Dr. Erin Cassidy-Eagle specializes in the treatment of mental health disorders in adults and older adults. She has practiced as a Clinical Psychologist for more than 20 years. Dr. Cassidy-Eagle has a special interest in sleep, cognition and mental health of older adults.

Clinical Focus

  • Clinical Psychology

Academic Appointments

  • Clinical Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Professional Education

  • PhD Training: University of Massachusetts (1997) MA
  • Board Certification: American Board of Sleep Medicine, Psychology
  • Fellowship: Stanford Univ Hosp - Psychiatry (1999) CA
  • Internship: Palo Alto VA Healthcare System (1997) CA
  • Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Clinical Psychology (1997)

2023-24 Courses

All Publications

  • Symptoms and survivorship needs differences between “good sleepers” and “bad sleepers” in survivors of breast and gynecologic cancers Sleep Medicine Palesh, O., Tolby, L. T., Hofmeister, E., Fisher, S., Solomon, N. L., Sackeyfio, S., Berek, J. S., Kurian, A. W., Cassidy-Eagle, E., Schapira, L. 2022
  • Working With Depressed Caregivers: Behavioral Activation "I Can't Find the Energy or Time to Leave the House" PRACTICAL STRATEGIES IN GERIATRIC MENTAL HEALTH: CASES AND APPROACHES Bilbrey, A., Cassidy-Eagle, E. L., Gallagher-Thompson, D., Dunn, L. B., CassidyEagle, E. L. 2020: 31–41
  • Pilot Study of a Novel Approach Management of Sleep Associated Problems in Breast Cancer Patients (MOSAIC) During Chemotherapy. Sleep Palesh, O. n., Solomon, N. n., Hofmeister, E. n., Jo, B. n., Shen, H. n., Cassidy-Eagle, E. n., Innominato, P. F., Mustian, K. n., Kesler, S. n. 2020


    This pilot RCT was conducted to assess the preliminary effects of Brief Behavioral Therapy for Cancer-Related Insomnia (BBT-CI) delivered by trained research staff in comparison to a sleep hygiene pamphlet control, and to assess moderators of treatment effect in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.Of 74 participants recruited, 37 were randomized to BBT-CI and 37 were randomized to the control condition. Trained staff members delivered the intervention during chemotherapy treatments to reduce burden on the patients. Insomnia was assessed with the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI), anxiety was assessed with the Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), symptom burden was assessed with the Symptom Inventory (SI), and study staff recorded previous treatments and surgeries received by patients.Patients randomized to BBT-CI showed significantly greater improvements in their ISI scores than the sleep hygiene group. Additionally, several treatment moderators were identified. The effect of BBT-CI was greater among individuals with lower baseline state-trait anxiety, with previous surgery for cancer, and with higher baseline somatic symptom severity.BBT-CI shows preliminary efficacy compared to the sleep hygiene handout on insomnia in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. A large phase III RCT needs to be conducted to replicate the preliminary findings.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/sleep/zsaa070

    View details for PubMedID 32274500

  • Evaluation and Management of Insomnia "My Sleeping Pill Isn't Working Anymore" PRACTICAL STRATEGIES IN GERIATRIC MENTAL HEALTH: CASES AND APPROACHES Cassidy-Eagle, E. L., Dunn, L. B., Palesh, O., Dunn, L. B., CassidyEagle, E. L. 2020: 145–63
  • Neuropsychological Testing "I Sometimes Forget Things" PRACTICAL STRATEGIES IN GERIATRIC MENTAL HEALTH: CASES AND APPROACHES Wroolie, T. E., Cassidy-Eagle, E. L., Dunn, L. B., Dunn, L. B., CassidyEagle, E. L. 2020: 251–64
  • Behavioral Activation Therapy for Older Adults with Depression: A Systematic Review of Effectiveness Predescu, I., Tran, D., Cassidy-Eagle, E., Dunn, L. ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2018: S132
  • Neuropsychological Functioning in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Insomnia Randomized to CBT-I or Control Group CLINICAL GERONTOLOGIST Cassidy-Eagle, E., Siebern, A., Unti, L., Glassman, J., O'Hara, R. 2018; 41 (2): 136–44


