Become a Research Participant

Show All Studies     Want Us to Contact You?



Project Title:
The Couples Study
Principal Investigator:
Paul Pilkonis, Ph.D.
For Information Contact:

Andrea Chavlovich, chavlovicha@upmc.edu 412-246-5832

What We Are Studying:
We are interested in the associations between personality traits, emotions, and how individuals interact with people close to them. We are also interested in the experience of being in a relationship with someone receiving mental health care.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
Couples who are currently involved in a romantic relationship for at least a month may be eligible. One person in the couple must be currently receiving mental health treatment and be between the ages of 18 and 40 years old.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Individuals who are not currently in a romantic relationship, individuals who are not in the age range, and individuals with traumatic brain injuries, strokes, or other major problems of the central nervous system.
What Participation Involves:
Both members of the couple participate, but the information they provide is not shared between them. Participants will complete a series of questionnaires and interviews asking about their past and current mental health treatment; the nature and quality of their relationships with their romantic partner, family, and friends; and how they react in certain situations. Participants will also be asked to complete a computer task and to tell us about their day-to-day lives using smart phones. One task is completed with both people together – a discussion in our office. Some tasks are repeated at different times over a one-year period.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What compensation Do Participants Receive:
Participants will each receive $25 to $50 for every visit, with maximum compensation that could amount to $805 per person over an entire year.


Project Title:
ADAPT: Addressing Depression and Pain Together
Principal Investigator:
Jordan F. Karp, M.D.
For Information Contact:

Dana Barvinchak Williams (Telephone: 412-246-6015; Email: barvdm@upmc.edu)

What We Are Studying:
We know that low back pain and depression often make each other worse. Some patients notice an improvement in both low back pain and depression when they are treated with an antidepressant medication alone. However, for individuals who do not improve with an antidepressant medication that has also been observed to have anti-pain properties, we want to compare two treatments to see which is better. In this clinical trial, we are testing whether increasing the dose of medication along with supportive care or increasing the dose of medication and adding Problem Solving Therapy specific for managing the problems of low back pain and depression is the more effective treatment.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
Men and women aged 60 or older who are experiencing both chronic low back pain and depression.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Individuals who are wheelchair-bound or are unable to tolerate the study medication.
What Participation Involves:
Depending on a participant's response, the study lasts between 6 and 20 weeks. During the first 6 weeks, participants receive a medication called venlafaxine (Effexor) and supportive care. Those participants who do not improve will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group receives higher-dose venlafaxine with continuing supportive care. The other group receives higher-dose venlafaxine with a counseling intervention called Problem Solving Therapy for Depression and Pain.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What compensation Do Participants Receive:
To compensate participants for their time and travel, those who complete the first 6 weeks receive $60. Those who complete the second 14 weeks of the study receive another $60. Those participants who agree to one blood draw will be compensated another $10 (for a potential of $130).


Project Title:
Acute Psychotherapy for Bipolar II Disorder
Principal Investigator:
Holly Swartz, M.D.
For Information Contact:

Please contact Joan Buttenfield at buttenfieldja@upmc.edu; or by telephone at (412) 246-5588.

What We Are Studying:
We are conducting research to understand whether an experimental psychotherapy is effective in patients with Bipolar II depression when it is given with, or without, a medication.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
Men and women, ages 18 to 65, who have a diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder, currently depressed.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Severe or poorly controlled concurrent medical disorders, presence of any psychotic or organic mental disorder, bipolar I disorder, current alcohol or drug dependence, primary OCD, primary eating disorders, borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder, acute suicidal or homicidal ideation or requiring psychiatric hospitalization, prior lack of response to at least 6 weeks of 300 mg of quetiapine.
What Participation Involves:
Participants will receive up to 20 weeks of treatment that consists of Interpersonal Social Rhythm Therapy for Bipolar Depression and be randomized to receive either the medication Seroquel (quetiapine) or a placebo and have follow-up assessments at 36 and 52 weeks. Patients will receive a psychiatric evaluation, medical evaluation that may include a physical examination, laboratory tests and visits with a study psychotherapist and psychiatrist at no cost.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What compensation Do Participants Receive:
Participants are compensated $40 at entry, $20 each for assessments at weeks 8, and 12, $30 each for assessments at weeks 20, 36, and 52 (total of $170). Travel reimbursement with either parking vouchers or bus tickets. Food vouchers may also be provided for UPMC dining services during other lengthy research appointments.


