SMART:MIND

        THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT EL PASO

Dr. Theodore Cooper

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Department of Psychology

Dr. Cooper’s research within the Prevention and Treatment in Clinical Health laboratory (PATCH Lab) is focused on the assessment of and intervention with multiple addictive behaviors and secondarily issues related to weight concern and control. Foci for assessment and intervention include Hispanic/Latino college students, young adults, and community members.

Research Questions

  • What are efficacious treatments for light and intermittent smoking?
  • What are the rates and correlates of addictive behaviors in Hispanic/Latinos? With more traditional addictive behaviors, substance use is primary to include cigarette smoking, vaping, excessive drinking, marijuana use, and the use of other drugs (e.g., opiates, cocaine).
  • What are the rates and correlates of more behavioral, non traditional, addictive behaviors in Hispanic/Latinos? These include: use of social media, texting, excessive internet use, excessive pornographic viewing, and gaming.
  • What are the rates and correlates and how is it best to intervene on issues related to weight concern and control in Hispanic/Latinos?

Significance of the work

While studies of light and intermittent smoking and addictive behaviors within Hispanic/Latinos are growing, innovative studies that address the changing climate of addictive behaviors in adolescents, young, adults, and beyond warrant attention. One innovative strategy employed within the PATCH lab is the assessment of novel behavioral addictions such as social media use and texting. Another innovative approach within the lab are to assess not only demographic correlates of addictive behaviors but also psychographic correlates (e.g., personality features, music preference, manner of dress) and potential cultural correlates. As with moving beyond traditional addictive behaviors, within the lab, we continue to explore more traditional cultural constructs such as acculturation and familism, yet are pushing beyond these to assess perceived microaggressions and adherence to traditional gender ideologies. These assessments lay the foundation for cognitive behaviorally and/or motivationally based prevention and intervention efforts to decrease addictive behaviors and subsequent disease and promote health within the region.

Methods to be learned

Within the lab presently, survey methodologies are primarily utilized, although many current studies will likely lead to more experimental studies within a lab environment and clinical studies of prevention and intervention efforts. Currently, students learn about multiple valid assessment tools to explore addictive behaviors and weight concern and control, while also learning about the types of subsequent models which will be used in future prevention and treatment trials. Statistical techniques learned are primarily the use of linear and logistic regression techniques. Writing skills include abstract and presentation writing, as well as future publication writing.