Broadly speaking, my research interests lie in examining the roles of impulsivity, executive functioning, and other psychosocial factors as trans-disease processes in impulse control disorders, substance abuse disorders, and behavioral addictions. Primarily, my focus is on investigating the relationships between impulsivity, executive control, health behaviors, and other psychosocial factors insofar as they are associated with technology use, video game use, and game-related behaviors in adolescent and emerging adult populations.
Specifically, my current line of research focuses on investigating the roles of impulsivity and psychosocial factors, such as social support, in the initiation and maintenance of pathological online video game use, as well as what factors might protect against the development of pathological use. A secondary line of my research seeks to differentiate between high engagement and pathological use of online video games, and to examine the psychosocial correlates associated with these two patterns of behavior.
I am currently a graduate research assistant working as a part of Dr. Sherecce Field’s research laboratory, the Health Behavior Research Group (HBRG). HBRG is a 9-room, state-of-the-art, community-based clinical research laboratory located in the heart of the Bryan-College Station metropolitan area. HBRG is uniquely organized to support the full spectrum of psychological research, from human laboratory models to large-scale treatment-outcome studies. HBRG faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate research assistants are actively engaged in collaborative research projects with local schools, health agencies, and medical specialists.
Huffhines, L., Zale, E., Thamotharan, S., Sferra, M., Lange, K. L., Ditre, J., & Fields, S. (2014). Intimate partner violence, childhood sexual abuse, and cigarette smoking risk in adolescents. Journal of Child and Adolescent Trauma, 7(3), 175-183.
Lange, K., Thamotharan, S., Sferra, M., Ramos, A., & Fields, S. (2014). Effects of weight and gender on a task of inattention. Eating behaviors, 15(4), 574-577.
Manuscripts Under Review
Hahn, H., Thamotharan, S., Sferra, M., & Fields, S. (Submitted for Initial Review). HIV risk in YMSM who use geosocial networking apps: How soon is too soon to meet partners?
Sferra, M., Fields, S., Gentile, D. (Submitted for Initial Review). Game type as a moderator of the relationship between pathological video game use, impulsivity, aggression, and general psychopathology.
Vermillion, S., Malak, R., Becker, B., Smallman, S., Sferra, M., & Fields, S. (Submitted for Initial Review). An investigation on using serious gaming to study human decision making in engineering contexts.
Fields, S., Dowd, S., Sferra, M., & Reynolds, B. (in preparation). Impulsive behavior and treatment outcomes in adolescent smokers.
Sferra, M., & Fields, S. (in preparation). The effects of the interaction between body weight and depression on adolescent and emerging adult alcohol use.
Sferra, M., Thamotharan, S., & Fields, S. (in preparation). Marijuana use and its relationship to delay discounting.