Daniel Bradford, M.S.
Ph.D, Clinical Psychology
University of Wisconsin, Madison, In Progress
M.S., Clinical Psychology, University of Wisconsin, 2010
B.A., Psychology, Auburn University, 2007
Office: 325 Psychology
Drug use has remained prevalent in our culture for millennia. While there are multiple motives for use, both social and problem users consistently report that dampening of stress is a goal of their consumption. However, decades of research have yet to specify the precise mechanisms for this stress response dampening (SRD) in humans. We need to clarify when, how, and for whom SRD occurs to answer fundamental questions about the effects of commonly used drugs. Answers to these questions will help support adaptive, healthy use and improve treatments for excessive use. This line of research may also advance our understanding of the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms involved in the cognitive-affective responses to stressors generally. Stress figures prominently in the etiology of many psychopathologies. Gaining a more nuanced understanding of the stress response promises to more broadly inform us about psychopathology etiology and treatment. To these ends, my research has focused on studying the effects of alcohol consumption on psychophysiological responses to experimentally manipulated stressors. I assess individuals’ stress responses using measures that are both explicit (e.g., self-reported anxiety) and implicit (e.g., innate muscular defensive reflexes and event related brain potentials). Recognizing that social and other life stressors vary in their predictability, I have contributed to a programmatic demonstration of greater alcohol SRD in the face of unpredictable stressors relative to predictable stressors. More recently, I have begun to explore other attributes of the stressors that humans face (e.g., controllability). By clarifying the effects of alcohol on responses to varying types of stressors my research aims to advance our understanding of the psychophysiological processes involved in social and problem alcohol use as well as adaptive and maladaptive stress.
The role of uncontrollable and unpredictable stressors in recreational and addictive drug use.
Methodological advancement and refinement in the study of the psychophysiology of stress.
Bradford DE, Starr MJ, Shackman AJ, Curtin JJ (2015). Empirically based comparisons of the reliability and validity of common quantification approaches for eyeblink startle potentiation in humans. Psychophysiolology, 52, 1669-1681. PDF | OSF
Bradford DE, Curtin JJ, Piper ME (2015). Anticipation of smoking sufficiently dampens stress reactivity for nicotine deprived smokers. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 124, 128-36. PMC4332561. PDF
Bradford DE, Kaye JT, Curtin JJ (2014). Not just noise: Individual differences in general startle reactivity predict startle reactivity to uncertain and certain threat. Psychophysiology, 51, 407-411. PMC3984356. PDF
Bradford DE, Shapiro BL, Curtin JJ (2013). How Bad Could It Be? Alcohol Dampens Stress Responses to Threat of Uncertain Intensity. Psychological Science, 24, 2541-2549. PMC3951286. PDF | Study Highlights