E. Alison Holman's research focuses on understanding the early post-event predictors of comorbid trauma-related mental and physical health problems. She seeks to identify predictors of, contributions of, and interactions between acute responses to trauma (biological, cognitive, emotional, social, environmental, behavioral) that increase vulnerability to trauma-related health problems, especially cardiovascular disease. Toward this end, Holman examines gene-environment interactions and the roles of several biological systems in acute/posttraumatic stress response: renin-angiotensin-aldosterone, endocannabinoid, and oxytocin systems as well as hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response. The ultimate goal is to identify targets for early interventions to prevent trauma-related morbidity and mortality.
Areas of Expertise (5)
Acute Stress & Cardiovascular Disease
U.C. Irvine: PhD, Health Psychology 1996
University of California, Santa Cruz: BA, Psychology 1989
San Francisco State University: BS, Nursing 1981
- International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
- Association for Psychological Science
- American Psychological Association, Divisions of Health Psychology and Trauma Psychology
- California Association for Nurse Practitioners
Media Appearances (11)
Hurricane Ian Impact: The Unexpected Health Effects
Anxiety and depression are often seen as hurricanes create “a lot of unknowns,” explained E. Alison Holman, PhD, professor of psychological science at the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, UC Irvine. “Any time there are those kinds of unknowns, it generates anxiety.”
Trauma, time and mental health — new study unpacks pandemic phenomenon
The Washington Post online
A new study says a majority of Americans experienced time distortions at the beginning of the pandemic, which are common during traumatic times. … “There are relatively new therapies that can be used to help people regain a more balanced sense of time,” E. Alison Holman, a professor of nursing at the University of California, Irvine and a co-author of the study, says in a news release. “But if we don’t know who is in need of those services, we can’t provide that support.”
The effects that recent mass shootings have on the American psyche
KCBS Radio online
This weekend there were eleven mass shootings in the U.S., thirteen if you include Friday. As gun violence continues to take an immeasurable toll on cities and communities across America with the physical toll comes a psychological one too. For more, KCBS Radio news anchors Melissa Culross and Jason Brooks spoke with Alison Holman, professor of psychological science and nursing at UC Irvine and co-author of a study on the effects of reading and watching coverage of tragic events.
A trauma psychologist offers tips for NYC parents and kids trying to make sense of the subway shooting
Gothamist collected audience questions from parents who are trying to make sense of their own emotions about the crisis while also fielding concerns from their kids. WNYC host Sean Carlson then posed those queries to Dr. Alison Holman, a professor at the University of California, Irvine’s Sue and Bill Gross School of Nursing. She’s spent her career studying how traumatic events affect people differently depending on their life experiences and behavior.
The Waiting Room: After FedEx shooting, families' trauma and grief began at a Holiday Inn
Indianapolis Star online
“They're anticipating a potential horrible outcome and trying to make sense of what's going on. And that's really difficult.” said Alison Holman, a University of California-Irvine professor who studies the health effects of individual and collective trauma.
How Collective Trauma Affects Health Outcomes: Nurse Researcher Shares Insights
Daily Nurse online
For 30 years, E. Alison Holman, Ph.D., professor of nursing at the University of California Irvine Bill and Sue Gross School of Nursing, has focused her research on collective trauma stemming from such climate-related disasters as wildfires and hurricanes, global events like the pandemic and wars, and other human-caused tragedies such as terrorist attacks, mass shootings and bombings. “I’ve always been interested in large-scale events,” she says. “As healthcare professionals, we need to understand how people’s mental health responses impact their physical health in the moment and long-term.”
Watching footage from Ukraine? Here's how to protect your mental health.
When I ask Dr. E. Alison Holman, a researcher at the University of California at Irvine who studies the physical and mental health effects of exposure to collective trauma, about what to make of being an observer of the Russian invasion, she immediately recommends curtailing news consumption. "My advice to anybody around this stuff is to titrate your doses of media," says Holman, who is a professor of nursing and psychological science at U.C. Irvine. "Figure out a good source of information that isn't full of lies and misinformation and get small doses to capture what it is that you need to understand about what is going on in the world, and then stop — don't continue." (Mashable's Christianna Silva compiled a list of reputable sources.)
