About Us : Faculty : Nicassio
Perry M. Nicassio, Ph.D.
Visiting Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA
Senior Research Scientist, Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute

Research Interests

Dr. Nicassio’s research has concentrated on the adjustment process in persons with chronic illness and the development and evaluation of behavioral interventions for persons with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, and sleep disturbance. Dr. Nicassio is the principal co-editor of the book, Managing Chronic Illness: A Biopsychosocial Approach, published by the American Psychological Association (1995). Much of his work has focused on the contribution of illness beliefs to depression and health outcomes in persons with autoimmune disorders such as RA and systemic lupus erythematosus. Dr. Nicassio’s past and present work in these areas has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Selected Current Research

Behavioral Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, AR049840
Principal Investigator

This research compares the efficacy of cognitive-behavior therapy, Tai Chi Chih, an alternative medicine strategy focusing on slow-moving meditation, and education control in persons with RA. The study will investigate the effects of these interventions on measures of disease activity, health functioning, psychosocial adjustment, and immune system parameters. This research will also determine whether reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokines mediate the effects of CBT and TCC on such indices as joint pain and joint swelling.

Stress and Adaptation in Rheumatoid Arthritis (SARA)
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, AR41687

This clinical trial compares the efficacy of cognitive-behavior therapy for depression, cognitive-behavior therapy for pain, and education control in RA. While previous research has demonstrated that behavioral interventions for pain have led to positive outcomes, this study addresses the key question of whether a behavioral intervention aimed at reducing mood disturbance will affect underlying inflammation, stress reactivity, and disease activity in RA. This research also examines the role of individual differences in stress reactivity in RA disease outcomes.

Selected Recent Publications

Nicassio, P.M., B.E. Meyerowitz, et al. (2004). “The future of health psychology interventions.” Health Psychol 23(2): 132-7.


Perry M. Nicassio, Ph.D.
Cousins Center for PNI
300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Rm. 3131
Box 957076
Los Angeles, CA. 90095-7076
Tel: 310-825-3141
Fax: 310-794-9247

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