Natalia Van Doren, M.S.

Prevention and Methodology Predoctoral Fellow
Human Development and Family Studies
The Pennsylvania State University


Natalia is a doctoral candidate in the clinical science PhD program of the Psychology department at the Pennsylvania State University. Natalia’s substantive research interests center on (1) understanding the role of emotion as a transdiagnostic process in the development and maintenance of psychopathology and addictive behaviors; (2) examining antecedents and consequences of risky substance use in daily life; and (3) identifying how socio-cultural factors, such as race and ethnicity, impact these processes. She has pursued these topics from both a basic science and translational perspective. Through her work, she aims to support the adaptation and creation of innovative interventions that impact mental health and substance use.

Methodologically, she is particularly interested in (1) mixture modeling (e.g. LCA, LPA, LTA) from person-centered approach that acknowledges individual differences; (2) Bayesian cultural consensus analysis, a cognitive psychometric modeling technique that enables examination of culturally shared values and belief systems while accounting for individual differences; (3) intensive longitudinal methods (e.g., EMA; passive sensing data) that allows for the examination of real-time experiences in everyday life.

Natalia’s dissertation project utilizes a novel application of latent profile analysis for daily diary data to examine how unique features of affect—valence, arousal, and discrete emotional states—interact to predict alcohol and cannabis use in daily life. The aim of her dissertation is to identify what kinds of “emotion moments” are linked to greatest risk for substance use in everyday life, with an eye towards illuminating opportunities for real-time intervention.

Natalia received a M.S. in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University in 2018, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2016. Her academic advisor is Dr. José A. Soto.