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WIU Alumna, Professor Collaborate on Research, Journal Article

September 2, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Collaborative research by a recent Western Illinois University alumna and a WIU professor has been published in the journal of Current Psychology.

Spring 2020 graduate Crystal Brooke, who received a bachelor's degree in psychology and music therapy, co-authored "The Influence of Anxiety Sensitivity, and Personality on Social Anxiety Symptoms," with WIU Psychology Professor Robert C. Intrieri.

Brooke, who was also a student in WIU's Centennial Honors College, is now working as a board-certified music therapist in the Recovery and Self-Motivation program at the Fulton State Hospital in Fulton, MO.

The journal article is an off-shoot of Brooke's Honors thesis, which was completed as she was finishing her bachelor's degree at Western.

"For my thesis, I conducted a study that examined the relationship between anxiety sensitivity, personality and social anxiety disorder," said Brooke. "As someone who has struggled with performance anxiety, I was curious about the topic. There is still so much we have yet to learn about Social Anxiety Disorder, and I was excited to explore how personality plays a role in the development of SAD. I also had the opportunity to present my study at both Undergraduate Research Day and the ILLOWA - Undergraduate Psychology Student Research Conference, which was really neat."

Brooke said she and Intrieri discussed her research findings and decided to transition to creating a journal article. She said after many revisions, the article was accepted for publication.

"Ultimately, while the process was difficult, it was so worth it," Brooke said. "Not only did I grow as a scholar and researcher, but I was also able to share what I had learned with others. It's important that we share what we have learned with others as it's a part of how we grow and learn new things. The most life-changing discovery is meaningless if it's not shared with others that can use that information. It fills me with such joy to know that I get to share what I have learned with others."

Intrieri said the idea for Brooke's research was born in his abnormal psychology class.

"She wanted to do her Honors Thesis related to social anxiety," he said. "So some 290 hours later of work she completed her degree with an Honors Thesis related to social anxiety symptoms. It took another 80 hours of editing and reworking the paper to get it through the journal review process for publication."

One reviewer said the study has the potential to "generate new hypotheses and research projects."

"The authors open up a very interesting discussion in personality psychology and psychopathology," the reviewer said.

Intrieri added that over the last five years, five journal articles have been co-authored with students from WIU's Centennial Honors College.

"WIU can point to the Honors College as a place where young scholars develop," he said. "The Honors program at WIU should be considered an incubator of emerging and talented scholars that link up with established faculty who show them how to develop their skill set to move on to their next great accomplishment. Crystal Brooke has done that, and it is my hope that she will continue to develop her skill set and reach her full potential as a scholar."

At WIU, Brooke was also a student vice president for the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and led several of the chapter's book drives to national awards.

To read Brooke and Intrieri's journal article, visit

For more information about WIU's Department of Psychology, visit For more information about WIU's Centennial Honors College, visit

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