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Sara O'Brien


Sara O'Brien

Associate Professor of Psychology

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401



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Associate Professor of Psychology

Sara Stasik

General Interests
"My primary research interests include the assessment, classification, and diagnosis of mood and anxiety disorders. I have a specific interest in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and have integrated this focus throughout my research program, aiming to delineate OCD’s symptom composition, relations to other major forms of psychopathology, and most appropriate nosological placement. My work has examined the heterogeneity of OCD symptom expression and relations between OCD and other Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, the correlation between OCD and dysfunctional beliefs, the specificity of OCD to pathological personality traits, and differential relations between OCD symptoms and DSM diagnoses. This work seeks to answer questions about why certain symptoms develop and which variables affect the diversity of symptom presentation across patients. Current and future projects are focused on comprehensive assessment of OCD and related disorders, symptom-level relations between OCD and potential underlying mechanisms or vulnerability factors, and identification of transdiagnostic mechanisms that may facilitate effective classification."

Years at Knox: 2014 to Present


B.A. (magna cum laude), Psychology and Spanish, 2004, Miami University
M.A., Clinical Psychology, 2010, University of Iowa
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, 2014, University of Notre Dame

Teaching Interests

Clinical & Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Therapies, Psychological Assessment, Psychopathology

Selected Professional Accomplishments


  • Knox Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant - Collaborative Research Grant, with Andrew Hertel: "Longitudinal Assessment of Maladaptive Personality Traits and Substance Use in Parent-Child Duos", 2016-2017.
  • Knox Mellon Faculty Career Enhancement Grant - Interdisciplinary Course Development: New Course: Culture of the Spanish-Speaking World, 2016-2017.
  • University of Notre Dame Professional Development Award (2013)
  • Earnest Swarm Graduate Student Research Award (2012, 2013)
  • University of Notre Dame Conference Presentation Grant (2012, 2013)
  • University of Notre Dame Graduate Student Research Award (2012)
  • Notebaert Professional Development Travel Award (2011)
  • Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students Research Grant (2009)

"Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders: Epidemiology" and "Negative affect," in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology, edited by A. E. Wenzel. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, 2017.

Stanton, K., Rozek, D. C., Stasik-O'Brien, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S., & Watson, D. "A transdiagnostic approach to examining the incremental predictive power of emotion regulation and basic personality dimensions," Journal of Abnormal Psychology 125 (2016): 960-975.

Stanton, K., Stasik-O'Brien, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S., & Watson, D. "Positive affectivity: Specificity of is facet level relations with psychopathology," Cognitive Therapy and Research 40 (2016): 593-605.

Stanton, K., Daly, E. J., Stasik-O'Brien, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S. A., Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. "An integrative analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and the Hypomanic Personality Scale: Implications for construct validity," Assessment 40 (2016): 593-605.

Watson, D., Stasik, S. M., Ellickson-Larew, S., & Stanton, K. (in press). Explicating the psychopathological correlates of unusual sleep experiences. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Watson, D., Stasik, S. M., Chmielewski, M., & Naragon-Gainey, K. (2014). Development and validation of the Temperament and Affectivity Inventory (TAI). Assessment. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1073191114557943

Watson, D., & Stasik, S. M. (2014). Examining the comorbidity between depression and the anxiety disorders from the perspective of the quadripartite model. In C. S. Richards & M. W. O'Hara (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Depression and Comorbidity. New York: Oxford University Press.

Watson, D., & Stasik, S. M. (2014). Dispositional basis of anxiety disorders. In P. Emmelkamp and T. Ehring (Eds.), The Wiley Handbook of Anxiety Disorders. Volume I: Theory and research (pp. 201-212). Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell.

Stasik, S., Brock, R., Farach, F., Benoit, K., & Wilson, K. (2013). The Predoctoral Internship Crisis: Results from the Revised Internship Survey. Clinical Science, 16(1), 15-20.

Watson, D., Stasik, S. M., Ro, E., & Clark, L. A. (2013). Integrating Normal and Pathological Personality: Relating the DSM-5 Trait Dimensional Model to General Traits of Personality. Assessment, 20, 312-326.

Stasik, S. M., Naragon-Gainey, K., Chmielewski, M., & Watson, D. (2012). Core OCD symptoms: Exploration of specificity and relations with psychopathology. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 26, 859-870.

Watson, D., O'Hara, M. W., Naragon-Gainey, K., Koffel, E., Chmielewski, M., Kotov, R., Stasik, S. M., & Ruggero, C. J. (2012). Development and validation of new anxiety and bipolar symptom scales for an expanded version of the IDAS (the IDAS-II). Assessment, 19, 399-420.

