Kurt H. Dermen, PhD

Kurt H. Dermen, PhD.

Senior Research Scientist

Clinical Psychology

Department of Psychiatry
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

Contact Information

1021 Main Street
Buffalo, NY  14203-1016
Phone: (716) 887-2492
Email: dermen@ria.buffalo.edu

Primary Research Areas

Motivational and behavioral interventions for substance abuse treatment, health risk reduction, and health promotion; alcohol's influence on risky sexual behavior and sexual aggression.

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Research Agenda

Dr. Dermen’s research agenda comprises two overarching goals. The first is to improve understanding of factors and processes that influence health-related behavior. In this area, his primary focus has been on testing theoretical models of health-related behavior, including alcohol and other drug use, risky sexual behavior and sexual aggression. Recent projects in this area have sought to identify factors, including substance use, that influence risky sexual behavior in adolescents and young adults and in women receiving treatment for substance use disorders, as well as to identify motivational factors and obstacles related to treatment seeking and HCV testing in patients admitted to a hospital emergency department for heroin overdose treatment or detoxification.

The second goal of his research program is to improve behavioral methods and technologies for health promotion, prevention and treatment. In this domain, his primary focus has been on developing, evaluating and disseminating motivational and behavioral interventions for treatment of substance use disorders and for health risk reduction and health promotion in substance-using populations. His efforts have involved testing methods to facilitate AA involvement in treatment for alcohol use disorders, identifying factors that affect dissemination of an empirically-supported treatment innovation, developing and piloting a brief motivational intervention to promote oral health in the context of inpatient treatment for alcohol use disorder, and testing the impact of a protocol for tailoring treatment for alcohol use disorder on the basis of clients’ pretreatment drinking trajectories. Most recently, he has worked on developing projects to pilot test a technology-assisted, primary care-based brief intervention for prescription opioid adherence for older adults with chronic non-malignant pain and to create a web-delivered, motivational interviewing-based intervention to promote oral health.

Areas of Expertise

  • Measurement of substance use outcome expectancies, including sex-related alcohol expectancies
  • Theory, measurement, and preventive interventions for addressing risky sexual behavior and HIV risk behavior
  • Motivational interviewing training, practice, and research, including its use in combination with skills-focused approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy and in brief preventive and health promotion interventions
  • Practice and research in the assessment and treatment of alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Oral health promotion