Jasper Smits

Jasper Smits
University of Texas at Austin | UT · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

287
Publications
106,779
Reads
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10,889
Citations
Introduction
The main objective of my research program is to improve the treatment of anxiety and related problems.
Additional affiliations
September 2013 - present
University of Texas at Austin
Position
  • Professor
May 2012 - May 2018
Radboud University
Position
  • Professor
August 2004 - August 2013
Southern Methodist University
Position
  • Assistant/Associate Professor

Publications

Publications (287)
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the global economy, physical health, and mental health. This pandemic, like previous viral outbreaks, has resulted in spikes in anxiety, depression, and stress. Even though millions of individuals face the physical health consequences of infection by COVID-19, even more individuals are confronted w...
Article
Importance: Smoking among individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) represents a major public health problem. Intervening during a psychiatric hospital stay may provide an opportunity to aid engagement in smoking cessation treatment and facilitate success in quitting. Objective: To examine the effectiveness of a multicomponent, sustained car...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Poor sleep is prevalent among individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and may negatively affect exposure therapy outcomes. Poor sleep may impair memory and learning, and thus compromise fear extinction learning thought to take place in exposure therapy. We examined poor sleep as a predictor of exposure therapy outcomes for SAD a...
Article
Background and Aims People with anxiety disorders are more likely to smoke and less likely to succeed when they try to quit. Anxiety sensitivity may underlie both phenomena, such that people with high anxiety sensitivity react to interoceptive distress by avoidance. This study aimed to test the efficacy of an exercise program that induced interocep...
Article
Background Approach tendency to smoking-related cues has been associated with greater cravings, nicotine dependence, and the likelihood of relapse. In this pilot randomized clinical trial, we examined the efficacy of approach bias retraining (ABR; i.e., increasing avoidance tendency) for enhancing standard smoking cessation treatment (ST). Methods...
Data
The data and code to reproduce the analyses in this publication are available here: https://osf.io/k3tma/
Article
Full-text available
Anxiety sensitivity, or the fear of anxiety, represents an important transdiagnostic target in the prevention and treatment of anxiety disorders, which typically emerge between childhood and early adulthood. Recent work demonstrated that single-session digital psychoeducation interventions delivered on computers in a lab setting can effectively red...
Article
Background Panic disorder is a common and disabling psychiatric condition marked by sudden onset of physiological sensations that are appraised as dangerous. A number of studies and reviews have examined the efficacy of psychosocial treatments for PD; however, there is a lack of overarching reports that discuss the strength of evidence for the diff...
Chapter
With traces dating back to antiquity, exercise for mental health is not a new practice. However, in recent decades, empirical research has proliferated on exercise and its effect on mood, a number of mental health disorders, and the mechanisms that may explain these effects. In this article, we begin by reviewing the history of this area. Next, we...
Article
Anxiety sensitivity (AS) is a transdiagnostic risk factor and potential treatment target for prevention of associated psychopathology and negative health behaviors. We conducted a meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of brief interventions in at-risk samples for reducing AS and associated clinical/behavioral outcomes (e.g., depression, alcohol use...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives Depression is a highly heterogeneous disorder, and meta-analyses of mindfulness-based interventions show moderate efficacy for reducing depressive symptoms. However, the mechanisms governing their efficacy remain unclear, highlighting the need for hypothesis-generating analyses to guide future research.Methods We used Bayesian network an...
Article
Objective: Attention bias modification training (ABMT) is purported to reduce depression by targeting and modifying an attentional bias for sadness-related stimuli. However, few tests of this hypothesis have been completed. Method: The present study examined whether change in attentional bias mediated a previously reported association between AB...
Preprint
Attention bias modification training (ABMT) is purported to reduce depression by targeting and modifying an attentional bias for sadness-related stimuli. However, few tests of this hypothesis have been completed. Method: The current study examined whether change in attentional bias mediated a previously reported association between ABMT condition (...
Article
Adolescent depression is a clinically relevant concern that has major implications for mental and physical health. The trajectory of depressive symptoms among adolescents suggests that there is likely variability throughout this developmental period. The aim of the study was to assess the longitudinal relationship between individual symptoms of dep...
Article
Objectives: Non-pharmacologic pain management strategies are needed due to the growing opioid epidemic. While studies have examined the efficacy of virtual reality (VR) for pain reduction, there is little research in adult inpatient settings, and no studies comparing the relative efficacy of standard animated CGI VR (computer-generated imaging VR)...
