Willa Cather Professor & Chair of Psychology Psychology
Dr. DiLillo will be recruiting a graduate student to join his lab for fall 2024.

Lab site: VISTA Lab

David DiLillo is Willa Cather Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at UNL. His primary research interests are in the areas of trauma and interpersonal violence, especially sexual assault and intimate partner violence. He has a particular interest in the role of alcohol use as a cause and consequence of these experiences. His work also examines interventions for the prevention of sexual assault. Work in his lab has been funded continuously for the past 20 years by grants from NIMH, NICHD, and NIAAA. Recent projects conducted by his research team have focused on the use of virtual reality to assess bystander responses to sexual risk; associations between alcohol use, sexual objectification and sexual aggression; a motivational interviewing intervention to enhance bystander responses to sexual risk, and; factors that promote resilience to PTSD among survivors of sexual trauma. Dr. DiLillo also co-directs (with Dr. Anna Jaffe) the UNL Trauma Recovery Clinic. He has twice received the UNL Excellence in Graduate Education Award for his mentoring of graduate students. He received a BA in history from Rhodes College and a doctorate in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University.

Recent Publications

Brockdorf, A. N., Eagan, S. R., Zosky, J. E., Grandgenett, H. M., Gervais, S. J., & DiLillo, D. (in press). Associations between sexual objectification and bystander efficacy: The mediating role of barriers to bystander intervention. Violence and Victims. DOI: 10.1891/VV-2021-0168

Brockdorf, A. N., Gratz, K. L., Messman, T. L., & DiLillo, D. (2023). Trauma symptoms and deliberate self-harm among sexual violence survivors: Examining state emotion regulation and reactivity as dual mechanisms. Psychology of Violence, 13(1), 23–33.

Brockdorf, A. N., Holland, K. J., Kumar, S. A., Jaffe, A. E., & DiLillo, D. (2023). Alcohol use before sexual violence and cognitive appraisals: Differential associations with barriers to help-seeking. Violence Against Women, 29(5), 777-799 doi: 10.1177/10778012221097144.

DiLillo, D., Gervais, S. J., & McChargue, D., Eds. (2023). Alcohol and Sexual Violence. New York, NY: Springer.

Haws, J. K., Brockdorf, A. N., Gratz, K. L., Messman, T. L., Tull, M. T., & DiLillo, D. (in press). Examining the associations between PTSD symptoms and aspects of emotion dysregulation through network analysis. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 86, 102536.

Jaffe, A. E., Brockdorf, A. N., Messman, T. L. Gratz, K. L., & DiLillo, D. (2023). Is the Risk for Sexual Revictimization Cumulative? A Prospective Examination. Women’s Health Issues, 38(2), 208-214.

Laifer, L. M., O’Hara, M. W., DiLillo, D., & Brock, R. L. (2023). Risk for trauma-related distress following difficult childbirth: Trajectories of traumatic intrusions across 2 years postpartum. Archives of Women’s Mental Health. Advance online publication. 35, 1036-1050. DOI: 10.1017/S0954579421000894DOI: 10.1007/s00737-023-01296-2

Steel, A. L., Grandgenett, H. M., & DiLillo, D. (2023). Helping a friend: The impact of victim alcohol intoxication and perpetrator social status on bystander behaviors and responses to assault disclosure. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 15(6), 988–999. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0001180

Watkins, L. E., Patton, S., & DiLillo. D. (2023). A Laboratory Test of Alcohol-Related Intimate Partner Aggression: Expectancies Are Not to Blame. Substance Use and Misuse, 58(2), 1-7. DOI:10.1080/10826084.2023.2188422.

Brockdorf, A. N., Haws, J. K., Brock, R. L., Gratz, K. L., Messman, T. L., & DiLillo, D. (2022). Drinking to cope as a mechanism between sleep problems and heavy episodic drinking among trauma survivors. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 36(4), 387-396.

Eshelman, L. R., McConnell, A. A., Messman, T. L., Dykstra, R., DiLillo, D., & Gratz, K. L. (2022). The impact of probable PTSD on trait and state emotional responding among survivors of lifetime sexual violence. Psychology of Violence, 12(3), 127–136.

