Dr. DiBartolo's research interest lie in the areas of clinical psychology and child clinical psychology. These encompass the topics of perfectionism, social anxiety, fear of public speaking and psychological health.
Much of Dr. DiBartolo's recent scholarship focuses on the construct of perfectionism and how it relates to emotional well-being. She has conducted a number of studies with her students examining the nature of perfectionism in adult samples. Much of this work focuses on elucidating which dimensions of the perfectionism construct increase risk for psychopathology, negative cognitive styles and elevated anxiety in response to evaluative threat. More recently, she has begun to examine the phenomenology and function of perfectionism in predicting emotional well-being in elementary school schildren the focus of this work in creating a developmental psychopathology model that incorporates and explores the family factors (e.g., parental expectations) and environmental variables (e.g., cultural variables) associated with the nascency of perfectionism in youth.
In this area of research, Dr. DiBartolo has done projects examining what kinds of thoughts people have when speaking in front of an audience; whether a cognitive intervention can lessen public speaking anxiety during a college course; and whether children, parents, and teachers can predict how anxious a child will be when speaking publicly.
In 2007, Dr. DiBartolo also co-authored a manual and accompanying workbook describing an effective cognitive-behavioral group therapy for social anxiety disorder in adolsecents published by Oxford University Press (see Albano & DiBartolo, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Social Phobia in Adolescents, 2007).
Dr. DiBartolo also has an ancillary line of research investigating how a person's motivations for exercise (exercising for health/enjoyment vs. for weight/appearance reasons) are related to his or her overall psychological and physical health.
With her students, Dr. DiBartolo has found that aesthetic reasons for exercise are associated with more negative psychological outcomes and they do not predict actual exercise behavior. In her lab, she also recently examined how reasons for exercise relate to emotional well-being, perfectionism levels, and physiological indices of health (e.g., blood pressure, cortisol).