Kirsten Langdon, PhD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research)


Advance-CTR Mentored Research Awards (2018)

"Novel Digital Health Intervention to Promote Engagement in and Adherence to Medication-Assisted Treatment"

The state of Rhode Island has been especially impacted by the opioid epidemic with rates of overdose rising by 90% from 2011 to 2016. Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) is associated with significant reductions in illicit opioid use. Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, is one pharmacological option for MOUD that is growing in popularity because of its more flexible administration through office-based programs. Despite its many advantages, nearly half of participants drop-out or discontinue treatment prematurely. Distress tolerance (DT), defined as the perceived or actual ability to handle aversive physical or emotional states, is a transdiagnostic vulnerability factor implicated in the development and maintenance of substance use disorders. Targeting DT during substance use treatment may improve outcomes by promoting the ability to persist in goal directed activity (e.g., recovery) even when experiencing physical or emotional distress. Personalized feedback interventions (PFI) represent a promising method to effectively motivate engagement in and adherence to buprenorphine treatment. These interventions are generally brief, individually tailored, and have the potential to be delivered via mobile platforms (e.g., computers, text message). Dr. Langdon’s long-term career goal is to conduct clinical translational research focused on the development and evaluation of novel digital health interventions to enhance engagement in and adherence to MOUD. Target areas for learning and professional development are directly linked to the specific aims of this research study, which include (1) the development and refinement of an interactive computer- and text message-delivered PFI, that incorporates DT skills training, for persons actively seeking outpatient MAT (PFIDT); and (2) pilot testing the efficacy of PFI-DT for increasing motivation, abstinence, adherence, and retention to treatment compared to a health education comparison condition.