Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Sterling, Robert C

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Robert C. Sterling, PhD

Contact Dr. Sterling

900 Walnut Street
JHN 4th floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 790-9942
(215) 503-4358 fax

Research and Clinical Interests

Substance abuse, applied evaluation/outcomes research

The accumulated body of research supports the efficacy of the psychosocial treatment of addictive disorders. However individual differences in both history and severity of addiction suggests that a one-size fits all approach to substance abuse treatment will not maximize the likelihood of positive outcomes being obtained. Therefore a major focus of research activities in the Division of Substance Abuse Programs has been the identification of individual as well as program-level factors that promote patient retention in outpatient treatment.

To accomplish our research goals, we frequently make use of extensive assessment of personality and addiction severity as part of an attempt to both prospectively as well retrospectively match patients to psychosocial treatments. Clinical trial techniques are also frequently used to evaluate the efficacy of psychosocial as well as medication interventions. Applied data analytic techniques such as mixed model multi-factor ANOVA and multiple regression are commonly employed.

It is our hope that results from our research studies will guide practicing clinicians in the optimal assignment of individuals identified with an addictive disorder to treatment. Given the axiomatic finding that those who remain treatment evince better outcomes than those who do not, our ultimate goal is the successful identification of individual and program-level factors that maximize the likelihood of patient retention in outpatient substance abuse care.


Most Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. Alcohol and other drug use in older adults: results from a community needs assessment
  2. Alcohol-induced dysregulation of stress-related circuitry: The search for novel targets and implications for interventions across the sexes
  3. Amygdalar neuronal plasticity and the interactions of alcohol, sex, and stress
  4. Psychological and physiological stress negatively impacts early engagement and retention of opioid-dependent individuals on methadone maintenance
  5. Cannabinoid and opioid interactions: Implications for opiate dependence and withdrawal
  6. Impact of cannabis use during stabilization on methadone maintenance treatment
  7. Is exposure to an effective contingency management intervention associated with more positive provider beliefs?
  8. Using buprenorphine to treat opioid-dependent university students opportunities, successes, and challenges
  9. Cocaine withdrawal-induced anxiety in females: Impact of circulating estrogen and potential use of delta-opioid receptor agonists for treatment
  10. Erratum: The influence of intake urinalysis, psychopathology measures, and menstrual cycle phase on treatment outcome (The American Journal on Addictions 18: 2 (169))
  11. Contribution of limbic norepinephrine to cannabinoid-induced aversion
  12. The influence of intake urinalysis, psychopathology measures, and menstrual cycle phase on treatment compliance
  13. Cannabinoids and novelty investigation: Influence of age and duration of exposure
  14. Measuring recovery capital and determining its relationship to outcome in an alcohol dependent sample
  15. Low dose naltrexone administration in morphine dependent rats attenuates withdrawal-induced norepinephrine efflux in forebrain
  16. Effectiveness of Abstinence-Based Incentives: Interaction With Intake Stimulant Test Results
  17. A retrospective case control study of alcohol relapse and spiritual growth
  18. Inpatient desire to drink as a predictor of relapse to alcohol use following treatment
  19. Levels of spirituality and treatment outcome: A preliminary examination
  20. Clinician Knowledge in Methadone Maintenance Treatment Programs