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Joseph W. Ditre, Ph.D.

Joseph W. Ditre, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

506 Huntington Hall


Ph.D., University of South Florida, Clinical Psychology

Research Interests

  • Health Psychology, Addiction Psychology, and Behavioral Medicine
  • Substance Use Disorders and Chronic Medical Conditions (co-occurrence and reciprocity)
    • (e.g., Nicotine/Tobacco, Alcohol, Cannabis, Opioids, Chronic Pain, Cancer, HIV)
  • Comorbid Psychopathology and Cognitive-Affective Factors
    • (e.g., Anxiety/Depression, Catastrophizing, Coping, Fear Avoidance, Expectancies)
  • Human Experimental Models of Pain and Substance Use
    • (e.g., Psychosocial, Pathophysiological, and Neurobiological Mechanisms of Action)
  • Translation of Basic Research to Inform the Development of Novel Treatments
    • (e.g., Integrated/Sequential, Personalized Feedback, and Cue Exposure Interventions)
  • Integrated Healthcare and Primary Care-Based Research/Intervention Development
    • (e.g., Center for Integrated Healthcare, US Department of Veterans Affairs)

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Joseph W. Ditre is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Syracuse University. He is a licensed clinical psychologist, and holds secondary appointments in the Department of Medicine at Upstate Medical University, and in the Center for Integrated Healthcare at the Syracuse VA Medical Center. He is also Director of the Pain and Addiction Research (PAR) Lab, which operates out of the Central New York Medical Center in Syracuse NY.

Dr. Ditre’s research cuts across basic and applied work in the areas of health psychology and behavioral medicine, with an emphasis on the intersection of addictive behaviors and comorbid medical disorders. At the broadest level, this research examines how the use of substances may influence the onset and progression of comorbid medical disorders, and how the symptoms and sequelae of medical disorders may influence the use of addictive substances. More specifically, he has established a programmatic line of research that applies a multi-method approach to the study of complex interrelations between pain, affect, comorbid psychopathology, and the maintenance of addiction.

Dr. Ditre’s program of research has been funded by National Institutes of Health since 2007, with a primary focus on conceptualizing and testing bi-directional relations between the experience of acute and chronic pain and the self-administration of nicotine, tobacco, alcohol, cannabis, and prescription opioids. Examples of completed and ongoing grant-funded projects include: examination of complex interrelations between the experience of pain and the consumption of alcohol (R01AA024844, MPI: Ditre, Maisto); testing the effects of situational pain on smoking urge and behavior (F31DA023728, PI: Ditre); testing the effects of nicotine deprivation on experimental pain reactivity (R21DA034285, PI: Ditre); and applying these data to develop novel treatments for individuals with co-occurring pain and substance use disorders (R21DA038204, PI: Ditre; F31DA039628, PI: Zale). 

In addition to directing the PAR Lab, Dr. Ditre serves as instructor and research mentor for undergraduate students and graduate students in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Syracuse University. He is also on the editorial board for Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, and served as a grant reviewer for the NIH Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress and Health (MESH) Study Section, the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP), and the University of Missouri Research Board.

NIH-Funded Research Projects

R01AA024844 (MPI: Ditre, Maisto)
07/2016 – 06/2021
The Alcohol-Pain Connection: Mechanisms and Genetic/Psychological Correlates
The goal of this study is to employ an innovative, multi-method approach to examine complex and potentially bidirectional relations between pain and the consumption of alcohol in one overarching experimental paradigm. This research may enhance our understanding of complex pain-alcohol relations, challenge current clinical practice paradigms, and catalyze future work in this emerging domain.

R21DA038204 (PI: Ditre)                                                                                                     
07/2014 – 06/2017
PFI for Smoking and Analgesic Misuse among Older Adults with HIV and Chronic Pain
The goal of this study was to adapt and pilot test a brief, integrated, computer-based personalized feedback intervention (PFI) for older adults with comorbid HIV and chronic pain aimed at increasing intentions to quit smoking and decreasing intentions to misuse prescription analgesic medications.

