Thomas A. Fergus, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology (Core Clinical Faculty)
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Associate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience


Ph.D., Northern Illinois University, 2012

B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006


Dr. Fergus received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Northern Illinois University (NIU) and completed his clinical internship at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Fergus joined the Baylor faculty in 2012.


Dr. Fergus's research interests relate to gaining a better understanding of anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He also has interest in examining variables that might span across psychological disorders, such as metacognitive beliefs.

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Representative Publications:

Fergus, T. A. (2018). Tolerance of negative emotion moderates the amplification of mental contamination following an evoking task: A randomized experimental study. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 59, 72-78.

Fergus, T. A., & Hiraoka, R. (2018). A pilot study of a 4-week eHealth-based protocol of the attention training technique component of metacognitive therapy among patients with anxiety disorders. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 32, 140-152. 

Fergus, T. A., Kelley, L. P., & Griggs, J. O. (2018). The Whiteley Index-6: An examination of measurement invariance among self-identifying Black, Latino, and White respondents in primary care. Assessment, 25, 247-258.

Fergus, T. A., Limbers, C. A., Griggs, J. O., & Kelley, L. P. (2018). Somatic symptom severity among primary care patients who are obese: Examining the unique contributions of anxiety sensitivity, discomfort intolerance, and health anxiety. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 41, 43-51.

Fergus, T. A., & Rowatt, W. C. (2018). Examining associations between thought-action fusion and state mental contamination following an in vivo thought induction task. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 17, 16-22.

Fergus, T. A., & Wheless, N. E. (2018). The attention training technique causally reduces self-focus following worry provocation and reduces cognitive anxiety among self-focused individuals. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 61, 66-71.

Lorona, R. T., Rowatt, W. C., & Fergus, T. A. (2018). Assessing state mental contamination: Development and preliminary validation of the State Mental Contamination Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 100, 281-291.

Fergus, T. A., & Bardeen, J. R. (2017). Examining the incremental contribution of metacognitive beliefs beyond content-specific beliefs in relation to posttraumatic stress in a community sample. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 9, 723-730.

Fergus, T. A., Griggs, J. O., Cunningham, S. C., & Kelley, L. P. (2017). Health anxiety and medical utilization: The moderating effect of age among patients in primary care. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 51, 79-85.

Fergus, T. A., & Scullin, M. K. (2017). The cognitive attentional syndrome is associated with sleep difficulties in a community sample. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 15, 410-420.

Fergus, T. A., & Spada, M. M. (2017). Cyberchondria: Examining relations with problematic internet use and metacognitive beliefs. Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy, 24, 1322-1330.

Hapenny, J. E., & Fergus, T. A. (2017). Cognitive fusion, experiential avoidance, and their interactive effect: Examining associations with thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 6, 35-41.

Russell, L. H., Gould, K. L., & Fergus, T. A. (2017). Self-construal and gender interact to cause social evaluative concerns. Personality and Individual Differences, 109, 51-55.

Fergus, T. A., & Bardeen, J. R. (2016). The attention training technique: A review of a neurobehavioral therapy for emotional disorders. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 23, 502-516.

Fergus, T. A., & Bardeen, J. R. (2016). Main and interactive effects of mental contamination and tolerance of negative emotions in relation to posttraumatic stress symptoms following sexual trauma. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 38, 274-283.

Fergus, T. A., Carleton, R. N. (2016). Intolerance of uncertainty and attentional networks: Unique associations with alerting. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 41, 59-64.

Fergus, T. A., Kelley, L. P., & Griggs, J. O. (2016). The combination of health anxiety and somatic symptoms: Specificity to anxiety sensitivity cognitive concerns among patients in primary care. Psychiatry Research, 239, 117-121.

Fergus, T. A., & Russell, L. H. (2016). Does cyberchondria overlap with health anxiety and obsessive-compulsive symptoms? An examination of latent structure and scale interrelations. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 38, 88-94.

Fergus, T. A. (2015) I really believe I suffer from a health problem: Examining an association between cognitive fusion and healthy anxiety. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 71, 920-934.

Fergus, T. A. (2015) Anxiety sensitivity and intolerance of uncertainty as potential risk factors for cyberchondria: A replication and extension examining dimensions of each construct. Journal of Affective Disorders, 184, 305-309.

