Kristina Phillips

Kristina Phillips

Associate Professor

  • Post-doctoral training, Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies (CAAS), Brown University
  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, Bowling Green State University
  • B.S., Psychology, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Research Interests

I would describe my primary research interests as the application of public health and behavioral medicine to the treatment of illicit substance use. My main interests fall into several domains:

  • Negative consequences associated with illicit substance use
  • Risk/harm reduction and disease prevention among out-of-treatment substance users
  • Substance use intervention development and treatment effectiveness
  • Ecological momentary assessment (EMA)

Medical Consequences associated with Injection Drug Use

Much of my research has focused on health consequences associated with injection drug use (e.g., HIV, Hepatitis C, bacterial infections) and the reduction of high-risk practices through brief intervention. Some of my earlier work focused on establishing the range of injection practices (e.g., frequent injection, intramuscular injection) that put injectors at risk for bacterial infections (e.g., skin abscesses), a very under-studied, yet common host of infections. Findings from these studies helped guide the development of a risk reduction intervention with injectors aimed at reducing both bacterial and viral infections.

The Skin and Needle Hygiene Intervention (“Skin”) was developed in collaboration with researchers at Brown University and the University of Colorado School of Medicine (NIH-funded; R21 DA026773; PI: Phillips). The Skin intervention combines psychoeducation, skill-building, and motivational interviewing to reduce risk for bacterial and viral infections among injection drug users. After initial findings demonstrating the efficacy of the intervention, a larger study was funded by NIH (R01 DA034957; PI: Stein); Co-I: Phillips) that will examine the effectiveness of this intervention in hospitalized injectors (n = 350) in Boston. Data collection for this second project is ongoing.

Outcomes associated with Marijuana Use among College Students and Studies using Ecological Momentary Assessment

Some of my more recent research has focused on marijuana use among university students. With recent legislation approving the use of marijuana among adults in Colorado, this research examines a range of correlates and outcomes associated with marijuana use (e.g., craving, academic problems, depression, impulsivity) in order to inform a new intervention. One recent study established the feasibility of using ecological momentary assessment (EMA) with college students who frequently use marijuana. EMA is a type of methodology that allows researchers to learn about participants “in the moment,” often incorporating novel technologies (e.g., text messaging) to gather information. A second study focused on the relationship between marijuana use, craving, and academic concerns. The long-term objective of this research is to develop and test the efficacy of a new intervention for university students at risk of attrition. Considering the promise of technology-based approaches with this population, I am very interested in pursuing an internet-based or technology-enhanced intervention.

Teaching Philosophy and Courses

My approach to teaching is one that has a foundation in the development of critical thinking skills and active learning. I often incorporate peer collaboration and a focus on research principles into my courses. I feel compelled to challenge students to take their learning to the next level and look forward to continuing individual mentoring.

The courses I typically teach include: Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, and Psychology of Addiction (graduate and undergraduate).

Although much of what students learn come from various courses they take, I strongly feel that engaging students in research is an extremely valuable way to educate them about the field of Psychology. For this reason, I often work with a number of students each semester outside of the classroom. I currently run a Motivation and Addiction Research Group with Dr. Michael Phillips and graduate/undergraduate students. Students in my lab are involved in all phases of research, including reviewing the research literature, developing study questions and hypotheses, operationalizing variables, choosing measures, running participants, analyzing data, and summarizing findings. Students often present data from my lab at a range of different conferences, such as APA. I feel that this type of experience is a culmination of many of the topics/skills our students have learned/developed while completing their degree and think it is a great way to help them apply their knowledge to a specific content-area.

Students interested in gaining research experience in the area of addiction or disease prevention should contact me by email.

Recent Grant Support and Submissions

Reduction of Medical Complications Associated With Injection Drug Use
R21 DA026773 (6/15/09 – 9/30/11)
Investigators: Kristina Phillips (PI), Michael Stein (Co-I), & Karen Corsi (Co-I)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) / NIH
$377,000

Preventing Bacterial and Viral Infections among Injection Drug Users
R01 DA034957 (07/1/13 – 06/30/18)
Investigators: Michael Stein (PI), Kristina Phillips (Co-I), & Jane Liebschutz (Co-I)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) / NIH
$2,319,525

Understanding the Dynamics of College Student Marijuana Use: A Study using EMA
Resubmitting in 2015
Investigators: Kristina Phillips (PI), Michael Phillips (PI), Trent Lalonde (Co-I), & Michael Stein (Co-I)
Submitted to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) / NIH

Latest Professional Activity – Journal Articles

  • Phillips, K.T., Phillips, M.M., Lalonde, T.L., & Tormohlen, K.N. (2015). Marijuana use, craving, and academic motivation and performance among college students: An in-the-moment study. Addictive Behaviors, 47, 42-47.
  • Phillips, M.M., Phillips, K.T., Lalonde, T.L., & Dykema, K.R. (2014). Feasibility of text messaging for ecological momentary assessment of marijuana use in college students. Psychological Assessment, 26(3), 947-957.
  • Phillips, K.T., Altman, J.K., Corsi, K.F., & Stein, M.D. (2013). Development of a risk reduction intervention to reduce bacterial and viral infections for injection drug users. Substance Use & Misuse, 48(1-2),54-64.
  • Phillips, K.T., Stein, M.D., Anderson, B.J., & Corsi, K.F. (2012). Skin and needle hygiene intervention for injection drug users: Results from a randomized, controlled Stage I pilot trial. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43, 313-321.
  • Phillips, K.T., & Stein, M.D. (2010). Risk practices associated with bacterial infections among injection drug users in Denver, CO. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 36, 92-97.
  • Phillips, K.T., Anderson, B.J., & Stein, M.D. (2008). Predictors of bacterial infections among HCV-negative injection drug users in Rhode Island. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 34, 203-210.

Curriculum Vitae