Most of my research revolves around two common themes: self-control and health-compromising behavior. As for self-control, I am primarily interested in dual-process models of self-control. Some of my interests in self-control are in identifying ways in which the effortful mode of self-control becomes depleted, what effects this has on behavior, why these effects occur, and if these effects are malleable. My interest in health-compromising behavior involves identifying, measuring, and changing these behaviors using various forms of technology. When I’m on track, I try to integrate these interests into a comprehensive research program directed at reducing health compromising behaviors in real-time by modifying aspects of self-regulation using a technology based medium (e.g., smart phone apps, web integrated interventions, etc.). When I’m off track, I watch football.


Current Research Areas

1. Response Inhibition, Cognitive Bias, & Evaluative Conditioning Retraining 

These studies (collectively referred to as "Project Real-Apps") aim to modify engagement in unhealthy/risky behaviors. The goal is that, following completion of the training tasks (administered in real-time using mobile devices), individuals will develop diminished approach motivation and/or increased avoidance motivation for risky/unhealthy stimuli. In addition, we are examining the effects of this training on neural indices of cognitive and behavioral control. Ideally, these training tasks, which are administered using mobile device applications (hence the obvious play on words of "Real-Apps vs. Relapse"), will aid in modifying maladaptive patterns of behavior. This research is currently supported by grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (1 R21 DA035761-01) and The American Lung Association (SB-300186).


2. Further Delineating the Dual-processes of Self-control

I am currently involved in several projects that seek to differentiate and explore aspects of the dual processes of self-control. I am particularly interested in understanding how personality based models of dual processes of self-control (e.g., trait models of effortful control and impulsivity) integrate with cognitive based models (e.g., executive control and implicit motivation). 

3. Alcohol and Marijuana Use Etiology and Intervention among College Students

I am currently conducting a series of studies that use basic theories of behavior change to modify college student drinking. Our most recent studies examine the ability of Deviance Regulation to modify alcohol protective behavioral strategies, and subsequently alcohol use and alcohol-related problems, via a simple online intervention. I am also very interested in college student marijuana use. I am part of a Project MOST, a large group of researchers from around the country that are collecting cross-sectional and longitudinal data to better understand marijuana use (both medical and recreational). I am also one of the founders of the Research Society on Marijuana and the Editor in Chief of the societies journal, Cannabis. 

4. Problematic Smart Phone Use

I recently began examining problematic smartphone use, using many of the same theories I use for my substance use research. We have published a few different papers on this topic and I am looking at developing interventions that help to reduce problematic smartphone usage. The catch... my interventions are tech based. 

5. Peer Victimization

I am a co-investigator on an NIH grant (PI: Wendy Troop-Gordon) to test an intervention seeking to reduce peer victimization by increasing defender behaviors among adolescents. This project, titled "The Friendship Hero Project", uses the same underlying social psychology theory (Deviance Regulation) that I have been utilizing to develop substance use interventions. You can check out the project here


Ongoing Support 

Funding Source: National Institute of Child Health & Development

1 R15 HD089044-01A1                                                                                

07/01/2017 – 06/30/2020

Project Title: Using Deviance Regulation Theory to Combat Bullying.

This school-based intervention uses a DRT intervention to increase defender behaviors among middle school students.

Role: Co-Investigator; (PI: Troop-Gordon); Total Funding: $435,000.00

Funding source: National Institute of Drug Abuse

1 R21 DA035761-01

05/15/2014 – 05/14/2016

Project Title: Response Inhibition Training in Smoking Cessation

This Ecological Momentary Intervention examines the effects of response inhibition retraining (using smartphones) on the likelihood of relapse following a quit attempt. 

Role: Primary Investigator; Total Funding: $395,150.00

Funding Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse

NIH LRP-CR                                                                                                    

09/01/12 – 08/31/14

Project Title: Response Inhibition to Smoking Stimuli

This is a National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program for Clinical Research funded through NIDA. It covers the repayment of student loans while I conduct research on response inhibition to smoking stimuli for a two year period.

