Research Studies

Recent projects have examined the relationship of the content and structure of mental representations and adult attachment (Levy et al., 1998), neurocognitive functioning and neural activity and emotion regulation in borderline personality disorder (Levy et al., 2005; Posner et al., 2002; Silbersweig et al., 2007), and psychotherapy outcome in the treatment of personality disorders (Clarkin et al., 2001; Clarkin et al., 2007; Levy et al., 2006).

Current projects examine mechanisms of change in psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder (Levy et al., 2006), the contextual and personality factors that influence post-treatment adjustment in patients with borderline personality disorder, the influence of attachment and representation on stress reactivity in patients with borderline personality disorder, and the developmental precursors of personality problems in children of parents with personality disorders (Levy, 2005).
We have examined several other areas within psychology such as attachment and jealousy (Levy, Kelly, & Jack, 2006), tend to befriend and behavior, priming attachment behaviors; however, the main focus of our work must remain close to the areas mentioned above.

Our research is rooted in a developmental psychopathology perspective (Cicchetti, 1984; Cicchetti & Rogosch, 1996; Rutter & Sroufe, 2000; Sroufe, 1990; Sroufe & Rutter, 1984), particularly within an attachment theoretical approach (Ainsworth et al., 1978; Bowlby, 1988). In our work we employ self-report, interview, observational, interactive, neurocognitive and experimental psychopathology methods and we study both clinical and non-clinical groups. We generally assess mental representation either using both interview and self-report measures or using an array of self-report measures. Doing so enables us to examine the relationship between these different measures of their construct validity. Our hope is to ferret out the parameters of these measures and to better understand the latent constructs underlying personality organization.

Visit the Research Funding page for more information.