Sara L. Dolan, Ph.D.

Sara L. Dolan, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; Associate Dean for Research, Graduate School and Faculty Regent
High Res Photo

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
Associate Dean for Research, Graduate School

Faculty Regent


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Alcohol & Addiction Studies, Brown University

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Iowa, 2004

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

M.A., Clinical Psychology, University of Iowa, 1998

B.S., Psychology, Indiana University, 1996


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.

Academic Interests and Research

Interests: Neuropsychological functioning and substance abuse treatment, as well as 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.  

I AM accepting students (PsyD and PhD) for this research program.

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. 

I am NOT accepting students for this research program.

Undergraduates with an interest in this work should consider applying for the VA-CERP internship program (information is here:

Selected Publications

*Greenberg, L.P., Martindale, S.M., Fils-Aimé, L.R., & Dolan, S.L. (2016).  Distress tolerance and impulsivity are associated with drug and alcohol use consequences in an online community sample. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 30(1), 50-59. doi: 10.1891/0889-8391.30.1.50

*Greenberg, L.P., Martindale, S.M., Collum, S.P., & Dolan, S.L. (2014).  Distress tolerance as a predictor of depressive and posttraumatic stress symptoms in a substance use disorder in-patient treatment sample.  Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders and Treatment, 3(2). doi: 10.4172/2324-8947.1000123

Dolan SL, Bechara A, Nathan PE. Executive dysfunction as a risk marker for substance abuse: the role of impulsive personality traits. Behav Sci Law. 2008;26(6):799-822. PMID: 19039793.

Dolan SL, Sacco K, Termine A, Seyal AA, Dudas MM, Vessicchio JC, Wexler BE, George TP. Neuropsychological deficits predict treatment failure during smoking cessation in patients with schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2004;70:263-75.

Bechara A, Dolan S, Hindes A. Decision-making and addiction (part II): myopia for the future or hypersensitivity to reward? Neuropsychologia. 2002;40(10):1690-705. PMID: 11992657.

Bechara A, Dolan S, Denburg N, Hindes A, Anderson SW, Nathan PE. Decision-making deficits, linked to a dysfunctional ventromedial prefrontal cortex, revealed in alcohol and stimulant abusers. Neuropsychologia. 2001;39(4):376-89. PMID: 11164876.

Dolan, S.L., Martindale, S., Robinson, J., Kimbrel, N., Meyer, E., Kruse, M., Morissette, S., Young, K., & Gulliver, S.B. (2012). Neuropsychological sequelae of PTSD and TBI following war deployment among OEF/OIF Veterans. Neuropsychology Review, 22, 21-34. PMID: 22350690.

Fergus, T.A., Clayson, K.A., & Dolan, S.L. (2018). Metacognitive beliefs predict greater mental contamination severity after an evoking source. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1784.

*Clayson, K.A., Bardeen, J., Dolan, S.L., & Fergus, T.A. (in press). Executive attention moderates the effect of trait anxiety on hyperarousal symptoms. Cognitive Behavior Therapy.

*Martindale, S.L., Morissette, S.B., Rowland, J.A., & Dolan, S.L. (2017). Sleep quality affects cognitive functioning in returning combat veterans beyond combat exposure, PTSD, and mild TBI history. Neuropsychology, 31, 93-104. PMID: 27690479

Dolan S, Martindale S, Robinson J, Kimbrel NA, Meyer EC, Kruse MI, Morissette SB, Young KA, Gulliver SB. Neuropsychological sequelae of PTSD and TBI following war deployment among OEF/OIF veterans. Neuropsychol Rev. 2012;22(1):21-34. PMID: 22350690.

*Dasse MN, Juback SK, Morrisette SB, Dolan SL, Weaver CA. False memory susceptibility in OEF/OIF veterans with and without PTSD. Mil Psychol. 2015;27(6):354-65.

Morissette SB, Woodward M, Kimbrel NA, Meyer EC, Kruse MI, Dolan S, Gulliver SB. Deployment-related TBI, persistent postconcussive symptoms, PTSD, and depression in OEF/OIF veterans. Rehabil Psychol. 2011;56(4):340-50. PMID: 22121940.

*Martindale SL, Morissette SB, Kimbrel NA, Meyer EC, Kruse MI, Gulliver SB, Dolan SL. Neuropsychological functioning, coping, and quality of life among returning war veterans. Rehabil Psychol. 2016;61(3):231-9. PMID: 26891248, PMCID: PMC5032646.

*Grosso JA, Kimbrel NA, Dolan S, Meyer EC, Kruse MI, Gulliver SB, Morissette SB. A test of whether coping styles moderate the effect of PTSD symptoms on alcohol outcomes. J Trauma Stress. 2014;27(4):478-82. PMID: 25158641.

*Student publication


Dolan, S.L. (2004). Addiction. In A. Christensen, R, Martin & J. Smyth (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Health Psychology. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishing.

Dolan, S.L. (2004). Alcoholism. In A. Christensen, R. Martin & J. Smyth (Eds.). Encyclopedia of Health Psychology. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishing.

Nathan, P.E., Stuart, S., & Dolan, S.L. (2003). Research on psychotherapy efficacy and effectiveness: Between Scylla and Charybdis? In A Kazdin (Ed.). Methodological issues and strategies in clinical research, 3rd ed. (pp. 505-546). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Dolan, S.L. & Nathan, P.E. (2001) When one marital partner is an alcoholic. In J. Harvey & A. Wenzel (Eds.). Maintaining and enhancing close relationships: A clinician's guide. Pp. 215-229. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.

Nathan, P. E., Skinstad, A. H., & Dolan, S.L. (2001). Alcoholism: Psychopathology, etiology, and treatment. In P.B. Sutker & H.E. Adams (Eds.). Comprehensive handbook of psychopathology. (3rd edition), pp. 595-622. New York: Plenum Press.

Nathan, P. E., Skinstad, A. H., & Dolan, S.L. (2000). Clinical Psychology II: Psychological treatments: Research and practice. In K. Pawlik & M.R. Rosenzweig (Eds.). International handbook of psychology. pp. 429-451. London: SAGE Ltd.

Recent Psy.D. Graduates

Anthony Giardina, Marist College
Sean McGowan, Notre Dame University
Laura Sejud, University of Colorado, Boulder
Samantha Collum, Connecticut College
Lauren Greenberg, University of California, Los Angeles
Justine Grosso, Rutgers University
Lauren Farwell, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, University of Texas
Katherine L'Esperance, St. Johns University
Kelsi Clayson, University of California, Los Angeles
Halle Ross, Baylor University
Jules Martowski, Skidmore College
Alexis Humenik, Baylor University, George Washington University

Current Psy.D. Students

Zachary Grounds, University of California, San Diego
Haley Mayer, Indiana University
Shianne Andrew, The University of Tulsa
Kiara Leonard, Texas State University

Ph.D. Graduates

Sarah Martindale, Saint Edward's University
Meilin Jia-Richards, University of Washington

Courses taught at Baylor

  • PSY 1305 - Introductory Psychology
  • PSY 3330 - Psychopathology
  • PSY 4327 - Theories of Personality
  • PSY 5431 - Psychological Assessment I: Intellectual and Cognitive
  • PSY 5432 - Psychological Assessment II: Personality
  • PSY 5433 - Psychological Assessment III: Neuropsychology
  • PSY 5316 - Clinical Psychopathology
  • PSY 4V96 and NSC 4V96 - Neuropsychology Research