Afton Hassett is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of Colorado State University and received her doctorate from Alliant International University in San Diego, CA in 2000. From 2002-2005, she was a Continuing Education student in Neuroscience at Princeton University – an opportunity afforded her by a K08 award from the National Institute of Mental Health. From 2000-2010 she was on faculty in at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the Division of Rheumatology where she conducted research aimed at exploring impact of cognitive and affective factors in chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Post Lyme Disease Syndrome. Since joining the Chronic Pain & Fatigue Research Center in the spring of 2010, her research has increasingly focused on chronic spine pain and the role of resilience in the functional and neurobiological outcomes of individuals with pain. Please see her recent publications(link is external).
Areas of Interest
- Exploring the relationship between centralized pain states and psychosocial factors in terms of pathophysiology and clinical implications.
- Evaluating in such chronic pain conditions the role of psychological risk and protective factors in the manifestation and mediation of symptoms. Particular focus is on resilience factors such as positive affect and its relationship to pain.
- Developing and testing innovative adjunctive treatments for decreasing risk factors, enhancing protective factors. Such interventions target patient self-management and building resilience (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy delivered using e-Health, “Prehabilitation” interventions for surgical patient populations and positive affect enhancing strategies such as The Positive Piggy Bank).
- Conducting outcomes measure development research focusing on creating tools for phenotyping centralized pain and the evaluation of resilience and quality of life.