Tamara Somers

Overview:

Tamara J. Somers, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and Faculty Member in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Somers conducts research developing, testing, and implementing behavioral interventions for pain and other symptoms in patients with chronic disease (e.g., cancer, arthritis). She is particularly interested in developing behavioral interventions that are personalized to the needs of individual patients and using innovative delivery methods (mobile health) to deliver the interventions. Grant awards from the NIH, American Cancer Society, and other funding agencies support her research. Dr. Somers also co-directs a clinical psychology training program at the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) that trains graduate students, clinical psychology interns, and post-doctoral fellows in psychosocial and behavioral symptom management interventions. She is the Director of Research for the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program at DCI. Dr. Somers maintains a small clinical practice at the Duke Faculty Practice at Erwin Square. 

Positions:

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
School of Medicine

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Duke Cancer Institute
School of Medicine

Education:

Ph.D. 2007

University of Pittsburgh

Grants:

Coping Skills for Colorectal Cancer Survivors with Pain and Distress

Administered By
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
Role
Co-Sponsor
Start Date
End Date

Behavioral Weight and Symptom Management for Breast Cancer Survivors and Partners

Administered By
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Co-Sponsor
Start Date
End Date

Palliative Care Research Cooperative Group (PCRC) Refinement and Expansion

Administered By
Duke Cancer Institute
Role
Co Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Pain Coping Skills Training for African Americans with Osteoarthritis

Administered By
Medicine, General Internal Medicine
Awarded By
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Role
Co Investigator
Start Date
End Date

An Accessible Mobile Health Behavioral Intervention for Cancer Pain (mPain)

Administered By
Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Behavioral Medicine
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Publications:

Optimizing delivery of a behavioral pain intervention in cancer patients using a sequential multiple assignment randomized trial SMART.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: Pain is common in cancer patients and results in lower quality of life, depression, poor physical functioning, financial difficulty, and decreased survival time. Behavioral pain interventions are effective and nonpharmacologic. Traditional randomized controlled trials (RCT) test interventions of fixed time and dose, which poorly represent successive treatment decisions in clinical practice. We utilize a novel approach to conduct a RCT, the sequential multiple assignment randomized trial (SMART) design, to provide comparative evidence of: 1) response to differing initial doses of a pain coping skills training (PCST) intervention and 2) intervention dose sequences adjusted based on patient response. We also examine: 3) participant characteristics moderating intervention responses and 4) cost-effectiveness and practicality. METHODS/DESIGN: Breast cancer patients (N=327) having pain (ratings≥5) are recruited and randomly assigned to: 1) PCST-Full or 2) PCST-Brief. PCST-Full consists of 5 PCST sessions. PCST-Brief consists of one 60-min PCST session. Five weeks post-randomization, participants re-rate their pain and are re-randomized, based on intervention response, to receive additional PCST sessions, maintenance calls, or no further intervention. Participants complete measures of pain intensity, interference and catastrophizing. CONCLUSIONS: Novel RCT designs may provide information that can be used to optimize behavioral pain interventions to be adaptive, better meet patients' needs, reduce barriers, and match with clinical practice. This is one of the first trials to use a novel design to evaluate symptom management in cancer patients and in chronic illness; if successful, it could serve as a model for future work with a wide range of chronic illnesses.
Authors
Kelleher, SA; Dorfman, CS; Plumb Vilardaga, JC; Majestic, C; Winger, J; Gandhi, V; Nunez, C; Van Denburg, A; Shelby, RA; Reed, SD; Murphy, S; Davidian, M; Laber, EB; Kimmick, GG; Westbrook, KW; Abernethy, AP; Somers, TJ
MLA Citation
Kelleher, Sarah A., et al. “Optimizing delivery of a behavioral pain intervention in cancer patients using a sequential multiple assignment randomized trial SMART..” Contemp Clin Trials, vol. 57, June 2017, pp. 51–57. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.cct.2017.04.001.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1244148
PMID
28408335
Source
pubmed
Published In
Contemp Clin Trials
Volume
57
Published Date
Start Page
51
End Page
57
DOI
10.1016/j.cct.2017.04.001

Reply: To PMID 22505314.

Authors
Somers, TJ; Kurakula, PC; Criscione-Schreiber, L; Keefe, FJ; Clowse, MEB
MLA Citation
Somers, Tamara J., et al. “Reply: To PMID 22505314..” Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken), vol. 65, no. 7, July 2013. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/acr.21960.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub954442
PMID
23371927
Source
pubmed
Published In
Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken)
Volume
65
Published Date
Start Page
1205
DOI
10.1002/acr.21960

PERCEIVED RISK OF BREAST CANCER, BELIEFS ABOUT MAMMOGRAPHY, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS IN BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS AND HEALTHY WOMEN AT THE TIME OF MAMMOGRAPHY

Authors
Shelby, RA; Keefe, FJ; Bovbjerg, DH; Skinner, CS; Somers, TJ; Soo, MS; Red, S; Stinnett, S; Luce, MF; Sumkin, J
MLA Citation
Shelby, Rebecca A., et al. “PERCEIVED RISK OF BREAST CANCER, BELIEFS ABOUT MAMMOGRAPHY, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DISTRESS IN BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS AND HEALTHY WOMEN AT THE TIME OF MAMMOGRAPHY.” International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 17, SPRINGER, Aug. 2010, pp. 278–278.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub888795
Source
wos
Published In
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume
17
Published Date
Start Page
278
End Page
278

Pain catastrophizing in borderline morbidly obese and morbidly obese individuals with osteoarthritic knee pain.

