Sandra Llera


Professor, Clinical Psychology


Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology,
Penn State University, 2011

B.A. in Psychology,
University of Delaware, 2002

Dr. Llera’s dissertation focused on
the emotional sequelae of chronic worry in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). She completed her clinical internship at the University of Virginia counseling center, and a year of post-doctoral teaching as an adjunct faculty at George Mason University.

Areas of Expertise

Clinical Psychology

Anxiety Disorders

Emotion Regulation


Research Interests

Dr. Llera’s research focuses on applying basic science to better understand the etiology and maintenance of anxiety and mood disorders, with an emphasis on models of emotional dysregulation as a way to explore transdiagnostic pathology. Research is conducted on multiple levels of observation, including self-report, behavior, and psychophysiology.


Clinical Interests

Dr. Llera specializes in adult psychopathology, with a specific emphasis in anxiety disorders. Dr. Llera has conducted group and individual therapy, as well as psychological assessments.


Selected Publications

Llera, S. J., & Newman, M. G. (2023). Incremental validity of the contrast avoidance model: A comparison with intolerance of uncertainty and negative problem orientation. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 95, 102699. 

Llera, S. J., & Newman, M. G. (2020). Worry impairs the problem-solving process: Results from an experimental study. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 135, 103759. 

Llera, S.J., & Newman, M.G. (2017). Development and validation of two measures of emotional contrast avoidance: The Contrast Avoidance Questionnaires. Journal of Anxiety Disorder. doi: 10.1016/j.anxdis.2017.04.008.

Llera, S. J. (2017, Summer). Don’t worry about it! Anxiety and its impact on emotional wellbeing. Eye on Psi Chi, 21(4), 34-35. 

Llera, S. J., & Newman, M. G. (2014). Rethinking the role of worry in Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Evidence supporting a model of emotional contrast avoidance. Behavior Therapy, 45(3), 283-299. doi:10.1016/j.beth.2013.12.011. 

Newman, M.G., Llera, S. J., Erickson, T. E., Przeworski, A., & Castonguay, L. G. (2013). Worry and Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A review and synthesis of research on its nature, etiology, and treatment. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 9, 275-297. doi: 10.1146/annurev-clinpsy-050212-185544.

Newman, M. G. & Llera, S. J. (2011). A novel theory of experiential avoidance in generalized anxiety disorder: A review and synthesis of research supporting an avoidance of a negative emotional contrast. Clinical Psychology Review, 31, 371-382. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2011.01.008.

Llera, S. J., & Newman, M. G. (2010). Worry and emotional avoidance in generalized anxiety disorder: Effects on physiological and subjective reactivity. Emotion, 10(5), 640-650. doi:10.1037/a0019351.


Courses Taught

  • PSYC 361: Psychopathology
  • PSYC 631: Advanced Adult Psychopathology
  • PSYC 624: Multicultural Issues in Clinical Psychology
  • PSYC 261: Intro to Psychopathology