    Improving the sleep of older adults with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) represents a first step in discovering whether interventions directed at modifying this risk factor also have the potential to alter the cognitive decline trajectory.A six-session, adapted version of a cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) was administered to older adults (N = 28; 14 per group) with MCI across two residential facilities. Participants were randomly assigned to either the sleep intervention or an active control group and completed a neuropsychological battery at three time points (e.g., baseline-T1, post-intervention-T2, 4 month follow-up-T3).Results showed a significant improvement in sleep and a change (p < .05) on a key measure of executive functioning sub task of inhibition (Condition 3 of D-KEF Color-Word Interference Test), a positive trend on the inhibition-switching task (p < .10; Condition 4 of D-KEF Color-Word Interference Test), an no change in a measure of verbal memory (HVLT-R Delayed Recall) compared with the active control group.CBT-I is a nonpharmacological intervention that has the potential to cognitively benefit individuals with MCI suffering from comorbid insomnia.Results suggest that a non-pharmacological intervention to improve sleep in older adults with MCI also improve cognitive functioning. Further exploration of the mechanisms underlying these improvements is warranted.

    View details for PubMedID 29220627

  • Association of Anxiety Symptom Clusters with Sleep Quality and Daytime Sleepiness. journals of gerontology. Series B, Psychological sciences and social sciences Gould, C. E., Spira, A. P., Liou-Johnson, V., Cassidy-Eagle, E., Kawai, M., Mashal, N., O'Hara, R., Beaudreau, S. A. 2017


    To better understand links between anxiety and sleep disturbances in older adults, we examined the association of different phenotypic presentations of anxiety (i.e., affective, cognitive, and somatic clusters) with global sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.109 community-dwelling adults aged 66-92 years old (57% female) completed assessments of global sleep quality (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), daytime sleepiness (Epworth Sleepiness Scale), affective anxiety symptoms (Geriatric Anxiety Scale (GAS) affective subscale), cognitive anxiety symptoms (GAS cognitive subscale), and somatic anxiety symptoms (GAS somatic subscale).In hierarchical regression models adjusted for depressive symptoms and health status, greater affective and somatic anxiety were associated with poorer global sleep quality (affective B = 0.30, p = .01; somatic B = 0.41, p = .01). Somatic and cognitive anxiety were associated with greater daytime sleepiness (somatic B = 0.74, p < .001; cognitive B = 0.30, p = .03), but these associations were attenuated by covariates added to the models.These findings indicate that anxiety symptom clusters are differentially associated with specific sleep-related disturbances, underscoring the complex relationship of late-life anxiety to sleep. Results suggest that personalized treatments, such as targeted sleep interventions, may improve specific anxiety-symptom domains, or vice versa.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/geronb/gbx020

    View details for PubMedID 28379498

  • Increasing the Ranks of Academic Researchers in Mental Health: A Multisite Approach to Postdoctoral Fellowship Training ACADEMIC MEDICINE O'Hara, R., Cassidy-Eagle, E. L., Beaudreau, S. A., Eyler, L. T., Gray, H. L., Giese-Davis, J., Hubbard, J., Yesavage, J. A. 2010; 85 (1): 41-47


    This report highlights the use of multisite training for psychiatry and psychology postdoctoral fellows developing careers in academic clinical research in the field of mental health. The objective is to describe a model of training for young investigators to establish independent academic clinical research careers, including (1) program structure and eligibility, (2) program goals and development of a multisite curriculum, (3) use of technology for implementing the program across multiple sites, and (4) advantages and challenges of this multisite approach. In 2000, in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs (VA) Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers (MIRECCs), the VA Office of Academic Affiliations launched the Special Fellowship Program in Advanced Psychiatry and Psychology. Each of the 10 currently participating VA sites across the United States is affiliated with a MIRECC and an academic medical institution. In the first five years of this fellowship program, 83 fellows (34 psychiatrists and 49 psychologists) have participated. The success of this multisite approach is evidenced by the 58 fellows who have already graduated from the program: 70% have entered academic clinical research positions, and over 25 have obtained independent extramural grant support from the VA or the National Institutes of Health. Multisite training results in a greater transfer of knowledge and capitalizes on the nationwide availability of experts, creating unique networking and learning opportunities for trainees. The VA's multisite fellowship program plays a valuable role in preparing substantial numbers of psychiatry and psychology trainees for a range of academic clinical research and leadership positions in the field of mental health.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181c47c51

    View details for Web of Science ID 000276131300015

    View details for PubMedID 20042819

  • Effective use of consent forms and interactive questions in the consent process. IRB Palmer, B. W., Cassidy, E. L., Dunn, L. B., Spira, A. P., Sheikh, J. I. 2008; 30 (2): 8-12

    View details for PubMedID 18512654

  • Assessment of trauma exposure and post-traumatic stress in long-term care veterans: Preliminary data on psychometrics and post-traumatic stress disorder prevalence MILITARY MEDICINE Cook, J. M., Elhai, J. D., Cassidy, E. L., Ruzek, J. I., Ram, G. D., Sheikh, J. I. 2005; 170 (10): 862-866


