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Charles R. Carlson, Ph.D., M.A., ABPP

Photo of Charles Carlson, Ph.D., M.A., ABPP

Professor of Psychology and Dentistry
M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
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My current work focuses on the application of self-regulation strategies for the management of physical disorders involving regions of the body innervated by the trigeminal nerve. The broad, long-term objective of my research program has been to understand the linkages between emotional states and physical health. My early research career focused on exploring the influence of positive emotion, or happiness, on social behavior and perceptual processes. Later, my clinical interests in emotional disregulation and its effects on physical health were the impetus for my research with relaxation and other self-regulation strategies for the management of chronic pains. 

The work with persons reporting pain in trigeminally-mediated regions of the body has identified self-reported anxiety and sympathetic overresponsivity during laboratory challenge as markers for distinguishing these individuals from normal controls. It is our hypothesis that muscle pain disorders in the trigeminal region can be managed by self-regulation strategies targeting the control of fatigue, pain, and anxiety. In summary, my research has been directed at the interface between emotional processes and physical health. My primary research objective over the next five years is to continue systematic exploration of the psychological and physiological parameters associated with the development and treatment of pain disorders in regions of the body influenced by the trigeminal nerve.


Sherman, J. J., Carlson, C. R., McCubbin, J. A., & Wilson, J. F. (1997). Effects of stretch-based progressive relaxation training on the secretion of salivary Immunoglobulin A in orofacial pain patients. Journal of Orofacial Pain, 11, 115-124.

Carlson, C. R., Reid, K. I., Curran, S. L., Studts, J., Okeson, J. P., Falace, D., Nitz, A., & Bertrand, P. M. (1998). Psychological and physiological parameters of masticatory muscle pain. Pain, 76, 297-307.

Carlson, C. R., Bertrand, P. M., Ehrlich, A. D., Maxwell, A. W., & Burton, R. G. (2001). Physical self-regulation training for the management of temporomandibular disorders. Journal of Orofacial Pain, 15, 47-55.

Venable, V. L., Carlson, C. R., & Wilson, J. (2001). The role of anger and depression in recurrent headache. Headache, 41, 21-30.

Yatani, H., Studts, J., Cordova, M., Carlson, C. R., & Okeson, J.P. (2002). Comparison of sleep quality and clinical and psychological characteristics in patients with temporomandibular disorders. Journal of Orofacial Pain, 16, 221-228.

Danhauer, S.C., Miller, C.S., Rhodus, N.L., & Carlson, C.R. (2002). Impact of criteria-based diagnosis of Burning Mouth Syndrome on treatment outcome. Journal of Orofacial Pain, 16, 305-311.

Contact Info

Charles R. Carlson, Ph.D., M.A., ABPP
Department of Psychology, 
112 Kastle Hall
University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40506-0044

Tel: (859) 257-4394
Fax: (859) 323-1979



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Last Modified: November 04, 2010
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