Dr. Shaffer is a clinical psychologist with training in the fields of cardiovascular behavioral medicine, health behavior change, and quantitative methodology. His research project will involve the development of a mobile psychosocial intervention application for women with spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), a rare type of heart attack that generally afflicts young women with few risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Preliminary evidence suggests that SCAD patients may be at increased risk for developing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been successfully used to treat depression and anxiety in patients with cardiac disease, and preliminary evidence suggests that a CBT-based intervention for SCAD patients may be beneficial. Dr. Shaffer’s project aims to adapt an in-person CBT intervention into an online app for women with SCAD as part of a larger program of research that aims to increase the availability and dissemination of the intervention.