Clinical Focus

  • Clinical Psychology

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Scholar, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Professional Education

  • Fellowship: Stanford University Adult Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship (2022) CA
  • Predoctoral Clinical Internship, VA Palo Alto Health Care System (2021)
  • PhD, University of Pittsburgh, Clinical Psychology (2021)
  • BS, Virginia Tech, Psychology (2013)

Stanford Advisors

Research Interests

  • Psychology

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

I am interested in elucidating factors that contribute to initiation, maintenance, and exacerbation of substance use, and identifying approaches to mitigate risky use.

I additionally seek to use scholarly advocacy to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion within clinical and academic spaces.

All Publications

  • The Need for Age Restrictions on Sales of Nonalcoholic Beverages. JAMA pediatrics Bowdring, M. A., Prochaska, J. J. 2024

    View details for DOI 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2024.1883

    View details for PubMedID 38976251

  • Non-alcoholic beverage consumption among US adults who consume alcohol. Addiction (Abingdon, England) Bowdring, M. A., McCarthy, D. M., Fairbairn, C. E., Prochaska, J. J. 2024


    Non-alcoholic beverages (NABs) that mimic alcohol without inducing intoxication, such as non-alcoholic beers, non-alcoholic wines and spirit-free drinks, are increasing in popularity. It is unknown whether NABs help to mitigate or stimulate alcohol use. The present study aimed to describe NAB consumption practices among US adults consuming alcohol, characterize who is likely to consume NABs and examine whether NAB use influences desire for and perceived consumption of alcohol.The survey study used data collected June-July 2023 from an on-line convenience sample. The first survey (n = 1906) assessed frequency of NAB consumption among US adults who consume alcohol. A second more detailed survey on use patterns was conducted with 466 respondents who reported past-year NAB consumption, of whom 153 (32.83%) screened positive on the CAGE questionnaire for alcohol use disorder (AUD).This study took place in the United States.NAB consumption measures included type of NAB consumed, frequency, quantity, first consumption age, consumption reasons, consumption contexts and perceived effect on desire for and consumption of alcohol. Alcohol use measures included frequency, quantity and first consumption age.Past-year NAB use was endorsed by 28.44% of respondents (61.70% ever used). Non-alcoholic liquor/'mocktails' were the most common NAB type consumed (83.69%). Compared with respondents without AUD, those who screened positive for AUD were significantly more likely to consume NABs in an effort to decrease or abstain from drinking alcohol [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 3.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.24-5.58] and 67.97% endorsed less alcohol consumption (3.23% endorsed more) due to their NAB use. NAB consumption frequency and quantity were significantly positively predicted by alcohol consumption frequency (AOR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.17-1.83) and quantity (β = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.15-0.35), respectively.Adults who consume alcohol and screen positive for alcohol use disorder report drinking non-alcoholic beverages as a harm reduction strategy.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/add.16452

    View details for PubMedID 38403280

  • Kratom availability in California vape shops. Preventive medicine reports Bowdring, M. A., Leas, E. C., Vishwakarma, M., Schleicher, N. C., Prochaska, J. J., Henriksen, L. 2023; 35: 102380


    Kratom products are derived from trees native to Southeast Asia and have dose-dependent stimulant and opioid-like effects. Despite being on the Drug Enforcement Administration "Drugs and Chemicals of Concern List," kratom is legal for sale in most US states. However, there are scarce data on its availability. The goal of this study was to examine kratom availability in vape shops across the state of California and assess shop compliance with a local kratom sales ban (enacted in 2016) in San Diego City. As part of a larger study about retail tobacco marketing near colleges, availability of kratom was assessed in summer 2019 in a random sample of 614 vape shops that was stratified to compare stores near (≤ 3 miles) and distant (>3 miles) from colleges. Logistic regression examined kratom availability as a function of store type (stores that sold vape products only vs. stores selling other tobacco), nearness to college, and tract-level demographics. Kratom was available in 62.4% of observed stores and more often in vape-and-smoke (81.1%) than vape-only shops (11.5%, AOR = 40.4, 95% CI = 23.3-74.1). Kratom availability did not differ by nearness to colleges. In San Diego City, 46.2% of observed stores (95% CI = 28.8-64.5) sold kratom products. Findings indicate that kratom was available in the majority of vape shops and most commonly in vape-and-smoke shops. Widespread availability in tobacco specialty shops suggests the need for research on dual use with tobacco, kratom advertising and cross-product promotion, and the potential of state and local tobacco retail licensing to prohibit sales.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.pmedr.2023.102380