Role: Principal Investigator; Total Funding: $106,500.00


Completed Support

Funding source: American Lung Association


08/15/2014 – 06/30/2016

Project Title: Smoking Specific Response Inhibition Training Using Mobile Technology 

This Ecological Momentary Intervention examines the effects of response inhibition retraining (using smartphones) on changes in several indices of neuropsychological functioning relevant to tobacco craving and smoking cessation. 

Role: Primary Investigator; Total Funding: $80,000.00

Research Excellence Award                                                                                      

10/14/11 – 05/30/12

Project Title: Response Inhibition and Smoking Behavior

This feasibility project examined a response inhibition training regimen, administered using palm pilots, on smoking and smoking related behavioral outcomes. Results are being used to support an R21 application.

Role: Principal Investigator (Mentor: Chad Gwaltney, PhD); Total Funding: $3,750.00 


1 F31 AA018242-02                                                                                  

08/03/09 – 08/02/11

Project Title: The Role of Cognitive Abilities in Stress Induced Drinking

This 21 day EMA study examined within-person associations between mood and alcohol use and between-person effects that sustained attention and attention shifting have on within-person mood-alcohol associations

Role: Primary Investigator (Mentor: Jeffrey S. Simons, PhD); Total Funding: $61,004.00


(Note. Italicized names are students working under my supervision)

Stevenson, B. L., Dvorak, R. D.Kramer, M. P., Peterson, R. P., Dunn, M. E., Leary, A. V., & Pinto, D. (in press). Within- and Between-Person Associations from Mood to Alcohol Consequences: The Mediating Role of Enhancement and Coping Drinking Motives. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

O’Donnell, R., Richardson, B., Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, M., Liknaitzky, M., Arulkadacham, L., Dvorak, R. D., Staiger, P. K. (in press). Ecological Momentary Assessment of Drinking in Young Adults: An Investigation into Social Context, Affect, and Motives. Addictive Behaviors.

Peterson, R. S., Dvorak, R. D.Stevenson, B. L., Kramer, M. P., Pinto, D. A., Mora, E. T., & Leary, A. V. (in press). Protective Behavioral Strategies and Alcohol-Related Regretted Sex among College StudentsExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Dunn, M. E., Fried-Somerstein, A., Flori, J. N., Hall, T. V., Dvorak, R. D. (in press). Reducing Alcohol Use in Mandated College Students: A Comparison of a Brief Motivational Intervention (BMI) and the Expectancy Challenge Alcohol Literacy Curriculum (ECALC). Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Stevenson, B. L., Wilborn, D. D., Kramer, M. P., & Dvorak, R. D. (in press). Real time changes in emotion regulation and loss of control eating. Journal of Health Psychology.

Kramer, M. P., Wilborn, D. D., Spencer, C., Stevenson, B. L., & Dvorak, R. D. (in press). Protective Behavioral Strategies Moderate the Association between Narcissistic Traits and Alcohol Use and Consequences in College Student Drinkers. Substance Use & Misuse.

Dvorak, R. D., Troop-Gordon, W., Stevenson, B. L., Kramer, M. P., Wilborn, D. D., Leary, A. V. (2018). A randomized control trial of a deviance regulation theory intervention to increase alcohol protective strategies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86(12), 1061-1075.

Dvorak, R. D., Waters, A. J., MacIntyre, J. M., & Gwaltney, C. (2018). Affect, Craving, and Cognition: An EMA Study of ad libitum Adolescent Smoking. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 32(6), 583-594.

Wilborn, D., Kramer, M. P., Stevenson, B. L., & Dvorak, R. D. (in press). Should I Stay or Should I Go? Approach/Avoidance Conflict and Emotional Functioning. Personality and Mental Health.