Segre, L. S., McCabe, J. E., Stasik, S. M., O'Hara, M. W., & Arndt, S. (2012). Disseminating an evidence-based perinatal depression treatment into social service settings: The relative importance of acceptability and contextual factors. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 39, 180-186.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Stasik, S. M. (2011). Emotions and the emotional disorders: A quantitative hierarchical perspective. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 11, 429-442.

Segre, L. S., Stasik, S. M., O'Hara M. W., & Arndt, S. (2010). An evaluation of the effectiveness and acceptability of a home-based depression treatment. Psychotherapy Research, 20, 712-721.

With Schmidt, J. ('17), "Transdiagnostic risk factors in the obsessive-compulsive and related disorders," American Association for Depression and Anxiety, San Francisco, CA. April 6 - 9, 2017.

Ellickson-Larew, S., Stasik-O'Brien, S. M., Stanton, K., & Watson, D., "Experiential avoidance as a transdiagnostic risk and maintenance factor for psychopathology: The role of neuroticism," American Association for Depression and Anxiety, San Francisco, CA. Apri 6 - 9,l 2017.

With Stanton, K., Cruitt, P., Kent, A., Ellickson-Larew, S., & Watson, D., "Forms of Psychopathology Characterized by Dominance: Insights into their Structure and Relations with Personality and Other Psychopathology," 30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology, Baltimore, MD. September 29 - October 2, 2016.

With Schmidt, J. ('17), "Perfectionism and Body Image: The Effect of Idealized Music Videos on Self,-Perception," 2016 Association for Psychological Science Conference, Chicago, IL. May 26 - 29, 2016.

With Schmidt, J. ('17), & Witzig, E. ('15), "Transdiagnostic Risk Factors for Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders," 2016 Association for Psychological Science Conference, Chicago, IL. May 26 - 29, 2016.

Stasik, S. M., Olson, N., Droege, J., Kamm, J., & Singh, A. (2014). Chair. Psychiatric Comorbidity in Substance Use Disorder: Patient Characteristics, Treatment Outcome, and Implications for Veteran Mental Health Care. Poster to be presented at the 2014 Annual Convention of the Midwestern Psychological Association, Chicago, IL.

Stasik, S. M., Suzuki, N., Ellickson-Larew, S. A., Stanton, K. J., & Watson, D. (2013, September). Nosological Placement of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders: A Comprehensive Structural Analysis. Poster presented at the 2013 Society for Research in Psychopathology Conference, Oakland, CA.

Chmielewski, M., Stasik, S. M., Vaidya, J., Latzman, R., & Watson, D. (2013, June). From freshman year to thirty-something: The stability and predictive power of personality traits. Poster presented at the 2013 Association for Research in Personality Conference, Charlotte, NC.

Stasik, S. M., Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (2012, November). Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Personality Disorder Traits: Specificity of Relations Using a DSM-5 Conceptualization. Poster presented at the 2012 Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Conference, National Harbor, MD.

Stasik, S. M., Ro, E., Clark, L. A., & Watson, D. (2012, October). The Personality Inventory for DSM-5: A Re-test Analysis of Two Forms. Poster presented at the 2012 Society for Research in Psychopathology Conference, Ann Arbor, MI.

Stasik, S. M. (2011, September). Specificity of Relations between Cognitive Belief Domains and Obsessive-Compulsive Symptoms: A Meta-Analytic Review. Poster presented at the 2011 Society for Research in Psychopathology Conference, Boston, MA.

Stasik, S. M., Naragon-Gainey, K., Chmielewski, M., & Watson, D. (2011, May). Core OCD Symptoms: Exploration of Specificity and Relations with Psychopathology. Poster presented at the 2011 Association for Psychological Science Conference, Washington, D.C.

Segre, L. S., O’Hara, M. W., Stasik, S. M., & Arndt, S. (2011, May). Listening Visits: Effectiveness in a U.S. Setting. Poster presented at the 2011 Perinatal Psychiatry in the 21st Century: The Legacy of Channi Kumar Conference, London, England.

Stasik, S. M., Chmielewski, M., & Watson, D. (2010, April). Core OCD Symptoms: Exploration of Specificity and Relations with Psychopathology in a Clinical Sample. Poster presented at the 2010 Iowa Psychological Association Conference, Iowa City, IA.

Stasik, S. M., Chmielewski, M., & Watson, D. (2009, September). The Schedule of Compulsions, Obsessions, and Pathological Impulses: Further Exploration in a Clinical Sample. Poster presented at the 2009 Society for Research in Psychopathology Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Stasik, S. M. & Watson, D. (2009, April). Examination of the Symptom Structure of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and its Relation to Obsessive-Compulsive Spectrum Disorders. Poster presented at the 2009 Iowa Psychological Association Conference, Cedar Rapids, IA.

Campus & Community Involvement

  • Member, Association for Psychological Science
  • Member, Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology 
  • Member, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
  • SSCP/APS Mentorship Program Committee

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