Fergus, T. A., Bardeen, J. R., Gratz, K. L., Fulton, J. J., & Tull, M. T. (2015). The contribution of health anxiety to retrospectively-recalled emergency department visits within a sample of patients in residential substance abuse treatment. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, 44, 1-8.

Fergus, T. A., & Rowatt, W. C. (2015). Uncertainty, God, and scrupulosity: Uncertainty salience and priming God concepts interact to cause greater fears of sin. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 46, 93-98.

Travis, R., & Fergus, T. A. (2015). The potentiating effect of disgust sensitivity on the relationship between disgust propensity and mental contamination. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 6, 114-116.

Fergus, T. A. (2014). The Cyberchondria Severity Scale (CSS): An examination of structure and relations with health anxiety in a community sample. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 28, 504-510.

Fergus, T. A. (2014). Mental contamination and scrupulosity: Evidence of unique associations among Catholics and Protestants. Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders, 3, 236-242.

Fergus, T. A. (2014). Health-related dysfunctional beliefs and health anxiety: Further evidence of cognitive specificity. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70, 248-259.

Fergus, T. A., & Dolan, S. L. (2014). Problematic internet use and internet searches for medical information: The role of health anxiety. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17, 761-765.

Fergus, T. A., & Rowatt, W. C. (2014). Examining a purported association between attachment to God and scrupulosity. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 6, 230-236.

Fergus, T. A., & Rowatt, W. C. (2014). Personal uncertainty strengthens associations between scrupulosity and both the moral appraisals of intrusive thoughts and the beliefs that God is upset with sins. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 33, 51-74.

Fergus, T. A., & Rowatt, W. C. (2014). Intolerance of uncertainty and personality: Experiential permeability is associated with difficulties tolerating uncertainty. Personality and Individual Differences, 58, 128-131.

Fergus, T. A., Wheless, N. E., & Wright, L. C. (2014). The attention training technique, self-focused attention, and anxiety: A laboratory-based component study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 61, 150-155.

Fergus, T. A. (2013). A comparison of three self-report measures of intolerance and uncertainty: An examination of structure and incremental explanatory power in a community sample. Psychological Assessment, 25, 1322-1331.

Fergus, T. A. (2013). Cyberchondria and intolerance of uncertainty: Examining when individuals experience health anxiety in response to Internet searches for medical information. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 16, 735-739.

Fergus, T. A. (2013). Repetitive thought and health anxiety: Tests of specificity. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 35, 366-374.

Fergus, T. A., & Bardeen, J. R. (2013). Anxiety sensitivity and intolerance of uncertainty: Evidence of incremental specificity in relation to health anxiety. Personality and Individual Differences, 55, 640-644.

Fergus, T. A., & Bardeen, J. R., & Wu, K. D. (2013). Intolerance of uncertainty and uncertainty-related attentional biases: Evidence of facilitated engagement or disengagement difficulty? Cognitive Therapy and Research, 37, 735-741.

Fergus, T. A., Valentiner, D. P., McGrath, P. B., Gier-Lonsway, S., & Jencius, S. (2013). The cognitive attentional syndrome: Examining relations with mood and anxiety symptoms and distinctiveness from psychological inflexiblity in a clinical sample. Psychiatry Research, 210, 215-219.

Current Psy.D. Students

Jacqueline Hapenny, Stonehill College
Channing Cochran, Vanderbilt University
Laurie Russell, Northwestern University
Katherine Stratton, University of Texas, Austin
Anne Kleinsasser, Northwestern University
Sindhu Shivaji, Columbia University
Alex Meyers, Stanford University
Zoe Trout

Current Ph.D. Student

Rosemond Lorona, Pepperdine University

Psy.D. Graduates

Kelsi Clayson, Psy.D.
Nancy Vreeland, Psy.D.

Graduate Student Recruitment

Dr. Fergus anticipates recruiting a Psy.D. student with a start date in Summer 2019.

Courses taught at Baylor

  • PSY 3330 - Psychopathology
  • PSY 4327 - Theories of Personality
  • PSY 5423 - Psychotherapy II: Advanced Cognitive-Behavior Therapy
  • PSY 5432 - Psychological Assessment II: Personality