Lab Mission & Research Aims

The Violence Intervention for Survivors of Trauma and Abuse (VISTA) Lab is directed by Dr. David DiLillo, Willa Cather Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology at UNL. The mission of the VISTA lab is to conduct high quality research on trauma and violence that ultimately can be used to inform prevention, intervention, and treatment efforts.

Our research team investigates various aspects of trauma and violence on adults, including all types of childhood maltreatment, sexual assault, and intimate partner aggression.  We use scientifically rigorous, multi-method approaches to examine violence prevention and response, including alcohol administration, eye-tracking, biospecimen collection, and virtual reality paradigms. Our work is interdisciplinary and collaborative. Among other collaborators, our lab works closely with the Family Development Lab, OWL Lab, WISH Lab, and THRIVE Lab. Some recent topics of research include the following:

  • The causes and consequences of sexual victimization and intimate partner violence
  • Alcohol use as a predictor and outcome of interpersonal violence
  • Risk factors for the development of PTSD 
  • Use of virtual reality to assess sexual assault risk behaviors
  • The effect of bystander interventions on reducing sexual aggression
  • Examining sexual objectification as a risk factor for sexual assault perpetration and victimization
  • Role of social factors in posttraumatic recovery
  • The long-term impact of child maltreatment on adult functioning 
  • Alcohol use, emotion dysregulation, and intimate partner aggression
  • Acknowledgment and labeling of sexually harmful experiences
  • The effect of trauma disclosure processes and social reactions on posttraumatic recovery

Dr. DiLillo is planning to accept a graduate student for 2024 admission.


Follow us on Instagram at @unl_vista_lab  to hear more about our lab!


VISTA Lab Diversity Statement

The Violence Intervention for Survivors of Trauma and Abuse (VISTA) Lab is committed to the integration of personal, professional, and political power in the service of inclusion, diversity, equity, and anti-racism. When we invoke the word “political,” we refer specifically to the intentional reinfranchisement of individuals who have been systemically marginalized. We acknowledge that researchers and practitioners of psychological science have the potential to significantly impact oppressed communities through activities such as dissemination of research findings and trauma-informed resources, provision of clinical services, and establishment of norms within our discipline. We therefore strive to pursue projects that will bolster the health and safety of, and reduce harm among, populations most vulnerable to trauma, violence, and abuse. Our learning is ongoing, and we are working as a team to take an active stance against racism and discrimination. We take responsibility for examining these issues using the tangible and educational resources available to us, and encourage input and feedback from research participants, collaborators, peers, and members of our communities. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is something we should be doing differently.

In solidarity,