Willa Cather Professor & Chair of Psychology Psychology
Dr. DiLillo will be recruiting a graduate student to join his lab for fall 2023

Lab site: Trauma, Violence, and Abuse 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.

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

Brockdorf, A. N., Holland, K. J., Kumar, S. A., Jaffe, A. E., & DiLillo, D. (in press). Alcohol use before sexual violence and cognitive appraisals: Differential associations with barriers to help-seeking. Violence Against Women.

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.

Kumar, S. A., Brockdorf, A. N., Jaffe, A. E., Church, H. R., Messman, T. L., & DiLillo, D. (in press). Mindful awareness promotes resilience: Buffered links among childhood sexual abuse severity, goal-directed emotion dysregulation, and psychopathology. Mindfulness.

Kumar, S. A., Edwards, M. E., Grandgenett, H. M., Scherer, L. L., DiLillo, D., & Jaffe, A. E. (in press). Does gratitude promote resilience during a pandemic? An examination of mental health and positivity at the onset of COVID-19. Journal of Happiness Studies.

Kumar, S. A., Hein, C. L., DiLillo, D., & Pietrzak, R. H. (in press). 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.

Laifer, L. M., DiLillo, D., & Brock, R. L. (in press). Prenatal negative affectivity and trauma-related distress predict mindful parenting during toddler age: Examining parent–infant bonding as a mechanism. Development and Psychopathology.

Steel, A. E., Grandgenett, H. M., & DiLillo, D. (in press). 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.

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.

Steel, A. E., Grandgenett, H., 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.

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.

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.

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., 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.

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.


Licensed Clinical Psychologist - State of Nebraska #591