    View details for PubMedID 37680858

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10481347

  • Beer Googles or Liquid Courage? Alcohol, Attractiveness Perceptions, and Partner Selection Among Males. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs Bowdring, M. A., Sayette, M. A. 2023


    Perception of physical attractiveness (PPA) is a fundamental aspect of human relationships and may help explain alcohol's rewarding and harmful effects. Yet PPA is rarely studied in relation to alcohol, and existing approaches often rely on simple attractiveness ratings. The present study added an element of realism to the attractiveness assessment by asking participants to select four images of people they were led to believe might be paired with them in a subsequent study.Dyads of platonic, same-sex male friends [n=36; ages 21-27; predominately White (n=20)] attended two lab sessions, wherein they consumed alcohol and a no-alcohol control beverage (counterbalanced). Following beverage onset, participants rated PPA of targets using a Likert scale. They additionally selected four individuals from the PPA rating set to potentially interact with in a future study.Alcohol did not affect traditional PPA ratings but did significantly enhance the likelihood that participants would choose to interact with the most attractive targets [X 2 (1, N=36)=10.70, p<.01].While alcohol did not affect traditional PPA ratings, alcohol did increase the likelihood of choosing to interact with more attractive others. Future alcohol-PPA studies should include more realistic contexts and provide assessment of actual approach behaviors toward attractive targets, to further clarify the role of PPA in alcohol's hazardous and socially rewarding effects.

    View details for DOI 10.15288/jsad.22-00355

    View details for PubMedID 36971752

  • Criminogenic Needs and Legal Problem Severity Among Legal System Involved Veterans. Military medicine Bowdring, M. A., Macia, K. S., Shaffer, P. M., Smelson, D., Blonigen, D. M. 2023


    Many veterans seeking behavioral health services have history of criminal-legal involvement. Research on criminogenic needs of legal system involved veterans is burgeoning. However, most research has relied on cross-sectional examinations and the vast majority of prior work has focused assessment on just one criminogenic need per study.The present study evaluated seven key criminogenic needs of legal system involved veterans (N = 341) enrolled in one of three U.S. Veterans Health Administration residential behavioral health treatment programs. Criminogenic needs and legal problem severity were assessed at baseline, and at 6 months and 12 months post-baseline. Directionality of associations between participants' criminogenic needs and legal problem severity was examined using latent change score models.Results revealed having more antisocial associates at a previous timepoint was associated with greater subsequent improvements in legal problem severity ($\beta $=-0.01, P < 0.02) and greater improvements in legal problem severity predicted greater subsequent improvements in alcohol problem severity ($\beta $=0.13, P < 0.01).In one of the most comprehensive single-study assessments of criminogenic needs among a sample of legal system involved veterans, results highlight links between antisocial associates and alcohol problem severity with legal problem severity.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/milmed/usad472

    View details for PubMedID 38140960

  • COMBATING THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE: CLINICIAN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TALKING ABOUT RACISM-RELATED EVENTS WITH YOUTH OF COLOR Galan, C. A., Tung, I., Tabachnick, A. R., Sequeira, S. L., Novacek, D. M., Kahhale, I., Jamal-Orozco, N. P., Gonzalez, J., Bowdring, M. A., Boness, C. L. ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2023: S90-S91
  • Acceptability and Utility of a Smartphone App to Support Adolescent Mental Health (BeMe): Program Evaluation Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth Prochaska, J. J., Wang, Y., Bowdring, M. A., Chieng, A., Chaudhary, N. P., Ramo, D. E. 2023; 11: e47183


