David S Riggs


Department of Primary Appointment:
School of Medicine
Medical and Clinical Psychology
Department Chair
Location: Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD
Research Interests:
posttraumatic stress disorder
implementation of psychotherapy
Office Phone


1984 - 1990 State University of New York at Stony Brook
Ph.D. Clinical Psychology
Dissertation Title: Tests of a Theoretical Model of Courtship Aggression
1981 - 1984 University of Kansas
B. A. Psychology


David Riggs, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair, Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology (MPS) at the F. Edward Hérbert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland where he also serves as the Executive Director of the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP). As Professor and Chair of MPS, Dr. Riggs leads a program to train active duty and civilian psychology students to deliver outstanding patient care and contribute to clinically-relevant science in psychology. As Executive Director of the CDP, Dr. Riggs oversees the development and delivery of training seminars and workshops for behavioral health professionals to prepare them to provide for the needs of warriors and their families. Prior to taking the position to lead CDP, Dr. Riggs held clinical research positions at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety at the University of Pennsylvania and the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at the Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center. As a clinical and research psychologist, much of Dr. Riggs’ work has focused on trauma, violence and anxiety with a particular interest in the impact of PTSD and other anxiety disorders on the families of those directly affected.

Representative publications, projects, and/or deployments

Executive Director, Center for Deployment Psychology, 2006-present

Director, Training and Education, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, 2007-2009

Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 2001-2006

Assistant Director for Research, Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, 2005-2006

Staff Psychologist, Boston VA Medical Center, National Center for PTSD, 1993-2000


Jayawickreme, N., Cahill, S. P., Riggs, D. S., Rauch, S. A. M., Resick, P. A., Rothbaum, B. O. & Foa, E. B. (2014). Primum non nocere (first do no harm): Symptom worsening and improvement in female assault victims after prolonged exposure for PTSD. Depression and Anxiety, 3, 412-419.

Riggs, D. S. (2014). Traumatized relationships: Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, fear of intimacy and marital adjustment in dual trauma couples. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice and Policy, 6, 201-206.

Borah, E. V., Wright, E. C., Donahue, D. A., Cedillos, E. M., Riggs, D. S., Isler, W. C. & Peterson, A. L. (2013). Implementation Outcomes of Military Provider Training in Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Military Medicine, 178, 939-944.

Foa, E. B., Yusko, D. A., McLean, C. P., Suvak, M. K., Bux, D. A., Oslin, D., O’Brien, C. P., Imms, P., Riggs, D. S., & Volpicelli, J. (2013). Concurrent Naltrexone and Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Patients with comorbid alcohol dependence and PTSD: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 310, 488-495.

Riggs, D.S., & Sermanian, D. (2012). Prevention and care of combat-related PTSD: Direction for Future Explorations. Military Medicine, 177 suppl., 14-20.

Riggs, S. A., & Riggs, D. S. (2011). Risk and resilience in military families experiencing deployment: The role of the family attachment network. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 675-687.

MacDermid Wadsworth, S., Riggs, D. S., Eds. (in press). A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families: Lessons for the Leaders of Tomorrow. New York: Springer.

MacDermid Wadsworth, S., Riggs, D. S., Eds. (2016). War and Family Life. New York: Springer.

Riggs, D. S. & Mallonee, S. (in press). Barriers to care for the complex presentation of PTSD and other post-combat psychological injuries. Chapter to appear in S. Bowles and P Bartone (Eds.) Military Psychology: Clinical and Organizational Practice. New York: Springer.

Riggs, D. S., Caulfield, M. B., & Fair, K. (2009) Risk of intimate partner violence: Factors associated with perpetration and victimization. Chapter in P. M. Kleespies (Ed.) Behavioral emergencies: An evidence-based resource for evaluating and managing risk of suicide, violence, and victimization. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.