Dvorak, R. D.Stevenson, B. L., Kilwein, T. M., Sargent, E. M., Dunn, M. E., Leary, A. V., & Kramer, M. P. (in press). Tension Reduction and Affect Regulation: An Examination of Mood Indices on Drinking and Non-Drinking Days among University Student Drinkers. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 

Sargent, E. M., Kilwein, T. M., Dvorak, R. D., Looby, A., Kramer, M. P., Stevenson , B. L. (in press). Deviance Regulation Theory and Drinking Outcomes among Greek-Life Students during Spring Break. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Dvorak, R. D.Kramer, M. P., Stevenson , B. L. (in press). An initial examination of the effects of Deviance Regulation Theory on Normative Perceptions. Journal of Substance Use.

Stevenson, B. L.Dvorak, R. D., Wonderlich, S. A., Crosby, R. D., & Gordon, K. H. (2018). Emotions before and after loss of control eating. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention, 26(6), 505-522.

Dvorak, R. D., Raeder, C., Kramer, M. P., Sargent, E. M., Stevenson, B. L., & Helmy, M. (2018). Using Deviance Regulation Theory to Target Marijuana Use Intentions Among College Students. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 26, 29-35.

Stevenson, B. L., Kwan, M. Y., Dvorak, R. D., & Gordon, K. H. (2017). Empirically Derived Classes of Eating Pathology in Male and Female College Students. Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, 16, 1-12.

Elhai, J. D., Hall, B. J., Levine, J. C., & Dvorak, R. D. (2017). Types of smartphone usage and relations with problematic smartphone behaviors: The role of content consumption vs. social smartphone use. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 11(2), article 3.

Pedersen, E. R., Huang, W., Dvorak, R. D., Prince, M., Hummer, J. F., & Marijuana Outcomes Study Team. (2017). The Protective Behavioral Strategies for Marijuana Scale: Further examination using Item Response Theory. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31, 548-559.

Dvorak, R. D.Kramer, M. P., Stevenson, B. L., Sargent, E. M., & Kilwein, T. M. (2017). An Application of Deviance Regulation Theory to Reduce Alcohol-related Problems Among College Women During Spring BreakPsychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Kramer, M. P., Dvorak, R. D., & Stevenson, B. L. (2017). Primary Psychopathy and Alcohol Pathology in College Students: The Role of Protective Behavioral Strategies. The American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse.

Pearson, M. R., Liese, B. S. & Dvorak, R. D. (2017). College Student Marijuana Involvement: Perceptions, Use, and Consequences across 11 College Campuses. Addictive Behaviors, 66, 83-89

Elhai, J. D., Levine, J. C., Dvorak, R. D.,  & Hall, B. J. (2017). Nonsocial Features of Smartphone Use are Most Related to Depression, Anxiety, and Problematic Smartphone Use. Computers in Human Behavior, 69, 75-82

Elhai, J. D., Dvorak, R. D., Levine, J. C., & Hall, B. J. (2017). Smartphone addiction and overuse, and relations with psychopathology: A conceptual overview, and systematic review of the literature. Journal of Affective Disorders, 207, 251-259

Lamis, D. A., Ballard, E. D., May, A. M. & Dvorak, R. D. (2016). Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Ideation in College Students: The Mediating and Moderating Roles of Hopelessness, Alcohol Problems, and Social Support. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 72(9), 919-932.

Elhai, J. D., Levine, J. C., Dvorak, R. D., & Hall, B. J. (2016). Fear of missing out, need for touch, anxiety and depression are related to problematic smartphone use. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 509-516.

Dvorak, R. D., Pearson, M. R., Neighbors, C., Martens, M. M., Stevenson, B. L., Kuvaas, N. J. (2016). A Road Paved with Safe Intentions: Increasing Intentions to use Alcohol Protective Behavioral Strategies via Deviance Regulation Theory. Health Psychology, 35(6), 304-313.

Dvorak, R. D., Pearson, M. R., Sargent, E. M.Stevenson, B. L., & Mfon, A. (2016). Daily Associations between Emotional Functioning and Alcohol Involvement: Moderating Effects of Response Inhibition and Gender. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 163, S46-53.

