Ferkauf Research Cited in Scientific American Article

Melinda Wenner Moyer, a contributing editor at Scientific American, cited vital research done by Ferkauf professors and students in an article she wrote for the journal on Dec. 21, 2020, “You Can Get through This Dark Pandemic Winter Using Tips from Disaster Psychology: Deaths are surging, and mental health is strained. But coping strategies people use amid other catastrophes can help.”

The papers done by Drs. Tracy A. Prout, Katie Aafjes-van Doorn, Vera Békés and Jordan Bate of the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, along with Ferkauf Ph.D. students Kathryn Whistler, Thomas Kui and Isabelle Christman-Cohen, have been deep dives into the psychological effects of the pandemic on parents, children 6-12 years of age, therapists and the general population. Their work has been published in Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, Counselling Psychology Quarterly, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, Policy, Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association and Frontiers in Psychology. (Click here to read about their research.)


Photo array: Bekes, Prout, Bate, van-Doorn


In the article, Moyer summarizes the mental health challenges people are experiencing as they face a “winter [that] looks especially dark and hard as deaths climb to exceed the losses of 9/11 every day.” But, as she noted, there are ways we can make it through the coming months of trauma, “not perfect solutions but methods that can help.”

The Ferkauf research was cited in two sections of the article. “Look For Warning Signs” listed how people can monitor themselves and others for signals that the stress is becoming unmanageable, noting that the Ferkauf research found that “the people who were experiencing the most distress also had the most physical symptoms.” In the section “Find New Ways to Connect,” Moyer noted that the Ferkauf researchers “found that people who connected with and helped others felt less distressed than those who coped in less healthy ways, such as by repressing their feelings or behaving passive-aggressively.”

“It’s an honor to have our research highlighted in Scientific American,” said Dr. Prout, “and, more importantly, to have these findings about the high levels of distress many are experiencing amidst the pandemic shared with the broader public. It’s good for people to know they are not alone in their suffering, to have ideas of symptoms to look out for, and clear suggestions about how to seek relief. We are looking forward to seeing what researchers and clinicians can learn as we move forward in the service of providing compassionate care to a world in crisis.”