Judgement and experiences following Alcohol consumption in the Moment (JAM)

Supervising Faculty: Sarah Pedersen, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology

Contact: Sarah Pedersen, pedersensl@upmc.edu

Area of Research: Health equity, alcohol and substance use, clinical psychology

Description of Research:  The JAM study is focused on examining health inequities alcohol problems between Black and White drinkers. Young adult drinkers are recruited to complete a lab and smartphone-based study to examine proximal factors that relate to alcohol use. The study examines the acute effects of alcohol, mood, discrimination and environmental contributors to alcohol problems. The MARS study is focused on examining associations between sleep and alcohol. Young adult drinkers complete sleep and alcohol lab sessions as well as a 20-day smartphone-based protocol. The study examines mood, impulsivity, and alcohol response with sleep.

Duties of Students:  Students will be involved in study recruitment and screening, data entry, observation of lab-based protocol, and completion of their individual research project.


  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100 Statistics
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lecture
  • PSY 0037 Research Methods Lab
  • Minimum of 2 credit hours per semester to facilitate training in lab-based protocol

Recruitment Process:  All students are asked to submit an unofficial transcript and resume. Meetings with Dr. Pedersen are scheduled for all students who demonstrate academic excellence in psychology coursework and preferentially for those with interest in alcohol or health equity research. During the meeting, Dr. Pedersen introduces herself describing her educational background (research and clinical), provides an overview of the research study aims, the range of student responsibilities, and student expectations with an emphasis on research integrity and professionalism. Students are asked about their experience and comfort working with participants. They are also asked to describe their goals for participation in directed research and how this lab aligns with their future career goals. They are told that they do not have to decide immediately and instead should consider if the lab/project is a good fit

for them and respond by e-mail once they have decided. Students will be enrolled with a rolling acceptance until all spots are filled. In the case that more students simultaneously apply than spots are available, preference will be given to students who have comfort with the research methods and protocol. In line with the YFRP commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion, students who demonstrate understanding of the socio-historically based structural disadvantage that affects people of color and/or knowledge of stigma and discrimination against the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ+) community are preferred.

Terms offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

Number of Students: 4

Lab websitehttp://yfrp.pitt.edu/research/current-studies