Sara Weidberg, PhD
Ph.D. University of Oviedo, Spain
My name is Sara Weidberg and I am a PhD currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oviedo (Spain). I graduated in Psychology at the University of Oviedo in 2010. The same year I completed a one year research master in Clinical and Health Psychology. In 2011, I received a predoctoral grant from the Foundation for the Promotion of Applied Scientific Research and Technology in Asturias (FICYT) (BP11-031) that enabled me to become a member of the Addictive Behaviors Research Group of the University of Oviedo and to participate in a research project with the aim of assessing impulsivity rates among different substance dependent populations by means of a behavioral assessment task, namely delay discounting. As a result, I completed my doctoral studies and obtained my International Ph.D. in June 2015 at the University of Oviedo, which received the maximum mark allowed by Spanish law. Although my main research interests concern the assessment of impulsivity among drug dependent populations, I also collaborated in other research projects such as the application of Virtual Reality technologies and Contingency Management for smoking cessation by doing both clinical (treatment intervention) and research (data analysis and manuscript writing) tasks. Presently, I am participating as a postdoctoral researcher in several projects that are currently running at the Addictive Behaviors Research Group of the University of Oviedo. For instance, one of the projects is aimed at assessing the prevalence of problematic gambling within the youth population of two different regions in Spain, namely Asturias and Elche. Very few studies have attempted to assess the prevalence of pathological gambling among Spanish adults, and previous literature is even scarcer among adolescents. I am also working on a research project with the aim of assessing individual factors associated with e-cigarette use. In this regard, and as my doctoral thesis in based on the delay discounting task, I am currently running a study that compares delay discounting rates between smokers and e-cigarette users. The vast majority of e-cigarette research is focused on its prevalence rates and patterns of use, but no study to date has assessed impulsivity rates among e-cigarette users. Thus, the results of this study could be of great interest for international researchers working on e-cigarette issues. Lastly, I am also participating in another study that assesses the feasibility of using behavioral economic measures of relative reinforcing efficacy among smokers. Specifically, I am interested to explore whether performance in a hypothetical Cigarette Purchase Task is able to predict abstinence outcomes among treatment seeking smokers.
I decided to start a career as a scientist when I was at my penultimate year (fourth year, 2008) of University, studying a Psychology Degree. That year I chose Addictions as an optional subject and I met Roberto Secades-Villa, the professor in charge on the subject. I discovered that I really would like to work in the addictive behaviors field and decided to tell Roberto my interest in collaborating with his research group at the faculty, so I started doing simple research tasks. The next year, I received a collaboration grant thanks to my academic marks that enabled me to continue working with the Addictive Behaviors Research Group during that fifth and last year of my Psychology Degree. After that year, I did a one year Master in Clinical Psychology and applied for predoctoral grants. I finally got one predoctoral grant from the Foundation for the Promotion of Applied Scientific Research and Technology in Asturias (FICYT) that allowed me to do a PhD within the Addictive Behavior Research Group, under the supervision of Roberto Secades-Villa. During the four years of my PhD I really enjoy conducting research about the associations between impulsivity and drug use. My work was a mixture of both clinical practice and research, which was an absolute source of continuous learning and a privilege for me. I think that the fact of learning so much from Roberto and other colleagues from the group while I was doing my PhD and at the same time applying the results of my research into the clinical practice were the key factors in order to decide that I wanted to continue doing research in the area of addictive behaviors.