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 (5)
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 ...
UCI Podcast: Pandemic trauma disrupts our sense of time, says UCI professor of nursing
UCI News online
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many of us have felt our sense of time profoundly disrupted, with one day blending into the next. Alison Holman, an associate professor at UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing, says that stress has affected our ability to keep track of time. An expert in trauma, she says that the coronavirus crisis has stripped us of our expected futures, unmooring us. “Being forced into the narrow moment of the present in dealing with this pandemic has made the past – which is part of who we are, part of what has made us who we are today – and the future just kind of fall away. That’s the temporal disintegration, when you lose that sense of continuity,” Holman says during an episode of the UCI Podcast. One solution, she says, is to focus on what you can control, such as taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus – which will benefit both you and others. “For example,” Holman says, “you can wear a face mask every time you go outside. That will not only help protect you somewhat but it will also help protect people in your community.”
A Monday Is a Tuesday is a Sunday as COVID-19 disrupts internal clocks
UCI News online
The prospect of an increase in mental disorders has spurred E. Alison Holman, a health psychologist at the University of California, Irvine, to study the psychological effects of COVID-19. In past work, Holman and her colleagues have found that people experiencing trauma report that time seems to stop or to move in slow motion. Some individuals also become more focused on a past traumatic experience, a feature of PTSD. Holman worries that the pandemic will cause similar psychological effects in the people most threatened by the virus.
Time Is Slipping Away From Us All
There's a name this phenomenon: temporal disintegration, according to E. Alison Holman, PhD, a psychologist and an associate professor with the UC Irvine Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing. And, she says, they're a direct result of trauma.
Amid coronavirus news, many need to step away
UCI News online
Roxane Cohen Silver, Dana Rose Garfin and E. Alison Holman, researchers at the University of California at Irvine who have been studying the affect of prolonged media exposure to bad news following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, wrote an article for Health Psychology magazine in February — before coronavirus was even on the radar for many Americans — warning of this effect. People who watch too much can have nightmares, feelings of anxiety and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, Silver said.
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).