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Spotlight on Research and Scholarship

Spotlight on Research and Scholarship


Research Interest

Karen Rowa is a psychologist at the Anxiety Treatment and Research Clinic at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.  She is also the Training Director of the Clinical Psychology Residency Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, ON.  Dr. Rowa is active in education, clinical supervision, research, and clinical service focused on CBT for anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, and hoarding disorder. Her current research focuses on the impact of safety behaviours on performance and likeability in social anxiety disorder, as well as the development of psychological ownership of possessions in hoarding disorder. 

Dr. Rowa has published numerous peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and two books in the area of anxiety disorders, hoarding disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Current Projects

I have recently submitted a manuscript (under review) evaluating the outcome of a cognitive behavioural therapy program for problematic hoarding that I developed at the ATRC. This represented 7 years of providing CBT to over 70 individuals.  Results suggested our program led to improvements across almost all the outcome variables we studied.  [Rowa, K., Cameron, D., Soreni, N., LeMoult, J., & McCabe, R.E. (2018). Outcome of CBT for problematic hoarding in a naturalistic setting: Impact on symptoms and distress tolerance.  Manuscript under review, Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.]

I am currently working on a series of studies building on a 2015 publication [Rowa, K., Paulitzki, J.R., Ierullo, M.D., Chiang, B., Antony, M.M., McCabe, R.E., & Moscovitch, D. (2015). A false sense of security: Safety behaviors erode objective speech performance in individuals with social anxiety disorder.  Behavior Therapy, 46, 304-314] investigating the impact of safety behaviours on interpersonal connection for individual with social anxiety disorder.

Recent Publications

Soreni N, Cameron D, Vorstenbosch V, Duku E, Rowa K, Swinson R, Bullard C, McCabe R. Psychometric Evaluation of a Revised Scoring Approach for the Children’s Saving Inventory in a Canadian Sample of Youth With Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder. Child Psychiatry & Human Development. December 2018, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 966–973.

Gros, D. F., Merrifield, C. M., Rowa, K., Szafranski, D. D., Young, L., & McCabe, R. E. (2018). A naturalistic comparison of group Transdiagnostic Behavior Therapy (TBT) and disorder-specific cognitive behavioral therapy groups for the affective disorders. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy.

Waechter, S., Moscovitch, D., Vidovic, V., Bielak, T., Rowa, K., & McCabe, R.E. (2018).  Working memory capacity in social anxiety disorder: Revisiting prior conclusions.  Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 127, 276-281.

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