    This article reports preliminary data on trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) prevalence, as well as test psychometrics, among 35 cognitively intact veterans residing in long-term care settings. Participants received a traumatic event screening, the Mini-Mental Status Examination, Combat Exposure Scale (CES), PTSD Checklist (PCL), and Mississippi Combat PTSD Scale (M-PTSD). Results demonstrated adequate reliability for the CES, PCL, and M-PTSD for use in these settings, with several significant intercorrelations. A high prevalence of trauma exposure was found, in particular combat. Based on the PCL and M-PTSD, although most veterans did not meet full PTSD diagnostic criteria, a moderate proportion met partial criteria. The need for assessment and treatment of trauma exposure and PTSD in Veterans Affairs long-term care settings is emphasized.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000235831900011

    View details for PubMedID 16435760

  • Underreporting of behavioral problems in older hospitalized patients GERONTOLOGIST Davies, H. D., O'Hara, R., Mumenthaler, M. S., Cassidy, E. L., Buffum, M., Kim, J. M., Danielsen, C. E., Noda, A., Kraemer, H. C., Sheikh, J. I. 2005; 45 (4): 535-538


    This descriptive study examined reports of behavioral problems among older patients hospitalized in acute care medical settings. Greater numbers of behavioral problems were reported by nursing staff on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire than were documented in medical charts over the same time period. Such underreporting may have clinical and administrative implications.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000230872100012

    View details for PubMedID 16051916

  • Mixed anxiety and depression in older adults: Clinical characteristics and management JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY AND NEUROLOGY Cassidy, E. L., Lauderdale, S., Sheikh, J. I. 2005; 18 (2): 83-88


    The frequent comorbidity of anxiety and depression, particularly among elderly, is widely recognized by clinicians, but the debate continues as to whether the combined diagnostic designation is merited. This article reviews the debate over the mixed diagnosis, discusses treatment implications, and reviews a small treatment study undertaken with elderly patients. Ten community-dwelling, older adults diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and subsyndromal depression (n = 6) or generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder (n = 4) were started on a 12-week, open-label trial of nefazodone. Clinicians' ratings on the Clinical Global Impression of Change and patients' self-ratings of symptoms on the Beck Depression Inventory and the Beck Anxiety Inventory identified statistically significant gains in patients' overall pre/post functioning. Nefazodone was efficacious in symptom alleviation in patients with comorbid anxiety and depression. Further double-blind, randomized investigations with newer antidepressant medications are required to extend these preliminary findings with nefazodone.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0891988705276060

    View details for PubMedID 15911936

  • Efficacy of sertraline for panic disorder in older adults: A preliminary open-label trial AMERICAN JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY Sheikh, J. I., Lauderdale, S. A., Cassidy, E. L. 2004; 12 (2): 230-230

    View details for Web of Science ID 000189120100016

    View details for PubMedID 15010352

  • Efficacy, safety, and tolerability of sertraline in patients with late-life depression and comorbid medical illness JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN GERIATRICS SOCIETY Sheikh, J. I., Cassidy, E. L., Doraiswamy, P. M., Salomon, R. M., Hornig, M., Holland, P. J., Mandel, F. S., Clary, C. M., Burt, T. 2004; 52 (1): 86-92


    To report on the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of sertraline in the treatment of elderly depres-sed patients with and without comorbid medical illness.Multicenter.Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.A total of 752 patients aged 60 and older with diagnosis of major depressive disorder according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, diagnosis.Outcome measures included the 17-item Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD); the Clinical Global Depression-Severity/Improvement (CGI-S/CGI-I); efficacy and safety/adverse event assessments; Quality of Life, Enjoyment, and Satisfaction Questionnaire; and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Status Survey.In the overall sample, sertraline was superior to placebo on all three primary outcome measures, HAMD, and overall clinical severity and change (CGI-S/CGI-I). Furthermore, therapeutic response to sertraline was comparable in those with or without medical comorbidity, and there were no treatment-by-comorbidity group interactions. Sertraline was also associated with a faster time to response than placebo in the comorbid group (P<.006). Sertraline-treated patients in the comorbid group had similar adverse events and discontinuations when compared to those in the noncomorbid group.Sertraline was efficacious in reducing depressive symptomatology, regardless of the presence of comorbid medical illness. Sertraline was safe and well tolerated by patients with or without medical illness.

