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Sara L. Dolan, Ph.D. - Baylor University . Waco, TX, US

Sara L. Dolan, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; Associate Dean for Professional Development, Graduate School | Baylor University


Neuropsychological functioning and substance abuse treatment expert.






loading image Sara Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University loading image



Sara Dolan Baylor Connections


Dr. Dolan joined the Baylor faculty in 2007, after serving as a National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism-funded Postdoctoral Fellow and subsequently a National Cancer Institute-funded faculty member at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. While at Brown, she also served as a Research Scientist at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center, as well as the Assessment Coordinator at Psychological Associates, in Warwick, RI. Prior to that, she earned her B.S. degree in psychology from Indiana University, followed by both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Clinical Psychology from the University of Iowa. She then completed her clinical internship at Yale University, in the Division of Substance Abuse. In her spare time, she can be found serving as an alumnae advisor for her sorority on campus, at a Baylor football or men's basketball game, traveling, or volunteering in the community.

Areas of Expertise (6)

Substance abuse treatment

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder


Alcohol Abuse


Substance Abuse

Education (4)

University of Iowa: Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

University of Iowa: M.A., Clinical Psychology

Yale University School of Medicine: Clinical Internship, Division of Substance Abuse

Indiana University: B.S., Psychology

Media Appearances (7)

Sara Dolan

Baylor Connections  online


AUDIO: National Graduate Student Appreciation Week runs April 3-7 this year, affording the perfect time to celebrate the more than 5,000 graduate students who daily enrich the Baylor campus community. In this Baylor Connections, Sara Dolan, Ph.D., associate dean for professional development in the Graduate School and longtime psychology professor and researcher, shares how graduate students impact teaching, research and scholarship at Baylor, and examines their impact long after their last class at Baylor.

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Baylor hosts panel on Ukraine invasion

KXXV-TV  online


VIDEO: Sergiy Kudelia, Ph.D., associate professor of political science, Baylor President Linda Livingstone, Ph.D., Sara L. Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, and Stephen Gardner, Ph.D., professor of economics, were all quoted for their contributions to the discussion on the biggest issues facing Ukraine and the international community.

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Why Most of Us Never Complete Our New Year’s Resolutions [Thoughts After Dark]

ThomasNet  online


Sara L. Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, is quoted in this article on New Year’s resolutions and why they are difficult to accomplish.

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This Year, Try Downsizing Your Resolutions

The New York Times  online


Sara L. Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, is among the experts interviewed for this article about how to make goals for 2021 that feel both satisfying and doable.

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Communities, Trauma and Resilience

Baylor Research  online


Community. For Sara Dolan, Ph.D., a nationally recognized Baylor professor, researcher and psychologist, it's the place where her research finds its deepest meaning. A community can be literal — a city like West, Texas — or it can be a group bound by similar experiences or stages, like military veterans, children or families. However a community is defined, the people who comprise it will inevitably experience and share in challenges.

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National Academies to study long-term psychiatric effects of antimalarial drugs

WUSA9  online


A committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will undertake an 18-month study of the long-term health effects of antimalarial drugs, particularly mefloquine, which was widely used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

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Baylor Connections: Sara Dolan

KWBU-FM (Waco/NPR)  radio


APA “Citizen Psychologist” Sara Dolan, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, joins host Derek Smith on Baylor Connections for a conversation about her experiences working with first responders, soldiers and citizens dealing with trauma, and the themes of community, scholarship and resilience.

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Research Focus (1)

Neuropsychological Functioning and Substance Abuse Treatment

Diagnosis and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

My research examines how neuropsychological dysfunction, including problems with memory and executive functions, is related to etiology of alcohol and substance use disorders and how these issues affect the treatment process and outcome. We study how cognitive functioning (e.g., memory, attention, problem-solving, decision-making) impacts wellbeing in those with addiction and other mental health disorders. We hope to improve addiction treatments so that those who enter treatment are getting the best treatments for their individual cognitive risk factors. We are currently conducting research on the relationship between craving and neuropsychological functioning in a population of non-psychotic substance dependent individuals. Undergraduates, PsyD, and PhD students are welcome to apply to work with us on these and related issues. Veterans are returning from combat zones at higher rates than before with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Substance Use Disorder. We are examining how their cognitive abilities, which may be compromised by these disorders, relate to overall psychological functioning and quality of life to improve diagnosis and treatment. Undergraduates with an interest in this work should consider applying for the VA-CERP internship program (information is here: https://www.baylor.edu/prehealth/index.php?id=93416).

Articles (4)

Treatment of alcohol use disorder: Integration of Alcoholics Anonymous and cognitive behavioral therapy

Training and Education in Professional Psychology

Breuninger, M. M., Grosso, J. A., Hunter, W., & Dolan, S. L.


Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are among the most common psychological disorders experienced by Americans. Only 10% of individuals with this disorder receive treatment, and the most popular treatment is some form of 12-Step involvement. Although there is evidence for the efficacy of 12-Step treatment, most AUD treatment providers are not well versed in 12-Step principles and practices. Recent work suggests that clinicians and training directors do not feel confident in their knowledge about and training in 12-Step programs. This concern is not new, and programs have struggled to find ways to help trainees bridge this knowledge gap in a way that would be beneficial to clients. Therefore, the current article seeks to address this by clarifying common misconceptions about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), describing AA’s conceptualization of alcoholism, and its goal. We also offer a number of ways in which the 12-Steps share principles and skills/techniques with cognitive behavioral therapies for AUD. Finally, we provide training recommendations for closing the training gap through increased trainee exposure to 12-Step programs and interprofessional training opportunities. It is our hope that once AUD treatment providers understand that the 12-Steps are meant to accomplish similar goals using similar techniques to Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) for AUDs, they will be able to provide more integrated, or at least less disparate, treatments to individuals with AUDs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

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Intimate partner cohesion and military unit cohesion: Different types of interpersonal relationships each uniquely predict soldier well-being

Military Psychology

2019 Although research on military populations has found that measures of personal well-being are correlated with both intimate partner cohesion and military unit cohesion, it is not clear how these correlations should be interpreted.

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Using the PAI-A to Classify Juvenile Offenders by Adjudicated Offenses

Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma volume

2019 To improve understanding and treatment of criminal behavior, researchers have developed typologies of juvenile offenders, primarily focusing on personality traits and criminal history to classify according to type of offense committed.

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Association Between Negative Emotional States and Unhealthy Nutritional Behaviors in Soldiers

Military Behavioral Health

2018 The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between food consumption behaviors and measures indicative of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and negative emotional states, including depression, anxiety, and stress.

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