the targeted symptoms of a particular disorder; mediators and moderators of psychotherapy; emotion regulation in anxiety disorders and its relationship to therapeutic mechanisms; dysfunctional interpersonal styles in anxiety disorders.

Latest News, Awards, Publications & Media Attention


Latest Placements of Dr. Newman's Graduate Students

Congratulations to Hanjoo, Kay, and Luc for completing their doctoral studies and moving on to the next chapter!

  • Hanjoo Kim will graduate 2020 (will begin a research postdoctoral fellowship at Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan).

  • Ki Eun Shin will graduate 2020 (will begin a research postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University)

  • Lucas LaFreniere will graduate 2020 (will begin a tenure track assistant professor position at Skidmore College).

Latest Awards received by Dr. Newman, her graduate and undergraduate students

Congratulations to Dr. Newman and her graduate students for these achievements!

2020 Awards


  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy Leonard Krasner Student Dissertation Award (Nur Hani Zainal).​

  • Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) Doctoral Dissertation Research Excellence Award 2019-20 This award is to acknowledge and honor graduate student scientists who have conducted doctoral dissertation research of superior scientific quality and broader societal impact. (Nur Hani Zainal) http://fabbs.org/honoring-our-scientists/research-excellence-awards/doctoral-dissertation/

  • Peter T. Lukie Award for Outstanding Research in Social and Behavioral Science. Undergraduate research award given to a junior at Penn State (Shuangshuang Chen).

  • 2020-2021 – Susan Welch/Nagle Family Graduate Fellowship-awarded to a Penn State graduate student exhibiting academic excellence in a program within the College of the Liberal Arts (Nur Hani Zainal).

  • American Psychological Association, Society for the Science of Clinical Psychology Distinguished Dissertation Award in Clinical Psychology award for excellence, innovation, and commitment to research demonstrated by a dissertation in clinical psychology (Lucas LaFreniere).

  • ​2019-2020 – Sigma Chi Madson Graduate Scholarship (USD $1,000) (Jeremy Schwob)

2019 Awards

  • Dr. Newman was awarded the Raymond Lombra Award for Distinction in the Social or Life Sciences. This award recognizes a tenured faculty member of the Penn State University College of the Liberal Arts who, by his or her outstanding work in the field of social or life sciences, has demonstrated excellence in research and scholarship.

  • Dr. Newman was also awarded Toy Caldwell-Colbert Award for Distinguished Educator in Clinical Psychology from American Psychological Association Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12). For excellence in mentoring clinical psychology graduate students, interns, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty and providing outstanding support, encouragement, and promoting education and training, professional and personal development, and career guidance to junior colleagues. 

  • Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society for performing in the top 10% of doctoral students across all disciplines (Lucas LaFreniere).

  • Singapore-based LBKM Prestigious scholarship. (Nur Hani Zainal).

  • National University of Singapore Development Grant. (Nur Hani Zainal).

  • National University of Singapore-Overseas Graduate Scholarship (Nur Hani Zainal) A scholarship that supports Singaporeans with a high likelihood for a career in academia following their doctoral studies and post-doctoral fellowship, eventually serving as a tenure-track faculty member in a clinical PhD program at NUS by mid-2024.

  • American Psychological Association, Division 29 Student Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring Award (Ki Eun Shin).

  • Pennsylvania State University Research and Graduate Studies Office (RGSO) Dissertation Support Award (Nur Hani Zainal).

  • College of Liberate Arts – Superior Teaching and Research Award (Ki Eun Shin)

  • College of Liberate Arts – Superior Teaching and Research Award (Nur Hani Zainal)

  • Honorable Mention Best Departmental Paper Award (Nur Hani Zainal)

  • Penn State University Best Clinical Paper Award (Nur Hani Zainal)

  • Singapore-based LBKM Merit scholarship. (Nur Hani Zainal).

  • Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award. (Luc LaFreniere)

  • Singapore-based LBKM Merit scholarship. (Nur Hani Zainal).

  • Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) Doctoral Dissertation Research Excellence Award 2017-18 This award is to acknowledge and honor graduate student scientists who have conducted doctoral dissertation research of superior scientific quality and broader societal impact. (Nick Jacobson) http://fabbs.org/honoring-our-scientists/research-excellence-awards/doctoral-dissertation/

  • Penn State University Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award, Pennsylvania State University Department of Psychology (Luc LaFreniere)

Our recent publications in 2020 (updated as of August 17th, 2020):

Congratulations to Gavin, Hani, Nick, Luc, Sandra, and all of our collaborators!

