This F32 National Research Service Award is designed to help the PI achieve her long-term career goal of becoming an independent investigator with lines of research focused on understanding the phenomenology and treatment of obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders. Consistent with this goal, the proposed study will focus on extending the PI's research to the characterization and treatment of sensory intolerance (SI) in childhood. SI is an exaggerated, intense, and/or prolonged behavioral response toward certain sensations, such as tactile or auditory input. SI is a chronic condition associated with significant distress and functional impairment that may set the stage for the development of psychopathology later in life. Despite the high prevalence rate of SI, there are large gaps in the understanding of SI phenomenology and treatment that could be addressed by psychiatric research. Although SI is thought to cut across current diagnostic categories, little is known about the relationship of SI to other psychiatric disorders and symptom dimensions, information that is critical for future treatment development. In addition, there is a lack of available empirically- based treatment for SI. Thus, the overall aims of the current study are to 1) recruit 46 children from primary care clinics with SI complaints and conduct a comprehensive, clinician-administered assessment to better characterize and define SI and 2) pilot-test an exposure-based treatment in six children with primary SI symptoms using a multiple baseline design. The long term goal of the proposed study is designed to generate preliminary data necessary to begin a line of research focused on a) understanding the phenomenology, development, and maintenance of SI and b) developing an empirically supported intervention for SI. The highly structured training plan in the current application is ideally suited to allow the I to conduct the proposed research plan and to move towards her long-term career goals. The PI will receive training in 1) assessment, characterization, and clinical presentation of SI, 2) treatment development research techniques, 3) exposure-based therapy, 4) advanced statistics, and 5) manuscript preparation and grant writing skills. Training will be guided by an expert mentorship team with expertise in SI, exposure therapy, developmental psychopathology, and treatment development. Therefore, the proposed training and research plans will provide the PI with experiences necessary to accomplish her ultimate goal of becoming an independent investigator.
Sensory Intolerance (SI) is a chronic condition associated with significant distress and impairment that may set the stage for the development of psychopathology later in life. Despite the high prevalence rate of SI, there are large gaps in the understanding of SI characteristics and treatment that could be addressed by psychiatric research. The current study proposes to examine the relationship of SI to other psychiatric disorders and to pilot-test a novel psychological treatment for SI.
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