Steffany J. Fredman 

photo of Steffany Fredman

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Contact Information

205 Health and Human Development Building


(fax) 814-863-7963

Research Interests

My research focuses on the intersection between individual psychopathology (emphasis on posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders) and couple/family functioning. Broadly speaking, my work seeks to enhance understanding of the ways that intimate relationships affect, and are affected by, the presence of mental health problems in one member of a dyad or family system and how involving intimate others can improve individual and relationship outcomes for those with mental health difficulties and their loved ones.

With respect to couple-based interventions for individual psychopathology, I am the co-developer of Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for PTSD (CBCT for PTSD; Monson & Fredman, 2012), a couple-based therapy designed to simultaneously improve PTSD symptoms and enhance intimate relationship functioning. I am also interested in understanding well-intended but unhelpful behaviors that partners and other family members sometimes exhibit in response to living with a loved one with a mental health problem. One such set of behaviors is partner accommodation to PTSD symptoms (e.g., attempts to protect the trauma survivor from stress by taking over chores or responsibilities, not expressing one’s own thoughts and feelings due to fears of provoking PTSD-related anger or irritability, and/or engaging in couple-level avoidance of places or situations that are uncomfortable for the traumatized individual; Fredman, Vorstenbosch, Wagner, Macdonald, & Monson, 2014). We have found that partner accommodation to PTSD symptoms is associated with greater PTSD and depressive severity in patients and lower levels of patient and partner relationship satisfaction but is mitigated by CBCT for PTSD (Fredman et al., in press). Ongoing areas of research include partner accommodation and other relationship constructs in the context of PTSD, depression, and grief in both military and civilian samples and their associations with patient, partner, and child well-being.

My research also includes the study of relationship variables that facilitate or impede recovery following trauma exposure, and I am Co-Investigator on a DoD-funded grant to examine the longitudinal associations among PTSD symptoms, intimate relationship functioning, and suicidality among Army Soldiers (PI: E. Allen). In addition to conducting basic research on aspects of intimate relationships that are associated with natural recovery in PTSD symptoms after a trauma (e.g., satisfaction, communication), I am working to adapt elements of CBCT for PTSD that can be delivered in special contexts when trauma survivors and their loves one may be relatively more receptive to intervention. I am the Principal Investigator of a grant funded by the DoD and VA under the auspices of the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD to conduct an accelerated, multi-couple group version of CBCT for PTSD that can be delivered during a weekend retreat. I am also currently collaborating with colleagues from Penn State (HDFS, Psychology, Biobehavioral Health, Family and Youth Resiliency and Policy) to conduct both basic and intervention research on student service members/veterans with elevated PTSD symptoms who are partnered and couples in which one partner has PTSD symptoms and are expecting a child or have recently become parents.


1996--B.A., Psychology, Amherst College
2007--Pre-Doctoral Clinical Internship, Boston Consortium in Clinical Psychology
2007--Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2010--Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Women's Health Sciences Division, VA National Center for PTSD

Professional Experience

  • 2014-Present, Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, The Pennsylvania State University
  • 2010-2013, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Psychology, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • 2009-2010. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine


  • 2015-present Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award Renewal, National Institutes of Health
  • 2014-2015 Fran and Holly Soistman Faculty Endowment, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2012 Texas A&M NSF ADVANCE Center for Women Faculty Workshop Scholar
  • 2011-2012 Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award Renewal, National Institutes of Health
  • 2008-2010 Clinical Research Loan Repayment Award, National Institutes of Health
  • 2006 American Psychological Foundation Todd E. Husted Memorial Award
  • 2005 Martin S. Wallach Award, Outstanding Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2004-2006 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, National Institute of Mental Health
  • 2003 Anxiety Disorders Association of America Competitive Travel Award
  • 2002 Doctoral written exams passed with distinction
  • 2001-2002 John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship, Amherst College
  • 2000-2001 Amherst Memorial Fellowship, Amherst College
  • 1999-2000 John Woodruff Simpson Fellowship, Amherst College
  • 1996 Magna Cum Laude, Amherst College, Amherst, MA

Selected Publications

Fredman, S. J., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Macdonald, A., Wagner, A. C., Vorstenbosch, V., & Monson, C. M. (in press). Partner accommodation moderates treatment outcomes for couple therapy for PTSD. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. doi:10.1037/ccp0000061

Fredman, S. J., Baucom, D. H., Boeding, S., & Miklowitz, D. J. (2015). Relatives’ emotional involvement moderates the effects of family therapy for bipolar disorder. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 83, 81-91. doi:10.1037/a0037713

Fredman, S. J., Vorstenbosch, V., Wagner, A. C., Macdonald, A., & Monson, C. M. (2014). Partner accommodation in posttraumatic stress disorder: Initial testing of the Significant Others’ Response to Trauma Scale (SORTS). Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 372-381. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.04.001

Monson, C. M., Fredman, S. J., Macdonald, A. M., Pukay-Martin, N. D., Resick, P. A., & Schnurr, P. P. (2012). Effect of cognitive-behavioral couple therapy for PTSD: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 308, 700-709. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9307.

Monson, C. M., & Fredman, S. J. (2012). Cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for posttraumatic stress disorder: Harnessing the healing power of relationships. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Fredman, S. J., Monson, C. M., & Adair, K. C. (2011). Implementing cognitive-behavioral conjoint therapy for PTSD with the newest generation of veterans and their partners. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 18, 120-130.

Fredman, S. J., Monson, C. M., Schumm, J. A., Adair, K. C., Taft, C. T., & Resick, P. A. (2010). Associations among disaster exposure, intimate relationship adjustment, and PTSD symptoms: Can disaster exposure enhance a relationship? Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23, 446-451. doi: 10.1002/jts.20555

Fredman, S. J. (2010). Couple/family-based assessment strategies for individuals with psychological problems. In K. Hahlweg, M. Grawe-Gerber, & D. H. Baucom (Eds.). Enhancing couples: The shape of couple therapy to come. (pp. 185-198). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Monson, C. M., Taft, C. T., & Fredman, S. J. (2009). Military-related PTSD and intimate relationships: From description to theory-driven data and intervention development. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 707-714. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.09.002

Fredman, S. J., Baucom, D. H., Miklowitz, D. J., & Stanton, S. E. (2008). Observed emotional involvement and overinvolvement in families of patients with bipolar disorder. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 71-79. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.22.1.71

Curriculum Vitae

.pdf icon Steffany Fredman vitae

Center Affiliations

  • Prevention Research Center for the Promotion of Human Development

Strategic Themes

  • Domains of Health and Behavior
  • Contexts and Social Institutions