F31DA039628 (PI: Zale; Sponsor: Ditre)                                                                             
06/2015 – 05/2017
Increasing Cessation Motivation and Treatment Engagement among Smokers in Pain
The goal of this Predoctoral NRSA was to test a brief intervention for smokers with co-occurring pain that is designed to increase knowledge of pain-smoking interrelations, enhance motivation to engage a serious quit attempt, and increase engagement in available smoking cessation treatment.

R21DA034285 (PI: Ditre)                                                                                                     
08/2012 – 03/2016
Effects of Smoking Abstinence on Pain Reactivity: A Human Experimental Model
Increased pain or hyperalgesia as a function of smoking abstinence may precipitate relapse and undermine the goals of treatment for both pain and tobacco dependence. The goal of this study was to manipulate smoking abstinence to determine whether nicotine deprivation and subsequent withdrawal effects may increase pain sensitivity/reactivity among current daily smokers.

F31DA023728 (PI: Ditre)
09/2007 – 09/2009
NIH / NIDA                                                                                          
Pain as a Motivator of Smoking: Mechanisms of Action
The goal of this study was to identify potential targets for intervention by testing whether several constructs derived from social cognitive theory may moderate the causal pathway between the experience pain and increased motivation to smoke tobacco.

Selected Publications (*Student Authors)

Click on CV link to the right or view a complete Google Scholar search

Hill, K. P., Palastro, M. D., Johnson, B., & Ditre, J. W. (2017). Cannabis and Pain: A Clinical Review. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2.1. doi: 10.1089/can.2017.0017.

LaRowe*, L. R., Langdon, K. J., Zvolensky, M. J., Zale*, E. L., & Ditre, J. W. (2017). Pain-related anxiety as a predictor of early lapse and relapse to cigarette smoking. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

Ditre, J. W., Heckman, B. W., Zale*, E. L., Kosiba*, J. D., & Maisto, S. A. (2016). Acute analgesic effects of nicotine and tobacco in humans: A meta-analysis. Pain, 157(7), 1373-1381. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000572.

Ditre, J. W., Kosiba*, J. D., Zale*, E. L., Zvolensky, M. J., & Maisto, S. A. (2016). Chronic pain status, nicotine withdrawal, and expectancies for smoking cessation among lighter smokers. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 50(3), 427-435. doi: 10.1007/s12160-016-9769-9.

Ditre, J. W., Zale*, E. L., Heckman, B. W., & Hendricks, P. S. (2016). A measure of perceived pain and tobacco smoking interrelations: Development and initial validation of the Pain and Smoking Inventory. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. doi: 10.1080/16506073.2016.1256347

Zale*, E. L., Maisto, S. A., & Ditre, J. W. (2016). The role of anxiety and depression in bi-directional relations between pain and tobacco smoking. Behavior Modification, 40, 7-28. doi: 10.1177/0145445515610744.

Ditre, J. W. & Maisto, S. A. (2015). Editorial overview: Health behavior. Current Opinion in Psychology. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.07.004.

Ditre, J. W., Zale*, E. L., & Brandon, T. H. (2015). Patterns and predictors of smoking cessation. In R. Loddenkemper & M. Kreuter (Eds.), The Tobacco Epidemic, 2nd edition (pp. 210-218). doi: 10.1159/000369500. Basel: Karger.

Zale*, E. L., & Ditre, J. W. (2015). Pain-related fear, disability, and the fear-avoidance model of chronic pain. Current Opinion in Psychology, 5:24–30. doi:10.1016/j.copsyc.2015.03.014

Goesling, J., Brummett, C. M., Meraj, T. S., Moser, S., Hassett, A. L., & Ditre, J. W. (2015). Associations between pain, current tobacco smoking, depression and fibromyalgia status among treatment-seeking chronic pain patients. Pain Medicine, 16 (7), 1433-1442. doi: 10.1111/pme.12747.