Feeling low during the pandemic? Expert says you're not alone and shares what can help
OVID-19 case counts are decreasing. Restrictions and mandates are being rolled back in many communities. But even though there is optimism, some people feel like now is when they're breaking apart. And there's a reason, according to Dr. Alison Holman. Holman is a researcher at the University of California Irvine who has been spent around 30 years studying how trauma impacts people. She spoke with Lindsey Mastis during the wellness special on "The Coronavirus Alert Desk."
5 ways to deal with anxiety during the holidays amid the omicron surge
ABC News online
Staying active has been one of the top recommendations from therapists during this pandemic, but sometimes finding the motivation to exercise is the difficult part. According to trauma and stress researcher Alison Holman at the University of California, Irvine, the key is finding ways to heal and nurture your body to let the energy flow. "When the energy stays pent up inside, it actually can really get the mind going," Holman said. "Get some kind of exercise, whether it's a creative form of exercise." Some untraditional ways of getting some exercise or keeping your mind busy are: dancing, hiking, walking outdoors, jumping rope, drawing, meditating, among many others.
What the pandemic has done to our memories
NBC News online
Just as people are affected differently by stress, individuals also vary in how they cope, said psychologist Alison Holman, a stress researcher and professor at the University of California, Irvine. “We should never think that you can throw all human beings into one bucket and say that’s how they’re going to cope, because there is no such thing as a single way for everybody to cope,” she said.
A mental health crisis is unfolding in the workplace. COVID-19 and racial injustice are to blame
Alison Holman has been studying trauma for the past three decades, researching how society copes with distressing events and the physical ...
Research Grants (4)
Genetic variation, stress, and functional outcomes after stroke rehabilitation
National Institute of Nursing Research $2,718,925
A national longitudinal study of community trauma exposure
National Science Foundation $333,396
RAPID: Responding to Terror of a Different Kind: A National Study of the Ebola Epidemic
National Science Foundation $160,306
12/1/14 - 11/30/15
Susceptibility to Acute Stress and Cardiovascular Ailments: A Gene-Environment Analysis
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar Grant
Reported Worst Life Events and Media Exposure to Terrorism in a Nationally Representative U.S. SampleJournal of Traumatic Stress
Rebecca R. Thompson, E. Alison Holman, Roxane Cohen Silver
2020 Indirectly experienced negative life events are not considered Criterion A traumatic events per DSM‐5 posttraumatic stress disorder diagnostic criteria, yet individuals indirectly exposed to trauma via the media may report these events as peak traumatic experiences. We studied which events people considered to be the “worst” in their lifetimes to gain a better understanding of the types of events individuals consider to be distressing.
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-2019) Outbreak: Amplification of Public Health Consequences by Media ExposureHealth Psychology
Dana Rose Garfin, Roxane Cohen Silver, E. Alison Holman
2020 The 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-2019) has led to a serious outbreak of often severe respiratory disease, which originated in China and has quickly become a global pandemic, with far-reaching consequences that are unprecedented in the modern era. As public health officials seek to contain the virus and mitigate the deleterious effects on worldwide population health, a related threat has emerged: global media exposure to the crisis.
Associations between exposure to childhood bullying and abuse and adulthood outcomes in a representative national U.S. sampleChild Abuse & Neglect
Josiah A Sweeting, Dana Rose Garfin, E Alison Holman, Roxane Cohen Silver
2020 Negative childhood experiences are associated with poor health and psychosocial outcomes throughout one’s lifespan.
Exposure to prior negative life events and responses to the Boston marathon bombings.Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy
Garfin, Dana Rose; Holman, E. Alison; Silver, Roxane Cohen
2020 Objective: The objective of the study was to explore how type and timing of prior negative life experiences (NLEs) may be linked to responses to subsequent collective trauma, such as a terrorist attack. Method: Using a longitudinal design, we examined relationships between prior NLEs and responses to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings (BMB).
Media Exposure to Collective Trauma, Mental Health, and Functioning: Does It Matter What You See?Clinical Psychological Science
E. Alison Holman, Dana Rose Garfin, Pauline Lubens, Roxane Cohen Silver
2019 Media exposure to collective trauma is associated with acute stress (AS) and posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS). Qualities of media exposure (e.g., amount, graphic features) contributing to this distress are poorly understood. A representative national sample (with New York and Boston oversamples; N = 4,675) completed anonymous, online surveys 2 to 4 weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings (BMB; Wave 1, or W1) and again 6 months later (Wave 2, or W2; N = 3,598).