Dvorak, R. D.Kuvaas, N. J., Kilwein, T. M., Wray, T. B., Stevenson, B. L., & Sargent, E. M. (2016). Are drinking motives associated with sexual “hookups” among college student drinkers? Journal of American College Health, 64(2), 133-138.

Dvorak, R. D.Kuvaas, N. J., Lamis, D. A., Pearson, M. R., & Stevenson, B. L. (2015). Emotionally up and down, behaviorally to and fro: Drinking motives mediate the synergistic effects of urgency and emotional instability on alcohol outcomes. Journal of Drug Education: Substance Abuse Research & Prevention, 45(3-4), 156-184.

Charak, R., Koot, H. M., Dvorak, R. D., Elklit, A., & Elhai, J. D. (2015). Unique Versus Cumulative Effects of Physical and Sexual Assault on Patterns of Adolescent Substance use. Psychiatry Research, 230(3), 763-769.

Dvorak, R. D., Pearson, M. R., Neighbors, C., & Martens, M. M. (2015). Fitting In and Standing Out: Increasing the Use of Alcohol Protective Behavioral Strategies with a Deviance Regulation Intervention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82(3), 482-493.

Stevenson, B. L., Dvorak, R. D.Kuvaas, N. J., Williams, T. J., & Spaeth, D. (2015). Cognitive Control Moderates the Association between Emotional Instability and Dependence SymptomsPsychology of Addictive Behaviors, 29(2), 323-328.

Tarantino, N., Lamis, D. A., Ballard, E. D., Masuda, A., & Dvorak, R. D. (2015). Parent-child conflict and illicit drug use in college women: A moderated mediation model of self-control and mindfulness. Journal of Counseling Psychology62(2), 303-313.

Arens, A. M., Gaher, R. M., Simons, J. S., & Dvorak, R. D. (2014). Child Maltreatment and Deliberate Self-Harm: A Negative Binomial Hurdle Model for Explanatory Constructs.  Child Maltreatment, 19, 168-177.

Dvorak, R. D. & Simons, J. S. (2014). Daily Associations Between Anxiety and Alcohol Use: Variation by Sustained Attention, Set Shifting, and Gender.  Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28, 969-979.

Dvorak, R. D., Pearson, M. R., Day, A. M. (2014). Ecological Momentary Assessment of Acute Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms: Associations with Mood, Motives, and Use on Planned Drinking DaysExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 22(4), 285-297.

Dvorak, R. D.Sargent, E. M., Kilwein, T. M., Stevenson, B. L., Kuvaas, N. J., & Williams, T. J. (2014). Alcohol Use and Alcohol-related Consequences: Associations with Emotion Regulation Difficulties.  American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse40(5), 125-130.

Dvorak, R. D. & Day, A. M. (2014). Marijuana and Self-regulation: Examining Likelihood and Intensity of Use and Problems. Addictive Behaviors, 39(3), 709-712.

Kuvaas, N. J.Dvorak, R. D., Pearson, M. R., Lamis, D. A., & Sargent, E. M. (2013). Self-regulation and Alcohol Use Involvement: A Latent Class Analysis. Addictive Behaviors, 39(1), 146-152.

Dvorak, R. D., Arens, A. M., Kuvaas, N. J. Williams, T. J., & Kilwein, T. M. (2013). Problematic Alcohol Use, Trauma History, and PTSD Symptom Level: A Path Analysis. Journal of Dual Diagnosis, 9(4), 281-291.

Dvorak, R. D., Wray, T. B., Kuvaas, N. J., & Kilwein, T. M. (2013) Mania and sexual risk: Associations with behavioral self-regulation. Journal of Affective Disorders, 150(3), 1076-1081.

Lamis, D. A. & Dvorak, R. D. (2013). Mindfulness, Nonattachment, and Suicide Rumination in College Students: The Mediating Role of Depressive Symptoms. Mindfulness.