OBJECTIVE: There is limited information about how morbidly obese osteoarthritis (OA) patients cope with the pain they experience. Pain catastrophizing is an important predictor of pain and adjustment in persons with persistent pain. This may be particularly relevant in the morbidly obese (body mass index [BMI] of 40 kg/m(2) or greater) OA population at risk for increased pain. The present study first examined whether borderline morbidly obese and morbidly obese OA patients report higher levels of pain catastrophizing than a sample of OA patients in the overweight and obese category (BMI between 25 kg/m(2) and 34 kg/m(2)). Next, it examined how pain catastrophizing is related to important indexes of pain and adjustment in borderline morbidly obese and morbidly obese OA patients. METHODS: Participants included 43 individuals with knee OA who were borderline morbidly obese or morbidly obese (BMI of 38 kg/m(2) or greater). Participants completed self-report measures of pain catastrophizing, pain, psychological distress, quality of life, binge eating and eating self-efficacy. RESULTS: The sample of borderline morbidly obese and morbidly obese OA patients reported significantly higher levels of pain catastrophizing (P=0.007) than a comparison sample of overweight and obese OA patients. Results suggested that patients who engaged in a high level of pain catastrophizing reported having much more intense and unpleasant pain, higher levels of binge eating, lower self-efficacy for controlling their eating and lower weight-related quality of life (P<0.05 for all). CONCLUSIONS: Pain catastrophizing is related to pain and adjustment in borderline morbidly obese and morbidly obese OA patients. Clinicians working with this population should consider assessing pain catastrophizing in the patients they treat.
Authors
Somers, TJ; Keefe, FJ; Carson, JW; Pells, JJ; Lacaille, L
MLA Citation
Somers, T. J., et al. “Pain catastrophizing in borderline morbidly obese and morbidly obese individuals with osteoarthritic knee pain..” Pain Res Manag, vol. 13, no. 5, Sept. 2008, pp. 401–06. Pubmed, doi:10.1155/2008/652453.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub779866
PMID
18958312
Source
pubmed
Published In
Pain Research & Management
Volume
13
Published Date
Start Page
401
End Page
406
DOI
10.1155/2008/652453

Cognitive problems following hematopoietic stem cell transplant: relationships with sleep, depression and fatigue.

Cognitive problems are a significant, persistent concern for patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). Sleep is important for many cognitive tasks; however, the relationship between sleep and cognitive problems for HSCT patients is unknown. This study examined the relationship between sleep and cognitive problems for HSCT patients from pre to post transplant. Patients undergoing HSCT (N=138) completed questionnaires at pre-transplant and during the 12 months following transplant. Questionnaires assessed sleep and cognitive problems as well as commonly co-occurring symptoms: depressive symptoms, fatigue and pain. Post hoc analyses examined the relationship of specific sleep problems with cognitive problems. Sleep problems covaried with cognitive problems even after controlling for depressive symptoms, fatigue and pain. Depressive symptoms and fatigue were also uniquely related to cognitive problems. Post hoc analyses suggest that sleep somnolence, shortness of breath, snoring and perceptions of inadequate sleep may contribute to the association found between sleep and cognitive problems. Findings suggest that sleep problems are associated with and may contribute to cognitive problems for HSCT patients. However, sleep problems are rarely screened for or discussed during clinic visits. Assessing and treating specific sleep problems in addition to depressive symptoms and fatigue may have implications for improving cognitive problems for HSCT patients.
Authors
Ghazikhanian, SE; Dorfman, CS; Somers, TJ; O'Sullivan, ML; Fisher, HM; Edmond, SN; Wren, AA; Kelleher, SA; Rowe Nichols, KA; Chao, N; Shelby, RA
MLA Citation
Ghazikhanian, S. E., et al. “Cognitive problems following hematopoietic stem cell transplant: relationships with sleep, depression and fatigue..” Bone Marrow Transplant, vol. 52, no. 2, Feb. 2017, pp. 279–84. Pubmed, doi:10.1038/bmt.2016.248.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1162112
PMID
27941775
Source
pubmed
Published In
Bone Marrow Transplant
Volume
52
Published Date
Start Page
279
End Page
284
DOI
10.1038/bmt.2016.248