Melissa Zielinski, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry


Phone: (501) 526-8229
Twitter: @mjzielinski_phd

Clinical Experience

I am a clinical psychologist and psychological scientist, and directs the Behavioral, Relational, and Intervention Sciences Laboratory (BRISL) at UAMS. My program of research aims to inform the development, implementation, and dissemination of interventions for trauma-related sequelae among vulnerable and underserved populations. I am particularly interested in merging science with clinical practice and policy to improve health outcomes among people who are incarcerated or otherwise justice-involved. I also continue to study specific emotion-related processes that can inform understanding of trauma-related psychopathology and its treatment (e.g., emotion invalidation, emotion dysregulation, distress intolerance, and rejection sensitivity), with particular interests in processes related to PTSD and borderline personality disorder.

Research Experience

My research includes the study of the implementation and effectiveness of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) groups with people who are incarcerated and have comorbid PTSD and SUD. The project is being conducted in collaboration with two community corrections centers in Arkansas, and internal counselors will receive training required to deliver CPT.

The GUIDES study (Growing Understanding of Formerly Incarcerated Women’s Post-Release Decisions, Experiences, and Health Services) involves finding and following up with women who were formerly incarcerated approximately 3-5 years post-release. One goal of the study is to define women’s health care utilization and access after incarceration. A second goal is to compare the outcomes of women who did and did not receive therapy for trauma while incarcerated.

I am also studying the implementation of Survivors Healing from Abuse: Recovery through Exposure (SHARE), an exposure-based group treatment for women survivors of sexual violence who are incarcerated.

The Arkansas Crisis Stabilization Study is a longitudinal cohort study of 200 adults who have received services at the Pulaski County Regional Crisis Stabilization Unit. The study is following participants for a 12-month period to gain an in-depth understanding of outcomes following crisis services, including challenges/barriers to long-term recovery.

Recent Publications

Karlsson, M. E., Zielinski, M. J., & Bridges, A. J. (In press) Replicating outcomes of SHARE: A brief exposure-based treatment for incarcerated survivors of sexual violence. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy.

Karlsson, M. E., & Zielinski, M. J. (2019). Sexual victimization and mental illness among incarcerated women. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse [online first publication April 2018] doi: 10.1177/1524838018767933

Zielinski, M. J., & Veilleux, J. C. (2018). The Perceived Invalidation of Emotion Scale (PIES): Development and psychometric properties of a novel measure of current emotion invalidation. Psychological Assessment, 30(11), 1454-1467. doi: 10.1037/pas0000584

Zielinski, M. J., Hill, M. A., & Veilleux, J. C. (2018). Is the first cut really the deepest? Frequency and recency of nonsuicidal self-injury as predictors of psychopathology and dysregulation. Psychiatry Research, 259, 392-397. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2017.10.030

Roley-Roberts, M. E., Zielinski, M. J., Hurtado, G., Hovey, J. D., & Elhai, J. (2017). Functions of non-suicidal self-injury are differentially associated with suicide ideation and past attempts among childhood trauma survivors. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 47(4), 450-460. doi: 10.1111/sltb.12306

Zielinski, M. J., Karlsson, M. E., & Bridges, A. J. (2016). Adapting evidence-based trauma treatment for incarcerated women: A model for implementing exposure-based group therapy and considerations for practitioners. the Behavior Therapist, 39(6), 205-210.

Karlsson, M. E., Zielinski, M. J., & Bridges, A. J. (2015). Expanding research on a brief exposure-based group treatment with incarcerated women. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 54, 599-617. doi: 10.1080/10509674.2015.1088918

Zielinski, M. J., Borders, A., & Giancola, P. (2015). Does hostile rumination mediate the associations between child abuse, parenting characteristics, and borderline features in adulthood? Personality and Mental Health, 9, 288-297. doi: 10.1002/pmh.1306