Opioid use disorder has reached an epidemic level in the United States, and reactivity to stress is a robust predictor of relapse in this population. This project aims to test the impact of behavioral interventions to reduce stress reactivity in adults with opioid use disorder. The results of this study have the potential to inform the development of novel treatment strategies for improving outcomes for those with opioid use disorder. Critically, because of the relevance of stress reactivity across an array of psychiatric disorders (alcohol use disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder), these findings may also have implications for behavior change for other mental health conditions.

Rebecca Kathryn McHugh, PhD

Principal Investigator


McLean Hospital

Substance Use Disorders Division; Department of Psychiatry

Belmont, MA

Dr. McHugh is an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Psychologist in the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse at McLean Hospital. She engages in a program of clinical and translational research focusing on the nature and treatment of anxiety and substance use disorders. She is particularly interested in the study of affective vulnerability factors, such as distress intolerance and stress reactivity, that are common across psychological disorders, with a focus on those that can be modified with treatment. Additionally, Dr. McHugh conducts research on the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments, with a particular focus on behavioral therapies. She has published more than 100 manuscripts and book chapters as well as an edited book published by Oxford University Press. Dr. McHugh is a recipient of a number of awards, including the David Shakow Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Clinical Psychology and the Theodore Blau Early Career Award for Outstanding Contribution to Professional Clinical Psychology.Her current research is funded by grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She serves on several journal editorial boards and is an Associate Editor of Behavior Therapy. Dr. McHugh is also a practicing psychologist and specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.

Will Aklin, PhD


Program Official