    Adolescents face unprecedented mental health challenges, and technology has the opportunity to facilitate access and support digitally connected generations. The combination of digital tools and live human connection may hold particular promise for resonating with and flexibly supporting young people's mental health.This study aimed to describe the BeMe app-based platform to support adolescents' mental health and well-being and to examine app engagement, usability, and satisfaction.Adolescents in the United States, aged 13 to 20 years, were recruited via the web and enrolled between September 1 and October 31, 2022. App engagement, feature use, clinical functioning, and satisfaction with BeMe were examined for 30 days. BeMe provides content based on cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, and positive psychology; interactive activities; live text-based coaching; links to clinical services; and crisis support tools (digital and live).The average age of the sample (N=13,421) was 15.04 (SD 1.7) years, and 56.72% (7612/13,421) identified with she/her pronouns. For the subsample that completed the in-app assessments, the mean scores indicated concern for depression (8-item Patient Health Questionnaire mean 15.68/20, SD 5.9; n=239), anxiety (7-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Questionnaire mean 13.37/17, SD 5.0; n=791), and poor well-being (World Health Organization-Five Well-being Index mean 30.15/100, SD 16.1; n=1923). Overall, the adolescents engaged with BeMe for an average of 2.38 (SD 2.7) days in 7.94 (SD 24.1) sessions and completed 11.26 (SD 19.8) activities. Most adolescents engaged with BeMe's content (12,270/13,421, 91.42%), mood ratings (13,094/13,421, 97.56%), and interactive skills (10,098/13,421, 75.24%), and almost one-fifth of the adolescents engaged with coaching (2539/13,421, 18.92%), clinical resources (2411/13,421, 17.96%), and crisis support resources (2499/13,421, 18.62%). Overall app engagement (total activities) was highest among female and gender-neutral adolescents compared with male adolescents (all P<.001) and was highest among younger adolescents (aged 13-14 years) compared with all other ages (all P<.001). Satisfaction ratings were generally high for content (eg, 158/176, 89.8% rated as helpful and 1044/1139, 91.66% improved coping self-efficacy), activities (5362/8468, 63.32% helpful and 4408/6072, 72.6% useful in coping with big feelings), and coaching (747/894, 83.6% helpful and 747/894, 83.6% improved coping self-efficacy). Engagement (total activities completed) predicted the likelihood of app satisfaction (P<.001).Many adolescents downloaded the BeMe app and completed multiple sessions and activities. Engagement with BeMe was higher among female and younger adolescents. Ratings of BeMe's content, activities, and coaching were very positive for cognitive precursors aimed at reducing depression and anxiety and improving well-being. The findings will inform future app development to promote more sustained engagement, and future evaluations will assess the effects of BeMe on changes in mental health outcomes.

    View details for DOI 10.2196/47183

    View details for PubMedID 37639293

  • Real Change or Performative Anti-Racism? Clinical Psychology Programs' Efforts to Recruit and Retain BIPOC Scholars. Journal of clinical child and adolescent psychology : the official journal for the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, American Psychological Association, Division 53 Galán, C. A., Bowdring, M. A., Tung, I., Sequeira, S. L., Call, C. C., Savell, S., Boness, C. L., Northrup, J. 2023: 1-16


    This study assessed perceptions of Clinical Psychology doctoral programs' efforts to recruit and retain faculty and graduate students of color, as well as differences in perceptions based on participants' position within their program (i.e. graduate student versus faculty) and race.Participants (n = 297; 35% people of color; 79% female; mean age: 32) were graduate students and faculty from Clinical Psychology doctoral programs who completed an anonymous online survey about their programs' efforts to recruit and retain graduate students and faculty of color; sense of belonging and perceptions of racial discrimination within programs; and experiences of cultural taxation and racism within programs.Faculty (n = 95) reported significantly greater perceptions of recruitment and retention efforts and fewer perceptions of racial discrimination than did graduate students (n = 202). Asian (n = 31), Black (n = 25), and Latinx (n = 35) participants reported significantly fewer perceptions of recruitment and retention efforts, less sense of belonging, and greater perceptions of racial discrimination than did White participants (n = 192). Cultural taxation was common among participants of color, and approximately half (47%) reported they have considered leaving academia - and approximately one third (31%) have considered leaving their program - due to experiences of racism in their program or field.Cultural taxation and racial discrimination were common among scholars of color in this sample. Whether intentional or not, these experiences contribute to racially-toxic environments and negatively impact the racial diversity of the mental health workforce.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/15374416.2023.2203930

    View details for PubMedID 37195881

  • Psychology's Contributions to Anti-Blackness in the United States Within Psychological Research, Criminal Justice, and Mental Health. Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science Auguste, E., Bowdring, M., Kasparek, S. W., McPhee, J., Tabachnick, A. R., Tung, I., Galán, C. A. 2023: 17456916221141374


