Daniel Fulford, assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, received the American Psychological Foundation (APF) Visionary Grant in January 2021 for the project “Cardiovascular regulation through social contact: Examining the impact of loneliness on heart rate variability in schizophrenia.” This research is a collaboration between Fulford and former Sargent College postdoctoral associate Jasmine Mote, now an assistant professor in occupational therapy and psychology at Tufts University.
Fulford and Mote’s goal is to understand the mechanisms through which the experience of loneliness impacts poor cardiometabolic health outcomes in people with serious mental illness.
They will use the grant to measure heart rate variability using ambulatory monitoring and loneliness using ecological momentary assessment with smartphones in a group of patients with schizophrenia. They expect to see an association between momentary experiences of social disconnection (loneliness) and increased heart rate variability.
APF Visionary Grants seek to seed innovation through supporting research, education, and intervention projects and programs that use psychology to solve social problems in priority areas including applying psychology to vulnerable at-risk populations, preventing violence, and understanding and eliminating stigma and prejudice.