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Active Research Projects

Primary Research and Clinical Interests

Kristyn Zajac is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine Calhoun Cardiology Center and serves as the Associate Training Director for UConn’s NIAAA-funded T32 post-doctoral training program. She earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Delaware and completed her pre-doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina. She is currently a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Connecticut. Dr. Zajac’s research focus broadly on the development, refinement, and evaluation of psychosocial interventions to promote health-related behavioral change, particularly among youth and vulnerable populations. Recent projects have focused on evaluating an integrated intervention for co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use among emerging adults; family-based therapy for adolescents and emerging adults with Internet gaming disorder; and a reinforcement-based intervention to promote HIV testing among high-risk women. She is an Assistant Editor of the journal Emerging Adulthood and is on the editorial boards for the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse and Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Selected Publications

Zajac, K., Ruggiero, K. J., Smith, D. W., Saunders, B. E., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (2011). Adolescent distress in traumatic stress research: Data from the National Survey of Adolescents-Replication. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24, 226-229.

McCart, M. R., Zajac, K., Danielson, C. K., Strachan, M., Ruggiero, K. J., Smith, D. W., Saunders, B. E., & Kilpatrick, D. G. (2011). Interpersonal victimization, posttraumatic stress disorder, and change in adolescent substance use prevalence over a ten-year period. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 40,136-143.  

Sheidow, A. J., McCart, M. R., & Zajac, K., & Davis, M. (2012). Prevalence and impact of substance use among emerging adults with serious mental health conditions. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 35, 235-243.

Zajac, K., Sheidow, A. J., & Davis, M. (2015). Juvenile justice, mental health, and the transition to adulthood: A review of service system involvement and unmet needs in the U.S. Child and Youth Services Review, 56, 139-148.

Zajac, K., Ralston, M. E., & Smith, D. W. (2015). Maternal support following childhood sexual abuse: Associations with children’s adjustment post-disclosure and at 9-month follow-up. Child Abuse & Neglect, 44, 66 – 75.

Zajac, K., Randall, J., & Swenson, C. C. (2015). Multisystemic therapy for externalizing youth. Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 24, 601 – 616.

Petry, N. M., Zajac, K., & Ginley, M. K. (2018). Behavioral addictions as mental disorders: To be or not to be? Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 14, 399 – 423.

Zajac, K., Rash, C. J., Ginley, M. K., & Heck, N. C. (2020). Sexual orientation and substance use treatment outcomes across five clinical trials of contingency management. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 34, 128-135.


Recent Publications

Sheidow, A. J., Zajac, K., Chapman, J. E., McCart, M. R., & Drazdowski, T. K. (in press). Randomized controlled trial of an integrated family-based treatment for adolescents presenting to community mental health centers. Community Mental Health Journal.

Zajac, K., Ginley, M. K., & Chang, R. (2020). Treatments of Internet gaming disorder: A systematic review of the evidence. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 20, 85-93.

Kelly, L. M., Rash, C. J., Alessi, S. A., & Zajac, K. (2020). Correlates and predictors of suicidal ideation and substance use among adults seeking substance use treatment with varying levels of suicidality. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 119, 108-145.