PhD Student Rachel Barry Presents at Drug Dependence Conference

June 30, 2022
Rachel Barry CPDD Presentation II
Rachel Barry, a Palo Alto University student in the PhD in Clinical Psychology program, received a Travel Award for Early Career Investigators to attend the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD) annual meeting June 11-15 in Minneapolis, MN. 
“The conference in Minneapolis was a great experience,” Barry said. “It was interdisciplinary, so I was able to connect with people in all kinds of addiction careers, from neuroscientists and drug developers to epidemiologists and FDA employees.” 
At the conference, Barry presented a talk entitled, "Coping Style Moderates Relationship Between Impulsivity and Problematic Alcohol Use in Depressed and Anxious Individuals." Co-authors include Richa Wadekar, Persephone Crittenden, Leanne M. Williams, and Nancy A. Haug.
Barry elaborated: “We ran a moderation analysis on data collected by the PANlab at Stanford and examined the moderating effect of coping style on the relationship between problematic alcohol use and impulsivity. We looked at emotion-focused, problem-focused, and avoidant coping. Our results found that emotion-focused and avoidant coping were significant moderators. Specifically, the effect of impulsivity on alcohol use is stronger at higher levels of emotion-focused and avoidant coping”
This was Barry’s first time presenting at a conference. “It was very exciting to speak in front of so many intelligent people who are also passionate about substance use and then have people ask me questions about my work,” she said. “I also learned a lot from watching everyone else's presentations, especially because of how different everyone's career backgrounds were.”
The CPDD was founded in 1929 and “is the longest standing group in the United States addressing problems of drug dependence and abuse." It serves as “an interface among governmental, industrial and academic communities” which “advance the understanding of molecular-neurobiological aspects of addictive disorders.
Barry is interested in a career in substance abuse research. “I'd specifically like to explore psychedelic therapy as a potential treatment for alcohol/drug addiction, particularly from a neuropsychological perspective,” she said. “After PAU, I'd love to teach and do research in this area and provide neuropsychology assessments, clinically.