Sandra Llera

Associate Professor, Clinical Area


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 anxiety disorders, with an emphasis on the further development and exploration of an emotional contrast avoidance model as a new way to understand worry and emotion dysregulation in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) . Research is conducted on three levels of observation, including self-report, behavioral observation, and psychophysiological responding.


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. (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: Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC 631: Advanced Abnormal Psychology
  • PSYC 765: Personality Assessment