Article
Background Interventions that target anxiety/depressive symptoms in the context of smoking treatment have shown promise irrespective of psychiatric diagnosis. Yet, these tailored treatments are largely absent for persons who smoke and are living with HIV (SLWH). Objective To evaluate a novel, smoking cessation intervention that addresses anxiety/d...
Article
Full-text available
Background This study examined the efficacy of attention bias modification training (ABMT) for the treatment of depression. Methods In this randomized clinical trial, 145 adults (77% female, 62% white) with at least moderate depression severity [i.e. self-reported Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (QIDS-SR) ⩾13] and a negative attention...
Article
Full-text available
Background and objectives: Perceptual adaptations that facilitate rapid responses to threats can also lead to false alarms, or the failure to discriminate safe stimuli from signals of threat. We examined the impact of varying degrees of threat on false alarms in the perceptual discrimination of faces along the dimension of emotion (Experiment 1) or...
Article
Full-text available
Background Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a considerable public health concern. In spite of evidence-based treatments for MDD, many patients do not improve and relapse is common. Therefore, improving treatment outcomes is much needed and adjunct exercise treatment may have great potential. Exercise was shown to be effective as monotherapy for d...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an efficacious intervention for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Digital CBT may provide a scalable means of delivering CBT at a population level. We investigated the efficacy of a novel digital CBT program in those with GAD for outcomes of anxiety, worry, depressive symptoms, sleep difficulty, we...
Preprint
Background: This study examined the efficacy Attention Bias Modification Training (ABMT) for the treatment of depression. Methods: In this randomized clinical trial, 145 adults (77% female, 62% white) with at least moderate depression severity (i.e., self-reported Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (QIDS-SR) ≥ 13) and a negative attention...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Smoking is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. While most smokers endorse a desire to quit, achieving abstinence is notoriously difficult. Network analysis is a method for understanding the complex relationships of factors that maintain smoking behavior and impact motivation to quit. Methods: This study e...
Article
Low income and low educational attainment are among the strongest predictors of both smoking prevalence and lapse (i.e., return) to smoking after cessation attempts. Treatment refinement is limited by inadequate knowledge of the specific lapse- or relapse-relevant vulnerabilities characteristic of populations that should be the target of treatment....
Preprint
Full-text available
Addressing mental health challenges related to the COVID-19 outbreak can be facilitated through research that characterizes the needs of subpopulations and identifies specific pathways to targeted intervention. Toward this aim, we examined the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on anxiety symptoms among college students (N = 487) and explored the rela...
Article
Full-text available
Importance Findings suggest that the efficacy of D-cycloserine (DCS) for enhancing exposure therapy may be strongest when administered after sessions marked by low fear at the conclusion of exposure practice. These findings have prompted investigation of DCS dosing tailored to results of exposure sessions. Objective To compare tailored postsession...
Article
Full-text available
Background Behavioral activation (BA) interventions are efficacious for depression, yet a substantial minority of patients do not respond to treatment. Strategies that facilitate activity outside of session may improve BA treatment outcomes. The objective of the current study was to examine whether briefly practicing a target activity (guided pract...
Article
Full-text available
The present study aimed to replicate the finding that younger age predicts higher pre quit-day attrition. Our second aim was to explain this relation by examining empirically and theoretically informed age-related risk factors for low smoking cessation treatment engagement. 136 participants (Mage = 44.2 years, SD = 11.3 years; age = 22–64 years) we...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is a chronic and disabling condition with considerable personal and economic impact. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a recommended psychological therapy for GAD; however, there are substantial barriers to accessing treatment. Digital CBT, in particular smartphone-delivered CBT, has the potentia...
Preprint
Background. The application of psychopathological symptom networks requires reconciliation of the observed cross-sample heterogeneity. We leveraged the largest sample to be used in a PTSD network analysis (N = 28,594) to examine the impact of criteria-based and data-driven sampling approaches on the heterogeneity and interpretability of networks.Me...
Article
Full-text available
Cigarette smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, contributing to over 480,000 deaths each year. Although significant strides have been made in the development of effective smoking cessation treatments, most established interventions are associated with high relapse rates. One avenue for increasing the effectivene...
Article
Background Depression is a prevalent and impairing condition. Behavioral activation (BA) is a parsimonious, cost-effective, and easily disseminated psychological intervention for depression. The current meta-analysis expands on the existing literature supporting the efficacy of BA for depression by examining the effects of BA on additional relevant...
