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Heather Littleton, PhD


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Heather L. Littleton, Ph.D.


Dr. Heather Littleton is an assistant professor in the department of psychology at East Carolina University. She also holds an adjunct appointment as an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology. She is a clinical psychologist and is licensed as a psychologist in North Carolina and Texas. Her research interests are in several areas of women’s health including social cognitive processes in trauma recovery, particularly after sexual assault, re-victimization risk and health risk behaviors among sexual assault victims, and ethnic differences in sexual assault risk and recovery processes. She is interested in the development of novel interventions, including web-based interventions. Her teaching interests include psychopathology, clinical skill development,  the psychology of trauma, the psychology of women, sexuality and sexual dysfunction, and supervision.

Dr. Littleton is also supervisor of the women's health psychology specialty service at the ECU PASS clinic.


East Carolina University
Department of Psychology
Rawl 315
Greenville, North Carolina 27858-4353
Phone: 252-328-6488
Fax: 252-328-6283


Dr. Littleton is currently directing several women’s health related research projects.
  • An NIMH funded randomized controlled trial of a therapist-facilitated online intervention for women with rape-related PTSD
  • A longitudinal study of information processing factors  following sexual victimization among low SES women recruited from an ob-gyn clinic and the impact of sexual victimization on mental health during pregnancy
  • A longitudinal study evaluating patterns of re-victimization risk among college women who have experienced sexual assault
  • An examination of the rape scripts of European American and African American women


Drs. Littleton and Grills-Taquechel's grant from the National Institute of Mental Health was featured by the ECU News Service.

Drs. Littleton, Grills-Taquechel, and Axsom’s symposium at the 2008 APA convention entitled, The aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings: Distress and resilience was listed in the June issue of the Monitor as a convention highlight of Division 56, Trauma Psychology.

Drs. Littleton, Axsom, and Grills-Taquechel's research regarding women's adjustment following the VT campus shooting was featured by the Pacific Standard,

Dr. Littleton’s meta-analytic review of the association between anxiety during pregnancy and perinatal outcomes was featured in a nuimber of media outlets including the August 15th, 2006 New York Times health section and WebMD.


Dr. Littleton is always accepting interested and very qualified undergraduate and doctoral students into her research lab.  She places a high priority on mentoring students and providing them with opportunities to be involved in women's health research.

Below are brief descriptions of ongoing projects in her lab being directed by herself or doctoral students:
  • The From Survivor to Thriver program- a clinical trial of an online, therapist-facilitated program to help women with rape-related PTSD
  • A survey of the psychological adjustment, trauma-related coping, risk behaviors, and adjustment of sexual trauma victims recruited from an ob-gyn waiting room serving low- to middle-income African American and European American women
  • A longitudinal study of trauma-related coping, adjustment, and re-victimization risk behaviors among a large, ethnically diverse sample of college women
  • A qualitative evaluation of the rape scripts of European American and African American college women
  • An examination of the relationship between body image and sexual adjustment among survivors of breast cancer
  • An evaluation of an empathy-based intervention to increase acceptance of male medical students into gynecological examinations

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to be involved with many research tasks including entering data, coding qualitative data, conducting literature reviews, assisting with participant recruitment, and serving as an experimenter on ongoing studies.  Undergraduates also are introduced to relevant women's health research literature and are an integral part of weekly lab meetings.  Finally, interested and motivated undergraduates have the opportunity to be involved in research presentations and manuscript preparation. 

Doctoral students accepted into Dr. Littleton's lab have opportunities to be involved in grant-funded research, including serving as a Graduate Research Assistant on the From Survivor to Thriver program.  As Dr. Littleton's research spans clinical, social, and health psychology, students have the opportunity to conduct independent research utilizing a variety of research methodologies, statistical techniques, and participant samples.  Dr. Littleton is particularly interested in mentoring students who have interests in trauma, trauma recovery, health risk behavior, novel intervention techniques, and sexual victimization.  Finally, she seeks students interested in social-cognitive, cognitive-behavioral and feminist theoretical models.


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104 Rawl Building, East Carolina University
East Fifth Street, Greenville, NC 27858-4353 USA
Phone 252.328.1369 | Fax 252-328-6283
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