Project Title:
Study of Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy for Subthreshold Bipolar (BPNOS)
Principal Investigator:
Holly Swartz, MD
For Information Contact:

Joan Buttenfield; Email: buttenfieldja@upmc.edu; Telephone: 412-246-5588

What We Are Studying:
We are conducting research to understand whether an experimental talk therapy is effective in patients with Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) who are currently feeling depressed or down. Individuals who have BP-NOS may experience the "high" and "low" symptoms of bipolar disorder, but do not experience these symptoms long enough or severe enough to meet diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person's normal range of behavior and may negatively affect everyday life.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
Men and women, ages 18-65, who are currently feeling down but have had times where they felt overly energetic, and are interested in receiving talk therapy may be eligible to participate.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Individuals with severe medical disorders, psychosis, bipolar I disorder, primary obsessive compulsive disorder or eating disorder, borderline personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder, and those who are actively suicidal are not eligible to participate.
What Participation Involves:
Individuals who participate in this research study will receive 20 weeks of the psychotherapy Interpersonal and Social Rhythm therapy (IPSRT). Each IPSRT session lasts approximately one hour and is conducted by a trained clinician. Patients will receive a psychiatric evaluation, medical evaluation that may include a physical examination, laboratory tests and visits with a study psychotherapist and psychiatrist at no cost.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What compensation Do Participants Receive:
Participants may be compensated up to $180 for full participation. Parking/bus fare is provided by the study. Food vouchers may also be provided for UPMC dining services during other lengthy research appointments.


Project Title:
A New Statistical Paradigm for Measuring Psychopathology Dimensions in Youth (YCAT Study)
Principal Investigator:
David Brent, MD
For Information Contact:

Brandie George-Milford (Telephone: 412-246-5629 or 412-586-9405; Email: ycat@upmc.edu)

What We Are Studying:
The purpose of the study is to learn more about the assessment of mood and behavior problems in children.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
Boys and girls 7-17 years old that are in treatment for mood or behavioral problem and their legal guardians/parents.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Youth with a diagnosis of psychosis or autism are not eligible.
What Participation Involves:
Participation involves one visit, lasting approximately 2 hours, for a youth-parent pair. The visit includes taking the YCAT survey on an iPad and answering between 150-200 questions about health, mood, and behaviors.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What compensation Do Participants Receive:
Yes, compensation is provided. Please contact the study coordinator for more details.


Project Title:
Early Assessment and Intervention for Adolescents at Risk for Bipolar Disorder
Principal Investigator:
Tina R. Goldstein, PhD
For Information Contact:

Reality Price; Email: pricerj@upmc.edu; Telephone: 412-864-3321

What We Are Studying:
Identifying and treating the children of parents with bipolar disorder may help prevent or slow the progression of bipolar disorder. Using experimental talk therapy, called Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT) with a study therapist, we may help teens and their family members to better understand how people develop bipolar disorder, develop more regular sleep schedules that may protect against mood problems, recognize symptoms of bipolar disorder and decrease stress in family relationships
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
1) age between 12-18 years; 2) primary residence with a parent or guardian; 3) English language fluency and at minimum a 3rd grade literacy level. Subjects must be able to speak and understand English because one of the study interventions, Brief IPSRT, is an experimental talk-therapy. This therapy cannot practically be translated; 4) a biological parent with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder I, II or Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) confirmed via semi-structured diagnostic interview
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
1) a current or lifetime bipolar spectrum disorder diagnosis (i.e., Bipolar Disorder I, II or NOS) by the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Present and Lifetime Version (K-SADS-PL); 2) a primary sleep disorder diagnosis by the Structured Interview for DSM-IV Sleep Disorders; 3) current unstabilized psychiatric symptoms as evidenced by a CGI-Severity of > 5 (markedly ill) and/or a C-GAS rating of < 50 (denotes serious symptoms); 4) evidence of mental retardation, pervasive developmental disorder, or organic central nervous system disorder by the K-SADS-PL, parent report, medical history, or school records; 5) a prior course of IPSRT treatment
What Participation Involves:
In person visits at Bellefield Towers at intake, month 3 & 6, online assessments at 1.5 & 4.5 months, wearing an actiwatch to monitor sleep patterns at intake & 6 months, 5-8 IPSRT treatment sessions if randomized to the experimental talk therapy.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What compensation Do Participants Receive:
$285 total for completion of all study visits and tasks; Travel reimbursement at intake, 3, 6 (bus tickets can also be provided for in person and IPSRT treatment sessions)