Dvorak, R. D., Lamis, D. A., & Malone, P. S. (2013). Alcohol Use, Depressive Symptoms, and Impulsivity as Risk Factors for Suicide Proneness among College Students. Journal of Affective Disorders, 149, 326-334.

Dvorak, R. D., Pearson, M. R., & Kuvaas, N. J. (2013). The Five-factor Model of Impulsivity like Traits and Emotional Lability in Aggressive Behavior. Aggressive Behavior, 39, 222-228.

Wray, T. B., Dvorak, R. D., Hsai, J. F., Arens, A. M., & Schweinle, W. E. (2013). The Role of Optimism and Pessimism as Predictors of Alcohol Use Trajectories in Adolescence. 22(1), 58-68. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse.

Wray, T. B., Dvorak, R. D., & Martin, S. L. (2013). Demographic and Economic Predictors of Mental Health Problems and Engagement with Treatment Resources in a Low-Income Primary Care Setting. Psychology, Health, & Medicine, 18(2) 213-222.

Wray, T. B., Simons, J. S. Dvorak, R. D., & Gaher, R. (2012). Trait-Based Affective Processes in Alcohol-Involved Risk Behaviors. 37(11), 1230-1239. Addictive Behaviors.

Garcia, D., Skillman, G. D., & Dvorak, R. D. (2012). A Comparison of Spirituality, Healthy Lifestyle, and Environmental Consciousness Based on the Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, 26, 8-12.

Simons, J. S., Dvorak, R. D., Merrill, J. E., & Reed, J. P. (2012). Dimensions and Severity of Marijuana Consequences: Development and Validation of the Marijuana Consequences Questionnaire (MACQ). Addictive Behaviors, 37(5), 613-621.

Dvorak, R. D., Simons, J. S., & Wray, T. B. (2011). Alcohol Use and Problem Severity: Associations with Dual Systems of Self-control. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 72(4), 678-684.

Wray, T. B.Simons, J. S., & Dvorak, R. D. (2011). Sensitivity to Punishment and Reward and Alcohol-Related Infractions among College Students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(2), 352-357.

Dvorak, R. D., Simons, J. S., & Wray, T. B. (2011). Poor Control Strengthens the Association between Sensation Seeking and Disgust Reactions. Journal of Individual Differences, 32(4), 219-224.

Dvorak, R. D., Simons, J. S., & Wray, T. (2011). Impulsivity moderates the association between depressive rumination and failed quit attempts by smokers. Addiction: Research & Theory19(3), 283-288.

Simons, J. S., Dvorak, R. D., Batien, B. D., & Wray, T. (2010). Event-level associations between affect, alcohol intoxication, and acute dependence symptoms: Effects of urgency, self-control, and drinking experience. Addictive Behaviors, 35(12), 1045-1053.

Wang, X. T. & Dvorak, R. D. (2010). Sweet future: Fluctuating blood glucose levels affect future discounting. Psychological Science, 21(2), 183-188.

Dvorak, R. D., Del Gaizo, A. L., Engdahl, R. M., & Eliason, C. (2009). Tobacco use and body mass index: Mediated effects through physical inactivity. Journal of Health Psychology, 14(7), 919-923.

Simons, J. S., Dvorak, R. D., & Lau-Barraco, C. (2009). Behavioral inhibition and activation systems: Differences in substance use expectancy organization and activation in memory. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23, 315-328.

Dvorak, R. D. & Simons, J. S. (2009). Moderation of resource depletion in the self-control strength model: Differing effects of two modes of self-control. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 572-583.

Simons, J. S., Dvorak, R. D., & Batien, B. D. (2008). Methamphetamine use in a rural college population: Associations with marijuana use, sensitivity to punishment, and sensitivity to reward. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 22, 444-449.

Dvorak, R. D. & Simons, J. S. (2008). Affective differences among daily tobacco users, occasional users, and non-users. Addictive Behaviors, 33, 211-216.

Dvorak, R. D. (2006). The price of social perception: Effects of positive and negative feedback in public and private spheres. SDSU Journal of Undergraduate Research, 4, 37-46.

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