Zale*, E. L., Maisto, S. A., & Ditre, J. W. (2015). Interrelations between pain and alcohol: An integrative review. Clinical Psychology Review, 37, 57-71. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2015.02.005

Ditre, J. W., Langdon, K. J., Kosiba*, J. D., Zale*, E. L., & Zvolensky, M. J. (2014). Relations between pain-related anxiety, tobacco dependence, and barriers to quitting among a community-based sample of daily smokers. Addictive Behaviors, 42, 130-135. doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2014.11.032

Zale*, E. L., Dorfman*, M. L., Hooten, W. M., Warner, D. O., Zvolensky, M. J., & Ditre, J. W. (2014). Tobacco smoking, nicotine dependence, and patterns of prescription opioid misuse: Results from a nationally representative sample. Nicotine &Tobacco Research. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu227

Zale*, E. L., Ditre, J. W., Dorfman*, M. L., Heckman, B. W., & Brandon, T. H. (2014). Smokers in pain report lower confidence and greater difficulty quitting. Nicotine and Tobacco Research 16(9), 1272-1276. ​ doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntu077

Unrod, M., Drobes, D. J., Stasiewicz, P. R., Ditre, J. W., Heckman, B. W., Miller, R. R., Sutton, S. K., & Brandon, T. H. (2014). Decline in cue-provoked craving during cue-exposure therapy for smoking cessation. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 16(3), 306-315. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntt145

Zale*, E. L., & Ditre, J. W. (2014). Associations Between Chronic Pain Status, Attempts to Quit Smoking, and Use of Pharmacotherapy for Smoking Cessation. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28(1), 294-299. doi: 10.1037/a0032515

Ditre, J. W., Zale*, E. L., Kosiba*, J. D., & Zvolensky, M. J. (2013). A pilot study of pain-related anxiety and smoking dependence motives among persons with chronic pain. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 21(6), 443-449. doi: 10.1037/a0034174

Zale*, E. L., Lang*, K. L., Fields, S. A., & Ditre, J. W. (2013). The relation between fear of pain and disability: A meta-analysis. Journal of Pain, 14(10), 1019-1030. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2013.05.005

Ditre, J. W., Oliver, J. A., Myrick, H., Henderson, S., Saladin, M. E., & Drobes, D. J. (2012). Effects of Divalproex on Smoking Cue Reactivity and Cessation Outcomes Among Smokers Achieving Initial Abstinence. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 20(4), 293-301. doi: 2012-08593-001

Litvin, E. B., Ditre, J. W., Heckman, B. W., & Brandon, T. H. (2012). Nicotine. In J. Verster, K. Brady, M. Galanter, & P. Conrod (Eds.), Drug abuse and addiction in medical illness: Causes, consequences, and treatment (pp. 137-150). New York: Springer.

Heckman, B. W., Ditre, J. W., & Brandon, T. H. (2012). The restorative effects of smoking upon self-control resources: A negative reinforcement pathway. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121(1), 244-249. doi:10.1037/a0023032

Ditre, J. W., Brandon, T. H., Zale*, E. L., & Meagher, M. M. (2011). Pain, nicotine, and smoking: Research findings and mechanistic considerations. Psychological Bulletin, 137(6), 1065-1093. doi:10.1037/a0025544

Ditre, J. W., Gonzalez, B. D., Simmons, V. N., Faul, L. A., Brandon, T. H., & Jacobsen, P. B. (2011). Associations between pain and current smoking status among cancer patients. Pain, 152(1), 60-65. doi:10.1016/j.pain.2010.09.001

Ditre, J. W., Heckman, B. W., Butts*, E. A., & Brandon, T. H. (2010). Effects of expectancies and coping on pain-induced motivation to smoke. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 119(3), 524-533. doi:10.1037/a0019568

Simmons, V. N., Heckman, B. W., Ditre, J. W., & Brandon, T. H. (2010). A measure of smoking abstinence-related motivational engagement: development and initial validation. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 12(4), 432-437. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntq020

Brandon, T. H., Drobes, D. J., Ditre, J. W., & Elibero, A. (2009).  Nicotine.  In L. M. Cohen, F. L. Collins, A. M. Young, D. E. McChargue, T. R., Leffingwell  & K. L. Cook (Eds.), Pharmacology and treatment of substance abuse: Evidence- and outcome-based perspectives (pp. 267-294). New York, NY: New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.

Ditre, J. W., & Brandon, T. H. (2008). Pain as a motivator of smoking: effects of pain induction on smoking urge and behavior. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 117(2), 467-472. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.117.2.467