    The mass incarceration of Black people in the United States is gaining attention as a public-health crisis with extreme mental-health implications. Although it is well documented that historical efforts to oppress and control Black people in the United States helped shape definitions of mental illness and crime, many psychologists are unaware of the ways the field has contributed to the conception and perpetuation of anti-Blackness and, consequently, the mass incarceration of Black people. In this article, we draw from existing theory and empirical evidence to demonstrate historical and contemporary examples of psychology's oppression of Black people through research and clinical practices and consider how this history directly contradicts the American Psychological Association's ethics code. First, we outline how anti-Blackness informed the history of psychological diagnoses and research. Next, we discuss how contemporary systems of forensic practice and police involvement in mental-health-crisis response maintain historical harm. Specific recommendations highlight strategies for interrupting the criminalization of Blackness and offer example steps psychologists can take to redefine psychology's relationship with justice. We conclude by calling on psychologists to recognize their unique power and responsibility to interrupt the criminalization and pathologizing of Blackness as researchers and mental-health providers.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/17456916221141374

    View details for PubMedID 36753574

  • Interactive associations between abstinence plans and romantic partner conflict and support with cigarette smoking Drug and Alcohol Dependence Bowdring, M. A., Loftus, P., Wang, S. D., Pang, R. D., Kirkpatrick, M. G. 2023
  • The effect of alcohol on mood among males drinking with a platonic friend ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH Bowdring, M. A., Sayette, M. A. 2021


    Despite the social nature of most drinking experiences, prior work has largely failed to incorporate social context into the study of alcohol's effects on emotion. The present study provides an initial test of the effect of alcohol on mood among platonic friends drinking together in a non-stress setting. We hypothesized that subjects would report more positive postdrink mood after consuming alcohol than after consuming a nonalcoholic control beverage.Dyads of platonic male friends (n = 36; 55.55% White, 38.88% Asian, 5.55% Black) attended two laboratory-based experimental sessions, wherein their drink conditions (alcohol vs. no alcohol control) were randomized by dyad and counter-balanced across sessions. They reported their mood before and after consuming their beverages together, using the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule and an 8-item mood measure.As hypothesized, alcohol enhanced positive mood ( β  = 0.26, p < 0.01). Although in the expected direction, the effect of alcohol on negative mood was not significant ( β  = -0.12, p = 0.17). Post hoc analyses revealed that alcohol yielded greater increases in both stimulation ( β = 0.26 , p = 0.00) and sedation ( β = 0.40 , p = 0.00) as compared to the control condition.This study highlights the positive mood-enhancing and broader subjective effects of alcohol when drinking with a platonic friend and encourages further consideration of friendship contexts in the examination of alcohol's effects when developing models of the etiology of alcohol use disorder.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/acer.14682

    View details for Web of Science ID 000686551800001

    View details for PubMedID 34342007

  • In the Eye of the Beholder: A Comprehensive Analysis of Stimulus Type, Perceiver, and Target in Physical Attractiveness Perceptions JOURNAL OF NONVERBAL BEHAVIOR Bowdring, M. A., Sayette, M. A., Girard, J. M., Woods, W. C. 2021; 45 (2): 241-259
  • Editorial: A Call to Action for an Antiracist Clinical Science JOURNAL OF CLINICAL CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHOLOGY Galan, C. A., Bekele, B., Boness, C., Bowdring, M., Call, C., Hails, K., McPhee, J., Mendes, S., Moses, J., Northrup, J., Rupert, P., Savell, S., Sequeira, S., Tervo-Clemmens, B., Tung, I., Vanwoerden, S., Womack, S., Yilmaz, B. 2021; 50 (1): 12-57
  • Pleasant olfactory cues can reduce cigarette craving. Journal of Abnormal Psychology Sayette, M. A., Marchetti, M. A., Herz, R. S., Martin, L. M., Bowdring, M. A. 2019; 128 (4)

    View details for DOI 10.1037/abn0000431

  • Using Placebo Beverages in Group Alcohol Studies ALCOHOLISM-CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH Bowdring, M. A., Sayette, M. A. 2018; 42 (12): 2442-2452