Article
The Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonadal (HPG)-axis, and testosterone in particular, play an important role in social motivational behavior. Socially avoidant behavior, characteristic of social anxiety disorder (SAD), has been linked to low endogenous testosterone levels, and can be alleviated by testosterone administration in SAD. Although these benefic...
Article
Full-text available
Background Maladaptive stress reactivity is a vulnerability factor for the recurrence of mood and anxiety episodes. Since appraisals of situational demand and available resources to cope with a stressor drive stress reactivity, they are meaningful targets for intervention. In the present study, we test whether exercise (EX) can facilitate learning...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cigarette smoking remains a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, contributing to over 480,000 deaths each year. Although significant strides have been made in the development of effective smoking cessation treatments, most established interventions are associated with high relapse rates. One avenue for increasing the effectivene...
Article
Full-text available
In this placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial, we examined the efficacy of 250 mg d-cycloserine (DCS) for enhancing the effects of cognitive behavior therapy targeting anxiety sensitivity reduction in the context of smoking cessation treatment among adults with a history of panic attacks. We hypothesized that DCS would enhance treatment of o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Perceptual adaptations facilitate rapid responses to threats but can come with the cost of false alarms, or the failure to discriminate safe or novel stimuli from signals of true threat. For example, a fatigued colleague might be avoided when their tired expression is interpreted as a scowl, or a glimpse at a stranger might cause a rush of anxiety...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background: Depression is a prevalent and impairing condition. Behavioral Activation (BA) is a parsimonious, cost-effective, and easily disseminated psychological intervention for depression. The present meta-analysis expanded on existing literature supporting the efficacy of BA for depression by examining the effects of BA on additional relevant o...
Article
Full-text available
Preclinical and clinical data have shown that D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial agonist at the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor complex, augments the retention of fear extinction in animals and the therapeutic learning from exposure therapy in humans. However, studies with non-clinical human samples in de novo fear conditioning paradigms have demonstrate...
Preprint
Behavioral activation (BA) interventions are efficacious for depression, yet a substantial minority of patients do not respond to treatment. Strategies that facilitate activity outside of session may improve BA treatment outcomes. The objective of the current study was to examine whether briefly practicing a target activity (guided practice) during...
Article
The apparent efficacy of d-cycloserine (DCS) for enhancing exposure treatment for anxiety disorders appears to have declined over the past 14 years. We examined whether variations in how DCS has been administered can account for this "declining effect". We also investigated the association between DCS administration characteristics and treatment ou...
Article
Full-text available
Network analysis has been increasingly applied to understand complex interactions among symptoms in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While methods that initially focused on identifying central symptoms in cross-sectional networks have been extended to longitudinal data that can reveal the relative roles of acute symptoms in the emergence of th...
Chapter
Chapter 10 is an accessible primer on the human alarm system and an introduction to exposure therapy. This general resource should be read by clinicians as an overall summary and may also be used as a patient handout as part of the psychoeducation phase of treatment. The handout discusses the alarm system as it related to worry, anxiety, and panic....
Chapter
Like Chapter 5 (fear of emotions and bodily sensations), Chapter 7 discusses the treatment of internal threats including thoughts, images, and trauma memories. Imaginal exposure is particularly effective for the treatment of these fears. It has advantages over in vivo exposure because it can be used when in vivo exposure may not be appropriate or f...
Chapter
Chapter 11 is a list of key references to research papers, chapters, and books that have informed the approach to exposure therapy that we described in the previous chapters. By listing these here, we (a) underscore that our approach is rooted in theory and guided by data from studies and clinical trials that have tested the principles, efficacy, a...
Chapter
Chapter 6 describes exposure therapy for the fear of people (fear of negative evaluation). Successful treatment shifts the perception of seeing other’s evaluations as harmful to viewing these evaluations as lacking true danger. The chapter includes the steps to plan, deliver, and process exposures to alleviate fears of people. Patients with these f...
Chapter
Chapter 9 serves as a supplement to Chapter 4 and includes a list and brief description of available self-report measures that can help determine if the clinician and the patient are meeting the goals of exposure therapy. Consistent with the personalized approach to exposure therapy, the authors organize the list by feared cues, domains, and outcom...
Book
This book comprehensively covers empirically supported exposure methods (e.g., in vivo exposure, imaginal exposure, and interoceptive exposure) to a broad array of mental health symptoms. This transdiagnostic approach emphasizes the importance of a person-centered application, putting case formulation at the center of intervention planning and impl...