Franz, M. R., Kumar, S. A., Brock, R. L., Calvi, J. L., & DiLillo, D. (2022). Parenting behaviors of mothers with posttraumatic stress: The roles of cortisol reactivity and negative emotion. Journal of Family Psychology, 36(1), 130–139.

Kumar, S. A., Brockdorf, A. N., Jaffe, A. E., Church, H. R., Messman, T. L., & DiLillo, D. (2022). Mindful awareness promotes resilience: Buffered links among childhood sexual abuse severity, goal-directed emotion dysregulation, and psychopathology. Mindfulness, 13(4), 993–1006. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-022-01854-2

Kumar, S. A., Edwards, M. E., Grandgenett, H. M., Scherer, L. L., DiLillo, D., & Jaffe, A. E. (2022). Does gratitude promote resilience during a pandemic? An examination of mental health and positivity at the onset of COVID-19. Journal of Happiness Studies, 23, 3463–3483. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-022-00554-x

Kumar, S., Franz, M., DiLillo, D., & Brock, R. L. (2022). Promoting resilience to depression among couples during pregnancy: The protective functions of intimate relationship satisfaction and self-compassion. Family Process, 62, 387-405. doi: 10.1111/famp.12788

Kumar, S. A., Hein, C. L., DiLillo, D., & Pietrzak, R. H. (2022). Resilience to Suicidal Ideation among U.S. Military Veterans with Posttraumatic Stress: Results from the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. Military Behavioral Health, 10, 328-337, DOI: 10.1080/21635781.2021.2015019

Kumar, S. A., Brock, R. L., & DiLillo, D. (2022). Partner support and connection protect couples during pregnancy: A daily diary investigation. Journal of Marriage and Family, 84(2), 494– 514. https://doi-org.libproxy.unl.edu/10.1111/jomf.12798

Otto, E. A., Kumar, S. A., & DiLillo, D. (2022). Music’s impact on the sexualization of Black bodies: Examining links between hip-hop and sexualization of Black women. Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research, 27(2), 145-153.

Steel, A. E., Grandgenett, H. M, Brock, R. L., & DiLillo, D. (2022). Responding to disclosure of sexual assault: The potential impact of victimization history and rape myth acceptance. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 37(5-6) 2102–2125.

Watkins, L. E., Benedicto, R. C., Brockdorf, A., & DiLillo, D. (2022). Physical and sexual intimate partner aggression among college students: Examining the roles of cyber intimate partner aggression and alcohol use. Journal of Interpersonal Violence. 37, 387–403.

Franz, M. R., Brock, R. L., & DiLillo, D. (2020). Trauma symptoms contribute to daily experiential avoidance: Does partner support mitigate risk? Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 38, 322-341.

Jaffe, A. E., Cero, I., & DiLillo, D. (2021). The #MeToo movement and perceptions of sexual assault: College students’ recognition of sexual assault experiences over time. Psychology of Violence, 11(2), 209–218.

Jaffe, A. E., *Steel, A. L., DiLillo, D., Messman-Moore, T. L., & Gratz, K. L. (2021). Characterizing sexual violence in intimate relationships: An examination of blame attributions and rape acknowledgment. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(1-2), 469–490. https://doi.org/10.1177/0886260517726972

Jaffe, A. E., Kumar, S. A., Ramirez, J. J., & DiLillo, D. (2021). Is the COVID-19 pandemic a high-risk period for college student alcohol use? A comparison of three spring semesters. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 45, 854-863.

Kumar, S. A., Brock, R. L., & DiLillo, D. (2021). Partner support and connection protect couples during pregnancy: A daily diary investigation. Journal of Marriage and Family, 84(2), 494-514.  doi: 10.1111/jomf.12798

Kumar, S. A., Franz, M. R., Brock, R. L., & DiLillo, D. (2020). Posttraumatic stress and parenting behaviors: The mediating role of emotion regulation. Journal of Family Violence, 35, 117–426.

McConnell, A. A., Messman-Moore, T. L., Gratz, K. L., & DiLillo, D. (2020). Beyond the force-substance dichotomy: Examining the experience of combined and incapacitated type rapes and their relation to PTSD symptoms. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35, 5853-5876.  doi: 10.1177/0886260517724252


Licensed Clinical Psychologist - State of Nebraska #591