    View details for PubMedID 14687320

  • Possible association of posttraumatic stress disorder with cognitive impairment among older adults PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES Cook, J. M., Ruzek, J. I., Cassidy, E. 2003; 54 (9): 1223–25

    View details for DOI 10.1176/

    View details for Web of Science ID 000222758700007

    View details for PubMedID 12954937

  • Cognitive status and behavioral problems in older hospitalized patients. Annals of general hospital psychiatry O'Hara, R., Mumenthaler, M. S., Davies, H., Cassidy, E. L., Buffum, M., Namburi, S., Shakoori, R., Danielsen, C. E., Tsui, P., Noda, A., Kraemer, H. C., Sheikh, J. I. 2002; 1 (1): 1-?


    OBJECTIVES: (a) To determine the quantity and quality of behavioral problems in older hospitalized patients on acute care units; (b) to determine the burden of these behaviors on staff; and (c) to identify predictors of behavioral problems. METHODS: Upon admission, patients performed the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE), the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), and information was obtained on age, ethnicity, level of education, living arrangement, and psychiatric history. Two days post-admission, a clinical staff member caring for each patient, performed the Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Questionnaire (NPI-Q) to assess patients' behavioral problems and staff distress. PARTICIPANTS AND SETTING : Forty-two patients, over 60 years of age, admitted to medical and surgical units of the Veterans Affairs Hospitals in Palo Alto and San Francisco, participated. RESULTS: Twenty-three of 42 (55%) patients exhibited behavioral problems. Anxiety, depression, irritability, and agitation/aggression were the most frequently observed behaviors. The severity of the behavioral problems was significantly correlated with staff distress. Lower performance on the MMSE at admission was significantly associated with higher NPI-Q ratings. Specifically, of those cases with scores less than or equal to 27 on the MMSE, 66% had behavioral problems during hospitalization, compared to only 31% of those with scores greater than 27. CONCLUSION: Behavioral problems in older hospitalized patients appear to occur frequently, are a significant source of distress to staff, and can result in the need for psychiatric consultation. Assessment of the mental status of older adults at admission to hospital may be valuable in identifying individuals at increased risk for behavioral problems during hospitalization.

    View details for PubMedID 12537601

  • Pre-intervention assessment for disruptive behavior problems: a focus on staff needs AGING & MENTAL HEALTH Cassidy, E. L., Sheikh, J. I. 2002; 6 (2): 166-171


    Mental health professionals are often called upon to assist institutions in their struggle to manage the behavior problems associated with dementia. The current article provides an example of a typical behavioral consultation. The various methods of assessment, including topographical, functional and observational are described in the context of planning future interventions. Results indicate that a large proportion of staff time, approximately 40%, is spent implementing such interventions. Although the time required is great, frontline staff are adept at utilizing less invasive interventions first. Implications for subsequent interventions, need for continued evaluation and reassessing levels of staff burden are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/13607860220126727

    View details for Web of Science ID 000175619900009

    View details for PubMedID 12028886

  • Recruitment and retention of elderly patients in clinical trials - Issues and strategies AMERICAN JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRY Cassidy, E. L., Baird, E., Sheikh, J. I. 2001; 9 (2): 136-140


    Clinicians and researchers alike are shifting their focus to elderly patients in order to target the most effective treatments for a variety of psychiatric conditions. Clinical trials with elderly patients are the necessary because they consume the largest number of prescription medications. There are special challenges and considerations in designing and conducting clinical studies. The authors review the various phases of such research, including recruitment of appropriate patients and retention of those enrolled, and they make suggestions, using examples from already completed research studies, illustrating the methods found to be most successful.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000168076200005

    View details for PubMedID 11316617

  • Training psychologists for service delivery in long-term care settings CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY-SCIENCE AND PRACTICE Gallagher-Thompson, D., Cassidy, E. L., LOVETT, S. 2000; 7 (3): 329-336
  • Treatment of anxiety disorders in the elderly: Issues and strategies JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS Sheikh, J. I., Cassidy, E. L. 2000; 14 (2): 173-190


    Clinical practice for the treatment of anxiety disorders in the elderly in general lacks empirical validation and hence is somewhat inconsistent. Extensive clinical experience, along with the knowledge gleaned from studies with a younger population, has led to the development of the following treatment approach. A thorough diagnostic assessment, crucial in planning subsequent treatment, is discussed first along with more general clinical issues. Next. a detailed review of current pharmacologic and psychologic treatments for each of the diagnostic categories of anxiety is described for application to the older patient. Definitive studies regarding the best treatments for anxiety disorders in the elderly are lacking, and further investigation of this area is emphasized.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000086829700005

    View details for PubMedID 10864384