Dr. Michele Clark’s program of research spans clinical practice (caregiver burden and depression and improving health behavior for the diabetic client and evaluating the new and innovative teaching strategy called team-based learning. Specifically, Clark has been involved in instrument development, model testing and intervention development related to caregiver burden and depression. Her recent research focus has three areas of concentration: a) testing Aaron Beck’s Diathesis-Stress model to determine the psychological precursors (sociotropy and autonomy) to depression, and b) identifying endocrine and immune correlates of the psychological precursors to determine whether these physiologic indices help explain the relationship between sociotropy and autonomy and caregiver depression and c) evaluating the efficacy of team based learning teaching strategy in Improving students’ application of newly learned content in solving complex clinical problems.
Presently Clark has submitted proposals requesting support for instrument development to measure dysfunctional thinking patterns specific to caregivers maintaining a dependent elder in the community. Identifying dysfunctional thinking patterns is important because they initiate a coping style that can place the caregiver at risk for depression. Clark’s long-term goal is to understand the psychological and physiological mechanisms that place caregivers at risk for depression and develop appropriate preventative interventions to facilitate caregivers’ mental and physical health. Understanding these mechanisms and provided intervention will enable caregivers to continue maintaining their dependent elder in the community.
Clark has reviewed manuscripts for journals, including Journal of Nursing Education, Journal of Family Nursing, International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, Family & Community Health Journal, Sultan Qabos University Medical Journal, Biological Research for Nursing, Journal of Social Intervention: Theory and Practice and an abstract reviewer for the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting 2006. Additionally, she serves on the Board of the Alzheimer's Association Desert Southwest Chapter, Southern Nevada Region.