  1. Zainal, N. H.* & Newman M. G. (in press). Larger increase in trait negative affect is associated with greater future cognitive decline and vice versa across 23 years. Depression and Anxiety. doi:10.1002/da.23093 Pdf

  2. Rackoff, G. N.* & Newman, M. G. (in press). Daily stress-related reductions in positive affect predict lower trait positive affect and depression and anxiety disorders across seven years. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Pdf

  3. Newman, M. G., Jacobson N. C.*, Rackoff, G.N.*, Jones Bell, M., & Taylor, C. B. (in press). A randomized controlled trial of a smartphone-based application for the treatment of anxiety. Psychotherapy Research. doi: 10.1080/10503307.2020.1790688 Pdf

  4. Lord, K. A.,* Jacobson, N. C.*, Suvak, M. K., & Newman, M. G. (2020). Social criticism moderates the relationship between anxiety disorders and depressive disorders 10 years later. Journal of Affective Disorders, 274, 15-22. PMID: 32402257 doi:10.1016/j.jad.2020.05.030 Pdf

  5. Zainal, N. H.*, Newman, M. G. & Hong, R. Y. (in press). Cross-cultural and gender invariance of transdiagnostic processes in the United States and Singapore. Assessment. doi: 10.1177/1073191119869832 Pdf

  6. Zainal, N. H.* & Newman, M. G. (in press). Within-person increase in pathological worry predicts depletion of unique executive functioning domains. Psychological Medicine. doi: 10.1017/S0033291720000422 Pdf

  7. King, B. R., Boswell, J. F.*, Schwartzman, C. M., Lehrbach, K., Castonguay L. G., & Newman, M. G. (in press). Use of common and unique techniques in the early treatment phase for cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal/emotional, and supportive listening interventions for generalized anxiety disorder. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, and Training. Pdf

  8. Llera, S. J.* & Newman, M. G. (March 18, 2020) Worrying Isn't the Best Response to the COVID-19 Crisis: There's lots of things we should do to address COVID-19, but worrying isn't one. (Promoted to Essential Read) Psychology Today Blog https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-courage-happiness/202003/worrying-isnt-the-best-response-the-covid-19-crisis

  9. Kanuri, N.*, Arora, P., Talluru, S., Colaco, B., Dutta, R., Rawat, A., Taylor, C. B., Manjula, M. & Newman, M. G. (2020). Examining the initial usability, acceptability and feasibility of a digital mental health intervention for college students in India. International Journal of Psychology, 55(4), 657-673. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12640 PMID: 31867730 PMCID: PMC7359910 doi: 10.1002/ijop.12640 Pdf

  10. Dawood, S.*, Hallquist, M. N., Pincus, A. L., Ram, N., Newman, M. G., Wilson, S. J., & Levy, K. N. (2020). Comparing signal-contingent and event-contingent experience sampling ratings of affect in psychiatry outpatients. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 42(1), 13–24. doi: 10.1007/s10862-019-09766-7 Pdf

  11. Ellison, W. D.*, Levy, K. N., Newman, M. G., Pincus, A. L., Wilson, S. J. & Molenaar P. C. M. (2020). Dynamics among borderline personality and anxiety features in outpatients: An exploration of nomothetic and idiographic patterns. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 11(12), 131–140. doi: 10.1037/per0000363. Pdf

  12. LaFreniere, L. S.*, & Newman, M. G. (2020). Exposing worry’s deceit: Percentage of untrue worries in generalized anxiety disorder treatment. Behavior Therapy, 51(3), 413-423. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2019.07.003 PMID: 32402257 PMCID: 7233480 Pdf

  13. Newman, M. G. & Zainal N. H.* (2020) The value of maintaining social connections for mental health in older adults. Lancet Public health, 5(1) e12-e13. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(19)30253-1 Pdf

  14. Luo, Y.*, Ye, J.*, Adams, R.B. Jr., Li, J. Newman, M. G., & Wang, J. Z. (2020). ARBEE: Towards automated recognition of bodily expression of emotion in the wild. International Journal of Computer Vision, 128(1), 1–25. Pdf

  15. Newman, M. G., Agras, W. S., Haaga, D. A. F., & Jarrett, R. B. (in press) Cognitive, Behavioral, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (First and Second waves). In M. Barkham, W. Lutz, & L. G. Castonguay (Eds) Bergin and Garfield Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change (7th Edition). Pdf

  16. Newman, M. G., Crits-Christoph, P., Szkodny, L. E.* Rackoff, G. N.*, Schwob, J. T.* (in press). Generalized anxiety disorder. In L. G. Castonguay, and T. F. Oltmanns (Eds). Psychopathology: From science to clinical practice (2nd Edition). New York: Guilford Press. Pdf

  17. Newman, M. G., Zainal, N. H.*, & Hoyer, J. (2020). Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In A. Gerlach & A. Gloster (Eds.), Generalized anxiety disorder and worrying: A comprehensive handbook for clinicians and researchers (pp. 203-230). NY: Wiley-Blackwell. Pdf

  18. Newman, M. G., & Zainal, N. H.* (2020). Interpersonal and emotion-focused therapy (I/EP) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In A. Gerlach & A. Gloster (Eds.), Generalized anxiety disorder and worrying: A comprehensive handbook for clinicians and researchers (pp. 231-244). NY: Wiley-Blackwell. Pdf

  19. Erickson, T. M.*, Newman, M. G.,& Tingey, J. L. (2020). Worry and Rumination. In J. S. Abramowitz & S. M. Blakey (Eds.), Clinical handbook of fear and anxiety: Maintenance processes and treatment mechanisms (pp. 133-151). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/0000150-008 Pdf

Latest Media Attention & Published Interviews
Check out these latest articles involving members of our lab!

Laboratory for Anxiety and Depression Research

The Pennsylvania State University

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