Kathleen J. Sikkema

Kathleen J. Sikkema

Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Virginia Polytech Institute and State University 1991

  • M.S., Virginia Polytech Institute and State University 1988

  • M.S., Illinois State University 1987

  • B.A., Central University of Iowa 1984


Kathleen J. Sikkema, Ph.D., Gosnell Family Professor of Global Health, Psychology and Neuroscience, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University, is a clinical psychologist with emphases in health and community psychology. She is the Director of Doctoral Studies at the Duke Global Health Institute (DGHI), Director of the Social and Behavioral Science Core in Duke's Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and Director of the Global Mental Health Initiative at DGHI

Dr. Sikkema, an expert in randomized, controlled HIV prevention and mental health intervention trials, has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over 25 years. She conducts research on the development of HIV-related mental health interventions focused on traumatic stress and coping. Sikkema's intervention programs have been recognized by the CDC as "best evidence interventions" as well as the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

Dr. Sikkema's research is also focused on the development and evaluation of HIV risk behavior change interventions, with expertise in community-level intervention trials and university-community collaboration. She recently developed and evaluated a brief risk reduction intervention (PC: Positive Choices), in collaboration with the Callen Lorde Community Health Center, for those newly diagnosed with HIV, with implications for engagement in care and HIV prevention.

Dr. Sikkema's current research is focused in South Africa, collaborating with various South African universities since 2001. Building on prior work with abused women, she recently completed a multi-method longitudinal study to inform development of innovative intervention approaches related to gender, HIV risk and alcohol use in South Africa. Dr. Sikkema's current efforts are focused on the development of mental health interventions that address the intersection of HIV care engagement and HIV prevention.

Kohrt, Brandon A., et al. “Reducing mental illness stigma in healthcare settings: Proof of concept for a social contact intervention to address what matters most for primary care providers.Soc Sci Med, vol. 250, Feb. 2020, p. 112852. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.112852. Full Text

Olson, Blair, et al. “Depressive symptoms, physical symptoms, and health-related quality of life among older adults with HIV.Quality of Life Research : An International Journal of Quality of Life Aspects of Treatment, Care and Rehabilitation, vol. 28, no. 12, Dec. 2019, pp. 3313–22. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s11136-019-02271-0. Full Text

Knettel, Brandon A., et al. “Women's perspectives on ImpACT: a coping intervention to address sexual trauma and improve HIV care engagement in Cape Town, South Africa.Aids Care, vol. 31, no. 11, Nov. 2019, pp. 1389–96. Epmc, doi:10.1080/09540121.2019.1587368. Full Text

Choi, Karmel W., et al. “Maternal depression in the intergenerational transmission of childhood maltreatment and its sequelae: Testing postpartum effects in a longitudinal birth cohort.Development and Psychopathology, vol. 31, no. 1, Feb. 2019, pp. 143–56. Epmc, doi:10.1017/S0954579418000032. Full Text

Watt, Melissa H., et al. “HIV Disclosure Among Pregnant Women Initiating ART in Cape Town, South Africa: Qualitative Perspectives During the Pregnancy and Postpartum Periods.Aids and Behavior, vol. 22, no. 12, Dec. 2018, pp. 3945–56. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s10461-018-2272-5. Full Text

Cherenack, Emily M., et al. “Avoidant Coping Mediates the Relationship Between Self-Efficacy for HIV Disclosure and Depression Symptoms Among Men Who Have Sex with Men Newly Diagnosed with HIV.Aids and Behavior, vol. 22, no. 10, Oct. 2018, pp. 3130–40. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s10461-018-2036-2. Full Text

Fletcher, Olivia V., et al. “Attitudes toward alcohol use during pregnancy among women recruited from alcohol-serving venues in Cape Town, South Africa: A mixed-methods study.Social Science & Medicine (1982), vol. 215, Oct. 2018, pp. 98–106. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.09.008. Full Text

Weisburd, David, et al. “Mean Streets and Mental Health: Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at Crime Hot Spots.American Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 61, no. 3–4, June 2018, pp. 285–95. Epmc, doi:10.1002/ajcp.12232. Full Text

Sikkema, Kathleen J., et al. “Development of a coping intervention to improve traumatic stress and HIV care engagement among South African women with sexual trauma histories.Evaluation and Program Planning, vol. 68, June 2018, pp. 148–56. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2018.02.007. Full Text


Miles, M. S., et al. “Emotional distress in african american women with hiv.” HIV: Issues with Mental Health and Illness, 2014, pp. 35–50. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315785509. Full Text

Sikkema, K. J., et al. “Traumatic stressors and the psychoneuroimmunology of HIV/AIDS.” HIV/AIDS and Psychiatry, edited by J. Joska et al., Wiley, 2014.

Tarakeshwar, N., et al. “HIV prevention needs: Primary prevention and prevention for people living with HIV/AIDS.” Public Health Aspects of HIV/AIDS in Low and Middle Income Countries: Epidemiology, Prevention and Care, 2008, pp. 19–40. Scopus, doi:10.1007/978-0-387-72711-0_2. Full Text

Sikkema, K. J., et al. “Behavioral interventions for prevention of STDs and HIV infection at the community level.” Sexually Transmitted Diseases, edited by K. K. Holmes and K. K. et al, The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2008, pp. 1849–56.

Hansen, N. B., and K. J. Sikkema. “Treating posttraumatic stress disorder in people with HIV.Focus: A Guide to AIDS Research and Counseling, vol. 21, 2006, pp. 5–6.

Sikkema, K. J. “HIV prevention among young adults.” Applied Developmental Science: An Encyclopedia of Research, Policies, and Programs, edited by C. Fisher and R. Lerner, Sage, 2004.

Sikkema, K. J., et al. “Depressive symptoms in older adults living with HIV disease.” HIV/AIDS and Older Adults: Challenges for Individuals, Families, and Communities, edited by C. Emlet, Springer Publishing Co., 2004, pp. 37–54.

Sikkema, K. J., and S. C. Kailchman. “HIV/AIDS.” Clinical Handbook of Health Psychology: A Practical Guide to Effective Interventions, edited by P. Camic and S. Knight, Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, 2004, pp. 167–82.

Sikkema, K. J., et al. “Community involvement in HIV-AIDS prevention.” Integrating Behavioral and Social Sciences in Public Health, edited by N. Schneiderman et al., American Psychological Association, 2001, pp. 159–75.



Sikkema, K. J. “Review of AIDS: Sexual Behavior and Intravenous Drug Use.” Annals of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 12, Springer Verlag, 1990, pp. 86–87.

Sikkema, K. J. “Assessment and treatment of depression in HIV disease, Review of HIV and Depression: Context and Care.” Contemporary Psychology: Apa Review of Books, vol. 49, pp. 58–59.

Selected Grants

Interdisciplinary Research Training Program in AIDS awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2010 to 2020

Addressing High Risk Alcohol Use Amongst Injury Patients in an Emergency Department in Tanzania awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2015 to 2020

Integrating Mental Health into HIV Clinic to Improve Outcomes in Tanzanian Youth awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2015 to 2020

Community-sourced Interventions for Global Mental Health awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Sponsor). 2017 to 2018

Improving the health of South African women with traumatic stress in HIV care awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

Developing a Measure of Caregiver Readiness to Disclose HIV Serostatus awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2014 to 2017

Reducing Barriers to Mental Health Task Sharing: Stigma Reduction in Primary Care awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2014 to 2017

Development of Mental Health Treatment for Obstetric Fistula Patients awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2013 to 2016

Neurocognitive Impact of Marijuana Use in Patients with HIV/AIDS awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Sponsor). 2013 to 2015