Campus News

UGA School of Social Work receives grant to research PTSD

UGA School of Social Work receives $839,735 grant to research PTSD, substance abuse treatment services

Athens, Ga. – The National Institute on Drug Abuse-one of 27 institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health-has awarded the University of Georgia School of Social Work $839,735 to research the connection between Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse treatment services.

The grant, a NIDA Mentored Research Scientist Development Award, was awarded to School of Social Work faculty member and Master’s of Social Work Program Director Brian Bride. Bride’s teaching and research interests focus on mental health and substance abuse services for special populations including women, older adults, persons living with HIV/AIDS, persons with co-occurring disorders and traumatized populations. Bride also has a particular interest in studying secondary traumatic stress/compassion fatigue in human services professionals.

Bride’s research has multiple dimensions: It will document current trauma-focused services in substance abuse treatment centers; identify factors associated with adoption of trauma-focused services in substance abuse treatment centers; document the prevalence of secondary traumatic stress among substance abuse counselors; examine the influence of the provision of trauma-focused services, clinical supervision, and organizational culture on counselor secondary traumatic stress; and examine the relationship between counselor secondary traumatic stress and counselor turnover.

“Little is known about the assessment and treatment of trauma/PTSD within substance abuse treatment settings, which in turn impacts the efficacy of treatment efforts for individuals with co-morbid substance use disorders and PTSD,” said Bride. “This grant will provide the mechanism for understanding the current state of the field in regards to trauma-focused services, which has significant implications for effective substance abuse treatment.”

Bride’s grant proposal was developed as part of his participation in and support from the Faculty Research Funding Mentoring Program of the UGA Institute for Behavioral Research. This interdisciplinary program pairs junior faculty with teams of faculty who have been successful in obtaining extramural funding. Working in concert with the senior faculty as well as peers from diverse behavioral science backgrounds, the program participants experience every phase of the application process from initial inquiry to administration of awarded funds. The program, active for 18 years, has had considerable success with its “learn-by-doing” format.

Paul Roman, UGA Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology, will serve as Bride’s Primary Mentor and Lillian Eby (UGA Psychology Department), Robert Vandenberg (UGA Terry College Department of Management) and Kathleen Brady (Medical University of South Carolina Department of Psychiatry) will serve as co-mentors for the five-year duration of the NIH funding.

For Bride, the grant provides the opportunity to further explore two areas of interest.

“One of the things that excites me most about this funding is that it allows me to integrate two lines of my research-substance abuse treatment and secondary traumatic stress,” Bride said. “Though I have always seen the link, I have had little opportunity to integrate the two into a single study.”

The grant represents a major achievement for Bride, the School of Social Work and the university, according to Dean Maurice Daniels.

“Dr. Bride’s exceptional work is sure to make an impact on social work practice and research for many years to come,” said Daniels. “This grant also represents the culmination of scholarship by an outstanding faculty member, our research interests and our mission as a school to promote social and economic justice.”

The UGA School of Social Work has been preparing students for challenging and rewarding careers in social work for more than four decades. SSW is fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education and offers five degrees including the BSW, MSW, MSW/JD, Ph.D. and Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management.