David S. Riggs, Ph.D.

David S. Riggs, Ph.D.

David S. Riggs

Name: David S. Riggs, Ph.D.

Department of Primary Appointment: Medical & Clinical Psychology
Position: Department Chair
Title: Chair

Email: david.riggs@usuhs.edu (link sends e-mail)
Office Phone: (301) 816-4750

Department Website



Professor of Medical & Clinical Psychology,

Executive Director, Center for Deployment Psychology

Education: B.A. (1984) in Psychology, University of Kansas; Ph.D. (1990) in Clinical Psychology, State University of New York at Stony Brook


Research and Teaching

Research Topics: Impact of deployments, deployment stress and PTSD on family functioning; Treatment of combat-related PTSD.
Methods and Approach: Field studies with human participants; psychotherapy trials; clinical interviews, observational coding, and psychometric instruments.

Current Grant Support: USUHS; Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

Medical Student Teaching: Lectures on Provider Burn-Out and Self-Care, PTSD, mild Traumatic Brain Injury and Pain.

Graduate Student Teaching: Psychopathology (Lecture on PTSD); Seminar in Evidence-Based Treatment of PTSD (team taught with staff of the Center for Deployment Psychology).

Additional Teaching: At the Center for Deployment Psychology Dr. Riggs oversees and participates in the development and delivery of training workshops to teach military and civilian behavioral health professionals as to treat PTSD and other trauma-related distress as well as to prepare them to better care for the deployment-related needs Service Members and their families. Dr. Riggs presents between 25 and 40 lectures and workshops per year as part of the Center for Deployment Psychology.

Mentoring: Dr. Riggs supervises Clinical Psychology graduate students in research; he currently supervises 4 Ph.D. students.


Selected Recent Publications

Riggs, D. S., Cahill, S. P., & Foa, E. B. (2006). Exposure treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder. Chapter in V. Follette & J Ruzek (Eds), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies for Trauma. New York: Guilford.

Riggs, D. S., & Foa, E. B. (2006). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Chapter in F. Andrasik (Ed.) Comprehensive Handbook of Personality and Psychopathology, Volume 2. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Riggs, D. S., & Keane, T. M. (2006). Assessment Strategies in the Anxiety Disorders. Chapter in B. Rothbaum (Ed.) Pathological anxiety: Emotional processing in etiology and treatment. New York: Guilford.

Riggs, D.S., & Foa, E. B. (2007). Treatment for comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. Chapter to appear in S. Stewart and P. Conrod (Eds.), Comorbid anxiety and substance use disorders: Theoretical and treatment issues. New York: Springer.

Riggs, D.S., & Foa, E. B. (2007). Treating contamination concerns and compulsive washing. Chapter in M. M. Antony, C. Purdon, & L. Summerfeldt (Eds.), Psychological treatment of OCD: Fundamentals and beyond. Washington, D. C.: American Psychological Association Press.

Taft, C. T., Street, A. E., Marshall, A. D., Dowdall, D. J., & Riggs, D. S. (2007). Posttraumatic stress disorder, anger and partner abuse among Vietnam combat veterans. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 270-277.

Riggs, D. S., Monson, C., Glynn, S., & Canterino, J. (2008). Couples and family therapy. Chapter in E. B. Foa, T. M. Keane, M. J. Friedman, and J. Cohen (Eds.). Effective treatments for PTSD, 2nd Edition: Practice guidelines from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. New York: Guilford.

Riggs, D. S., Caulfield, M. B., & Fair, K. (2009) Risk of intimate partner violence: Factors associated with perpetration and victimization. Chapter in P. M. Kleespies (Ed.) Behavioral emergencies: An evidence-based resource for evaluating and managing risk of suicide, violence, and victimization. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Riggs, D. S., & Foa, E.B. (2009). Psychological treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder. Chapter in M. M. Antony and M. B. Stein (Eds.) Oxford handbook of anxiety and related disorders. New York: Oxford.

Riggs, S. A., & Riggs, D. S. (2011). Risk and resilience in military families experiencing deployment: The role of the family attachment network. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 675-687.

Riggs, D.S., & Sermanian, D. (2012). Prevention and care of combat-related PTSD: Direction for Future Explorations. Military Medicine, 177 suppl., 14-20.

Reger, G. M., Hoffman, J., Riggs, D., Rothbaum, B. O., Ruzek, J., Holloway, K. M., & Kuhn, E. R. (2013). The "PE Coach" Smartphone Application: An innovative approach to improving implementation, fidelity, and homework adherence during prolonged exposure. Psychological Services, 10, 342-349.

Foa, E. B., Yusko, D. A., McLean, C. P., Suvak, M. K., Bux, D. A., Oslin, D., O’Brien, C. P., Imms, P., Riggs, D. S., & Volpicelli, J. (2013). Concurrent Naltrexone and Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Patients with comorbid alcohol dependence and PTSD: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 310, 488-495.

Borah, E. V., Wright, E. C., Donahue, D. A., Cedillos, E. M., Riggs, D. S., Isler, W. C. & Peterson, A. L. (2013). Implementation Outcomes of Military Provider Training in Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Military Medicine, 178, 939-944.

Riggs, D. S. (2014). Traumatized relationships: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, fear of intimacy and marital adjustment in dual trauma couples. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 6, 201-206.

Jayawickreme, N., Cahill, S. P., Riggs, D. S., Rauch, S. A. M., Resick, P. A., Rothbaum, B. O. & Foa, E. B. (2014). Primum non nocere (first do no harm): Symptom worsening and improvement in female assault victims after prolonged exposure for PTSD. Depression and Anxiety, 3, 412-419.


Professional Activities

Selected Professional Activities: Dr. Riggs is a member of the America Psychological Association, the Association of Behavior and Cognitive Therapies, and the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. He served as a member of PTSD Treatment Guidelines Committee for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and as Chair of the Marital and Family Therapy subcommittee; Dr. Riggs also served as a member of the American Psychological Association Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Military Deployment Services for Youth, Families and Service Members.

Editorial Activities and Professional Committees: Dr. Riggs is on the Editorial Board of Journal of Interpersonal Violence as well as Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment and Trauma. He is also ad hoc reviewer for Journal of Abnormal Psychology; Behavior Therapy; Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology; Journal of Traumatic Stress; Clinical Psychology Review; Behavior Modification; Personal Relationships; Cognitive Therapy and Research; Violence and Victims. Dr. Riggs is an ad hoc review for the National Institutes of Health: Center for Scientific Review.