Participate in Research

People like you make the difference!

By participating in a research project, you play a part in helping physicians and researchers develop better ways to diagnose and treat people with mental illness. As a research participant, you learn about the causes of specific mental health problems and what can be done to manage these conditions. 

We invite you to use the search tool below to look for studies underway in the Department of Psychiatry. To explore other opportunities, visit the Pitt+Me website to learn about other studies taking place at the University of Pittsburgh.

Find a study to participate in: Enter a keyword below (for example, "depression")

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Select keyword(s) from the list below:

Project Title:
Developing a Gold Standard for Tracking Adult Functional Outcomes in Autism Spectrum Disorder: Adult Functioning Scale (AFS)
Principal Investigator:
Carla Mazefsky, PhD
For Information Contact:
Contact the study coordinator at autismrecruiter@upmc.edu or by calling 1-866-647-3436 or visit our the study website at www.reaact.pitt.edu.
What We Are Studying:
We propose to build on our prior success in applying methods from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS®) to measurement development in ASD and will utilize a national sample of 500 adults with ASD capable of self-report and 500 caregivers of adults with ASD representative of the entire range of functioning level. Next, we plan to demonstrate the validity of the AFS by examining state-wide service use correlates of functional outcome in adults with ASD across Pennsylvania who have provided access to their Medicaid claims information. This will demonstrate the potential of integrating the AFS into program outcome monitoring to inform future policies to support the successful transition to adulthood.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
We are recruiting adults ages 18+ years old with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental disability (DD) or caregiver/parent of an adult with a diagnosis of ASD or other DD who cannot self-report and with the ability to read English at a fifth grade level verified by the WRAT-5 assessment instrument.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Because the goal is to refine the items and ensure coverage of all relevant constructs, we will seek a broad sample to support generalizability and representativeness (there will be no exclusion criteria).
What Participation Involves:
Participation in this study involves: 1) Cognitive interviews and assessments with 25 proxy reporters of adults with DD and 25 adults to assess comprehension of items and response categories, factors that influence how participants respond to items, and the inclusiveness of the item pool in capturing pertinent concerns. This appointment will take approximately 2-3 hours to complete that can be broken into multiple appointments if needed. Can occur virtually or in-person and 2) Proxy reporters (e.g., parent, clinician, group home staff) for 1,000 adults with DD representative of the full range of verbal and intellectual functioning in DD and 1000 self-reporting adults with DD (N = 500 with ASD, N = 500 with other DD) will complete the items in the initial AFS. These assessments will be completed online after the online consent process. This virtual appointment will take 1-2 hours.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What Compensation Do Participants Receive:
Participants will receive $100 for completing the interview and assessment battery for the first component of the study and $80 for completing the assessment battery for the second component.
Brochure Location:
Project Title:
EASE: Emotional Awareness and Skills Enhancement Study for ASD
Principal Investigator:
Carla Mazefsky, PhD
For Information Contact:
Please contact the project coordinator at autismrecruiter@upmc.edu or by calling 1-866-647-3436 or by visiting our website at www.reaact.pitt.edu.
What We Are Studying:
The Center for Excellence in Autism Research at the University of Pittsburgh is conducting a research study to evaluate a new treatment for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who struggle with handling their emotions.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
We are seeking individuals ages 12-21-years old with an ASD diagnosis and an IQ of 75 or higher. Participants must be fluent in the English language with problems with regulating emotions and must have a parent/guardian who will attend sessions and complete assessments.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Individuals are not eligible if they have current concerns of suicidality that warrants immediate clinical care, a previous or current diagnosis of a psychotic disorder, or are receiving treatment for emotional issues that overlaps with this study.
What Participation Involves:
Participants will be randomized to either EASE Therapy or Supportive Therapy. Each therapy involves 16 weekly therapy sessions. Assessments will occur before treatment, at the mid-point, at the end of treatment and 3-months after treatment ends.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What Compensation Do Participants Receive:
Participants will receive the following compensation: $25 for completing initial diagnostic testing; $20 for pre-intervention assessments; $20 for midpoint assessments; $25 for post-intervention assessments; and $20 for follow-up assessments (which can be done online).
Brochure Location:
Project Title:
Exploring Positive and Negative Dimensions in Autism Spectrum Disorders (EXPAND)
Principal Investigator:
Carla Mazefsky, PhD
For Information Contact:
Email the study coordinator at autismrecruiter@upmc.edu or by calling 1-866-647-3436, or visit our website at www.reaact.pitt.edu.
What We Are Studying:
The EXPAND study aims to validate a new observer-report measure of positive and negative features of ASD. This measure will quantify variability within ASD along novel dimensions that can concretely be targeted for intervention and measurably show change. The study will use gold-standard procedures and assessments to validate this measure. EXPAND is a multi-site study led by Dr. Jennifer Foss-Feig at Mt. Sinai and Dr. Carla Mazefsky at the University of Pittsburgh.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
We are recruiting children ages 3-11 years old with an Autism (ASD) diagnosis. Parent/Caregiver/s must be available to complete assessments.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Children without an ASD diagnosis or without a parent/caregiver available to complete assessments are not eligible.
What Participation Involves:
All participants in EXPAND will complete child assessments, caregiver interviews, and online caregiver questionnaires. Some participants will be asked to complete a subset of the questionnaires and interviews 6 weeks later. A second caregiver and community provider will also be asked to complete online questionnaires for the study.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What Compensation Do Participants Receive:
Participants will be paid $100 upon you and your child completing study activities. If your child is randomized to have follow-up questionnaires and interviews completed after 6 weeks, you will be compensated an additional $25 for the second caregiver completing study questionnaires at baseline, and an additional $50 upon completion of study questionnaires and interviews by a caregiver at the week 6 visit. The
community provider will be paid $25 for completing study assessments.
Brochure Location:
Project Title:
Validation of Emotion Dysregulation Inventory (EDI) with functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)- EDI-fNIRS
Principal Investigator:
Carla Mazefsky, PhD
For Information Contact:
Please contact the study coordinating by email at autismrecruiter@upmc.edu or by telephone at 1-866-647-3436 or visit our website at www.reaact.pitt.edu.
What We Are Studying:
The purpose of this study is to provide initial neural validation of the caregiver report EDI. 125 4- to 8-year-old children with ASD will complete frustration-inducing and cognitive flexibility tasks, developed and validated by Co-I Perlman, that have been associated with high irritability in non-ASD children. LPFC activation will be monitored via functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), which is safe, noiseless, and painless. We expect that EDI scores (Reactivity and Dysphoria) will be negatively correlated with LPFC activation during frustration induction and during tasks associated with the demand for cognitive flexibility.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
We are seeking English-speaking individuals ages 4- to 8-years old with an ADOS-confirmed ASD or documentation of a prior diagnosis of ASD, an IQ >79 or receptive language level >79 on the PPVT.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Individuals are not eligible if they do not have an ASD diagnosis, an IQ < 79 or diagnosis of intellectual disability and are not ages 0-3 years old and 9 years old and older.
What Participation Involves:
Participants will have their caregiver complete the questionnaire battery that will take approximately one hour. Subjects will participate in an fNIRS session (gaming tasks) lasting < 30 minutes. Youth make responses using a touch screen computer. They will wear a headpiece containing the fNIRS optodes, which measure hemodynamic changes during functional tasks. This technology uses low levels (5mW) of non-ionizing, red to near-infrared (690-850nm) light to diffusely measure spectroscopic absorption changes.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What Compensation Do Participants Receive:
Participants may receive a maximum total of $120 for completion of all study tasks which includes a follow-up fNIRS visit.
Brochure Location:
Project Title:
Virtual BEaM (Brain, Emotions, and Mindfulness) Research Study
Principal Investigator:
Danella Hafeman, MD
For Information Contact:
Jamie Feldman; Email: feldmanj3@upmc.edu; Phone: 412-527-6231
What We Are Studying:
The purpose of this research study is to test whether virtual mindfulness groups can help with attention and mood symptoms among youth at-risk for mood disorders.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
Children ages 11-14 years old that have a biological parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Children who have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, autism spectrum disorder, or currently meeting criteria for major depressive disorder.
What Participation Involves:
Participation involves a 1-2 hour intake visit, an 8-week virtual mindfulness group, and a three-month follow-up visit. Participants will also complete questionnaires about his/her mood and behaviors.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What Compensation Do Participants Receive:
Please contact the project coordinator for details.
Brochure Location:
Project Title:
Life Experiences in Adolescents and the Development of Skills (LEADS) Study
Principal Investigator:
Rachel Vaughn-Coaxum, PhD
For Information Contact:
Calla Pritulsky; Email: ECYMHLab@pitt.edu; Telephone: 412-526-8667
What We Are Studying:
The purpose of this study is to understand how teens learn skills to manage their thoughts and feelings, and how their life experiences are related to the ways they learn a new skill.
Who Is Eligible to Participate:
Teens aged 12-15 that feel sad, depressed, irritable, or withdrawn.
Who Is Not Eligible to Participate:
Teens that have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or current ADHD. Teens on any stimulant medications, such as Concerta or Ritalin.
What Participation Involves:
Participation involves six sessions (four remote visits & two in-person visits). Study procedures include questionnaires, interviews, tasks, physical assessments, and skill learning for managing negative thoughts.
Do Participants Receive Compensation as Part of the Study:
Yes
What Compensation Do Participants Receive:
Please contact the study coordinator for more details.
Brochure Location: