Student Research Spotlight: Nicole Fleischer (PsyD ’21)
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Student Research Spotlight 
Nicole Fleischer (PsyD ’21)

April 8, 2020

Nicole Fleischer (PsyD '21) poses with her research poster at PCOM's Research Day 2019 eventNicole Fleischer's (PsyD '21) psychology research projects focus on understanding stress and anxiety in children.

Nicole Fleischer’s (PsyD ’21) has had a comprehensive research journey throughout both her undergraduate and graduate education. In her undergraduate education, Ms. Fleisher began conducting research in the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and interpersonal violence research lab. In her graduate education she focused her research on mindfulness in children with anxiety. Now in her doctoral research, Ms. Fleischer has focused her research on psychosocial stressors in children.

Headshot photograph of Nicole Fleischer (PsyD '21)What are you studying?

My PCOM dissertation is on the clinical presentation and response to treatment of children and adolescents with both asthma and anxiety disorders. My goal was to examine how children who had both asthma and anxiety may differ from other anxious children in regards to their specific types of anxiety (e.g., panic, social anxiety, etc.), how their symptoms present, what thoughts may come up regarding asthma and anxiety, and whether their parents have anxiety, too. I also looked at whether children with asthma and anxiety respond to traditional cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders.

What prompted you to pursue research?

I’ve always had questions about human behavior and psychopathology. Sometimes science has these answers, and sometimes the answers just created more questions. I felt like engaging in research could help me understand more and contribute to the knowledge of psychology and behavioral health.

What experience do you have conducting research?

I have been engaged in research since 2008, where I started at the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and interpersonal violence lab at Pennsylvania State University. My role included data entry and routine study procedures. I continued to conduct research as I completed my masters, writing a detailed literature review on mindfulness-based interventions and childhood anxiety. At PCOM, I was engaged in research through Temple University’s Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders Clinic, where I accessed the data for my dissertation.

Additionally, I worked with Susan Panichelli Mindel, PhD, director of research, clinical psychology, on conducting research on anxiety disorder groups at a local charter school. Through this project, I have been able to implement new protocols and present those findings at local and national conferences.

In my internship, I am completing a research study on adverse childhood experiences and healthcare usage among children with asthma and childhood obesity. As I move on to post-doc, I plan to continue research on adverse childhood experiences and their relationship with medical adherence in youth with Type-1 Diabetes.

What are your responsibilities on the research project?

I was involved in developing the research questions and building the argument for examining my research questions. My advisors were very helpful in developing specific research questions to address what I was trying to examine. I also organized and analyzed the data, with the help of Michael Roberts, PsyD, director, institutional research.

What is the broader impact of your research?

My dissertation can help inform treatment for children and adolescents who may also have a medical condition in addition to their anxiety disorder. My study was also one of the first to examine psychotropic medications for treatment in youth with asthma and anxiety together, which can help inform psychiatric treatment of anxiety and asthma.

Ms. Fleischer received her bachelor of science in psychology from Pennsylvania State University and her master of science in psychology from Chestnut Hill College.

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