Chapter
Chapter 8 covers the impact of combined medication and exposure treatments. Any time two treatments coincide, there is a risk that patients may wonder what gains are associated with which treatment. Fortunately, the research supports that patients who are taking medications still benefit from exposure therapy. However, if medication is discontinued...
Chapter
Chapter 2 introduces a model of fears in terms of a network of learned associations among interconnected nodes. When these memories are cued, they can elicit expectancies for potential threat outcomes. Exposure therapy is used to alter these danger expectancies through new learning through confronting feared cues. This is an active learning process...
Chapter
Chapter 3 outlines the general approach to exposure therapy including three phases: planning for exposure therapy, delivering exposure therapy, and processing exposure therapy. The first phase includes specific steps to take in planning for exposure therapy including the initial phone contact, administering a questionnaire battery, conducting the i...
Chapter
Chapter 4 describes the core yardsticks of improvement. The chapter describes how success is defined from both patient and therapist perspectives and how this is modified from early to later sessions. Patients naturally want to have less anxiety. Therapists, however, know the only way to achieve this goal is to go through (rather than around) the d...
Chapter
Chapter 5 provides an overview of fear of emotions and related physical sensations and introduces exposure methods to address the fear of what lies within. This chapter is particularly focused on planning, delivering, and processing in vivo exposures to fear of fear (interoceptive exposure). The chapter describes how to modify the exposures to fit...
Chapter
Chapter 1 introduces exposure therapy as an empirically supported, simple, and flexible strategy to reduce a broad spectrum of worries, anxieties, and fears. It describes both what exposure therapy is and what it is not, including many common myths about exposure therapy. The authors describe the art of “playing” with fear as an overall approach. I...
Article
There is limited understanding of the relationship between emotion dysregulation and weight gain among smokers, although available data suggest there are potential relationships that may be of clinical importance. The present study explored a potential mechanism in the relationship between emotion dysregulation and body mass index (BMI). Specifical...
Article
The field of behavioral medicine continues to have a major impact on psychological science and public health. Presently, the field of behavioral medicine is undergoing rapid development and continues to evolve as a sub-discipline in allied disciplines. This Special Issue highlights emerging work that contributes to the evolution of behavioral medic...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this meta-analysis was to provide updated pooled effect sizes of evidence-based psychotherapies and medications for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and to investigate potential moderators of outcomes. Seventy-nine randomized controlled trials (RCT) including 11,002 participants with a diagnosis of GAD were included in a meta-analy...
Article
Full-text available
This commentary synthesizes research examining cognitive mechanisms underlying the links between anxiety, health behaviors, and illness outcomes. We provide a brief summary of contributions to this special issue and review common themes and methodological limitations. Notably, a number of related constructs emerged as amplification factors, increas...
Article
Full-text available
Heavy users and addicted individuals have shown to develop an approach action tendency – or approach bias – toward stimuli related to the substance of interest. Emerging evidence points to approach bias retraining (ABR) as an effective aid for the treatment of addictive behaviors. The current study seeks to extend this work by testing, in a pilot s...
Article
Nicotine has acute pain-relieving properties, and tobacco smokers often report using cigarettes to cope with pain. The proportion of smokers using menthol cigarettes has increased in recent years, and there is reason to suspect that menthol may enhance the analgesic effects of nicotine. Up to 90% of African American smokers report using menthol cig...
Article
Stereoscopic 3D gives the viewer the same shape, size, perspective and depth they would experience viewing the real world and could mimic the perceptual threat cues present in real life. This is the first study to investigate whether an immersive stereoscopic 3D video exposure-based treatment would be effective in reducing fear of spiders. Particip...
Article
Stereoscopic 3D gives the viewer the same shape, size, perspective and depth they would experience viewing the real world and could mimic the perceptual threat cues present in real life. This is the first study to investigate whether an immersive stereoscopic 3D video exposure-based treatment would be effective in reducing fear of spiders. Particip...
Article
Initial evidence suggests that experiential avoidance (EA) mediates the relation between anxiety sensitivity (AS) and depression. We examined the AS-EA-depression pathway, examining both concurrent, and prospective (cross-lag), mediation models. Utilizing data from a study that examined the effects of exercise on AS (N = 60), we modeled depressive...
Article
Extant evidence suggests that exercise can reduce anxiety related vulnerability factors, such as anxiety sensitivity (AS), or fear of bodily sensations related to anxiety, that negatively impact smoking cessation outcomes. Building upon emerging evidence supporting the efficacy of exercise as an aid for smoking cessation in adults with high AS, we...