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Matt Southward

About Me:

Matt is a Research Assistant Professor working in collaboration with Dr. Shannon Sauer-Zavala's TIPS Lab. He received his PhD in 2019 from The Ohio State University working with Dr. Jen Cheavens, and completed his pre-doctoral internship at Duke University Medical Center. He is interested in using open science practices with translational behavioral research to better understand, optimize, and personalize the processes of change in therapy, specifically among those with mood, anxiety, and personality disorders. To this end, he has investigated facets of emotion regulation flexibility, the quality of participants’ emotion regulation skills, and the role of acceptance- and change-based skills on within- and between-person changes in CBTs broadly. His research has been supported by funding from the NIH and Ohio State. Matt also currently serves as the Web Editor for the Society of Clinical Psychology (APA Division 12) and is a member of UK Psychology's Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Team.

* Note for potential applicants: Matt is a non-tenure track research assistant professor so he is not admitting students. However, he works closely with Dr. Shannon Sauer-Zavala who does admit students.

Selected Publications:

Southward, M. W., Sauer-Zavala, S., & Cheavens, J. S. (2021). Specifying the mechanisms and targets of emotion regulation: A translational framework from affective science to psychological treatment. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice28(2), 168-182. PDF

Southward, M. W., Cheavens, J. S, & Coccaro, E. F. (2022). Defining the p-factor: An empircal test of five leading theories. Psychological Medicine. Advance online publication.  Preprint & open code:


Unified Protocol

Southward, M. W., & Sauer-Zavala, S. (2022). Dimensions of skill use in the Unified Protocol: Exploring unique effects on anxiety and depression. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology90(3), 246-257. Preprint & open code:

Dimensions of Skillfulness & Use Scale (DSUS) with scoring: PDF

Unified Protocol Skill Use Scale (UPSUS) with scoring: PDF

Southward, M. W., Terrill, D. R., & Sauer-Zavala, S. (2022). The effects of the Unified Protocol and Unified Protocol skills on loneliness in the COVID-19 pandemic. Depression & Anxiety, 39(12), 913-921. Preprint:

Sauer-Zavala, S., Southward, M. W., Stumpp, N. E., Semcho, S. A., Hood, C. O., Garlock, A., & Urs, A. (2022). A SMART approach to personalized care: How to select and sequence skills in transdiagnostic CBT. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 51(6), 435–455.  Preprint:

Cassiello-Robbins, C., Southward, M. W., Wilner Tirpak, J., & Sauer-Zavala, S. (2020). A systematic review of Unified Protocol applications: Facilitating widespread dissemination via adaptability. Clinical Psychology Review78, 101852.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Southward, M. W., Howard, K. P., & Cheavens, J. S. (2023). Less is more: Decreasing the frequency of maladaptive coping predicts improvements in DBT more consistently than increasing the frequency of adaptive coping. Behaviour Research & Therapy163, 104288. Preprint & open code:

Southward, M. W., Eberle, J. W., & Neacsiu, A. D. (2022). Multilevel associations of daily skill use and effectiveness with anxiety, depression, and stress in a transdiagnostic sample underoing dialectical behavior therapy skills training. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 51(2), 114-129. Preprint & open code:

Cheavens, J. S., Southward, M. W., Howard, K. P., Heiy, J. E., & Altenburger, E. M. (2023). Broad strokes or fine points: Are dialectical behavior therapy modules associated with general or domain-specific changes? Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, & Treatment14(2), 137-147. Open code:

BPD Compass

Sauer-Zavalla, S., Southward, M. W., Fruhbauerova, M., Semcho, S. A., Stumpp, N. E., Hood, C. O., Smith, M., Elhusseini, S., & Cravens, L. (in press). BPD Compass: A randomized controlled trial of a short-term, personality-based treatment for borderline personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, & Treatment. Preprint & open code:

Sauer-Zavala, S., Southward, M. W., Hood, C. O., Elhusseini, S., Fruhbauerova, M., Stumpp, N. E., & Semcho, S. A. (2021). Conceptual development and case data for a modular, personality-based treatment for borderline personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, & Treatment. Advance online publication. Preprint:

Emotion Regulation:

Southward, M. W., Holmes, A. C., Strunk, D. R., & Cheavens, J. S. (2022). More and better: Reappraisal quality partially explains the effect of reappraisal use on changes in positive and negative affect. Cognitive Therapy and Research46, 73-85. Preprint & open code:

Southward, M. W., & Cheavens, J. S. (2020). More (of the right strategies) is better: Disaggregating the naturalistic between- and within-person structure and effects of emotion regulation strategies. Cognition & Emotion34(8), 1729-1736. Preprint & open code:

Southward, M. W., Heiy, J. E., & Cheavens, J. S. (2019). Emotions as context: Do the naturalistic effects of emotion regulation strategies depend on the regulated emotion? Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology38(6), 451-474.

Southward, M. W., Altenburger, E. M., Moss, S. A., Cregg, D. R., & Cheavens, J. S. (2018). Flexible, yet firm: A model of healthy emotion regulation. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology37(4), 231-251.

Southward, M. W., & Cheavens, J. S. (2017). Assessing the relation between flexibility in emotional expression and symptoms of anxiety and depression: The roles of context sensitivity and feedback sensitivity. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology36(2), 142-157.

Borderline Personality Disorder:

Stumpp, N. E., Southward, M. W., & Sauer-Zavala, S. (2023). Do you see what I see? Researcher-participant agreement on single-item measures of emotion regulation behaviors in borderline personality disorder. Assessment30(1), 102–110. Open code:

Southward, M. W., Semcho, S. A., Stumpp, N. E., MacLean, D. L., & Sauer-Zavala, S. (2020). A day in the life of borderline personality disorder: A preliminary analysis of within-day emotion generation and regulation. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment42(4), 702-713. Preprint & open code:

Southward, M. W., & Cheavens, J. S. (2020). Quality or quantity? A multistudy analysis of emotion regulation skills deficits associated with borderline personality disorder. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, & Treatment11(1), 24-35. PDF

Southward, M. W., & Cheavens, J. S. (2018). Identifying core deficits in a dimensional model of borderline personality disorder features: A network analysis. Clinical Psychological Science6(5), 685-703. Preprint & open code:

Lazarus, S. A., Southward, M. W., & Cheavens, J. S. (2016). Do borderline personality disorder features and rejection sensitivity predict social network outcomes over time? Personality and Individual Differences100, 62-67.