    Placebo beverage conditions remain a key element in the methodological toolkit for alcohol researchers interested in evaluating pharmacological and nonpharmacological factors influencing the effects of alcohol consumption. While interest in experimentally examining alcohol in social context is on the rise, there has been little research examining the effectiveness of placebo manipulations in group settings, when just 1 suspicious participant could potentially jeopardize the effect of the placebo on group members. Moreover, research has rarely considered the association between individual difference factors (e.g., gender) and placebo manipulation effectiveness. The present study, using an uncommonly large sample of placebo-consuming participants, was well suited to investigate fundamental questions regarding placebo efficacy that have not been assessed previously. Specifically, we aimed to examine placebo efficacy and general processes of placebo functioning in a group context. We also assessed potential associations between a variety of individual difference factors and placebo response.A total of 240 participants (50% male) consumed placebo beverages during a triadic drinking period (across 80 three-person groups). Participants reported their subjective intoxication, stimulation, and sedation 8 minutes following drink consumption and estimated the alcohol content of their drink at the end of the study.Participants consuming placebo beverages in groups were nearly universal in reporting that they had consumed alcohol (>99%) and had experienced an increase in feelings of intoxication [t(239) = 22.03, p < 0.001] and stimulation [t(239) = 5.53, p < 0.001], levels that were similar to those observed in prior studies conducted with participants drinking placebos in isolation. Further, participants' placebo responses were independent of their 2 group members and were largely unaffected by a variety of individual difference factors.Placebo response generally operated independently of group-member influences, suggesting that researchers can successfully conduct placebo beverage studies utilizing group drinking designs.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/acer.13895

    View details for Web of Science ID 000456922700016

    View details for PubMedID 30247751

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6286248

  • Perception of physical attractiveness when consuming and not consuming alcohol: a meta-analysis ADDICTION Bowdring, M. A., Sayette, M. A. 2018; 113 (9): 1585-1597


    Elucidating why people drink and why drinking can lead to negative psychosocial consequences remains a crucial task for alcohol researchers. Because drinking occurs typically in social settings, broader investigation of the associations between alcohol and social experience is needed to advance understanding of both the rewarding and hazardous effects of alcohol use. This review aimed to (a) estimate alcohol's relation to the perception of others' physical attractiveness and (b) suggest theoretical and methodological considerations that may advance the study of this topic.Systematic review of Scopus and PsycInfo databases was conducted to identify experimental and quasi-experimental studies, with either between- or within-subjects designs, that assessed attractiveness ratings provided by individuals who had and had not consumed alcohol (k = 16 studies, n = 1811). A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate alcohol's aggregate association with physical attractiveness perceptions. Separate a priori secondary analyses examined alcohol's associations with perception of opposite-sex (k = 12 studies) and same-sex (k = 7 studies) attractiveness.The primary analysis indicated that alcohol was related significantly to enhanced attractiveness perceptions [d = 0.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.05-0.32, P = 0.01; I2  = 5.28, 95% CI = 0.00-39.32]. Analysis of alcohol's association with perception of opposite-sex attractiveness similarly yielded a small, significant positive association (d = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.16-0.44, P < 0.01; I2  = 17.49, 95% CI = 0.00-57.75). Alcohol's relation to perception of same-sex attractiveness was not significant (d = 0.04, 95% CI = -0.18 to 0.26, P = 0.71; I2  = 54.08, 95% CI = 0.00-81.66).Experimental and quasi-experimental studies suggest that consuming alcohol may have a small effect of increasing perceived attractiveness of people of the opposite sex.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/add.14227

    View details for Web of Science ID 000440644200003

    View details for PubMedID 29660184

  • Predictors of At-Risk Intoxication in a University Field Setting: Social Anxiety, Demographics, and Intentions JOURNAL OF AMERICAN COLLEGE HEALTH Smith, R. C., Bowdring, M. A., Geller, E. 2015; 63 (2): 134-142


    The determinants of alcohol consumption among university students were investigated in a downtown field setting with blood alcohol content (BAC) as the dependent variable.In total, 521 participants completed a brief survey and had their BAC assessed during April 2013.Between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am, teams of researchers recruited passersby at 3 heavy-drinking locations near a university campus. Before the BAC assessment, participants completed a questionnaire regarding their drinking intentions, drinking group, and social anxiety.The average BAC of drinking students was 0.107 g/dL, which was 0.033 g/dL higher than their intended BAC. Males and members of a Greek-life organization consumed significantly more alcohol than their demographic counterparts. A significant positive curvilinear relationship was observed between social anxiety and BAC.University students achieve high levels of intoxication, often exceeding their intended BAC. Social anxiety may be an informative predictor of alcohol consumption in this setting.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/07448481.2014.990968

    View details for Web of Science ID 000349538500002

    View details for PubMedID 25437018